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Lennox Lewis

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Lennox Claudius Lewis CBE (born September 2, 1965 in West Ham, London, England) is a retired professional boxer who represented Canada in the Olympics and fought under the British flag as a professional. He is a former undisputed lineal heavyweight champion. Along with Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield, Lewis is one of three boxers in heavyweight history to have won the Heavyweight Championship on three separate occasions. Lewis is 195cm (6 ft 5 in) tall and sports an 84-inch reach, much longer than average for his height. During his boxing prime, he weighed 112kg (247lb). Lewis often referred to himself as "the pugilist specialist".

Lewis was born in West Ham, London in 1965 to Jamaican born parents, and moved to Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in 1977 at the age of 12. He attended Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute for high school, where he excelled in the sports of Canadian football, soccer and basketball. He eventually decided that his favourite sport was boxing. Future events proved he was quite skilled as well, as he became a dominant amateur boxer and won the world amateur junior title in 1983.

Surprisingly, Lewis chose not to turn professional after the Olympics, and instead fought four more years as an amateur, hoping for a second chance to win a gold medal. After winning several more amateur titles over those years, he travelled to Seoul, South Korea for the 1988 Summer Olympics and achieved his goal. In the gold medal match, Lewis defeated future world champion Riddick Bowe by a second round technical knockout.

Lewis captured the European heavyweight title late in 1990, added the British heavyweight title in March 1991 and the Commonwealth title in April 1992. By this time, Lewis was a consensus top-five heavyweight in the world.

On March 28, 1998, Lewis retained the WBC world title when he knocked out linear champion Shannon Briggs in five rounds. He had also retained the title against former WBO world champion Henry Akinwande, who was disqualified after five rounds for constantly clinching. Lewis then went up against Andrew Golota, whom he knocked out in the first, and against formerly undefeated European champion Željko Mavrović, whom he beat in a 12-round unanimous decision.

On March 13, 1999, Lewis faced WBA and IBF titlist Evander Holyfield in New York City in what was supposed to be a heavyweight unification bout. Although most observers believed Lewis had won the fight, the bout was declared a draw, to much controversy. Eight months later in Las Vegas (November 13, 1999), the two men fought again and Lewis won a close, but unanimous decision.

While promoting the rematch with Rahman on ESPN's Up Close, the fighters got into a brawl similar to the one between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in front of Howard Cosell on Wide World of Sports. Many felt the brawl was staged to promote the fight, so the reality of the episode is still a matter of debate. Lewis regained the title on November 17 by knocking out Hasim Rahman in the fourth round of their rematch.

This fight was the highest-grossing event in pay-per-view history, generating $106.9 million from 1.95 million buys in the USA, until it was surpassed by De La Hoya-Mayweather in 2007.


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