Ocean’s Eleven: About the boxers
LENNOX LEWIS was born in London, England and at the age of twelve moved with his family to Canada. During high school, Lewis excelled at many sports but despite attractive offers to play college basketball and football, he focused on developing a career in amateur boxing. Five years after taking up boxing he became the World Junior Champion at the age of seventeen.
Lewis joined the adult ranks of amateur boxing the following year and represented Canada in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where he reached the quarter finals ‘ losing to the eventual Gold Medalist, Tyrell Biggs of the United States.
Four years later at the Seoul Olympic Games, Lewis won the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal when he stopped Riddick Bowe of the United States in the second round. He returned to England in 1989, signed a professional contract, and went on to win the British Heavyweight, Commonwealth and European Titles.
His resolve to win was displayed when he defeated Tyrell Biggs, by knockout stoppage, in a rematch which took place after both boxers turned professional.
In 1992, Lewis sensationally knocked out Razor Ruddock, who was widely recognized as the most dangerous heavyweight in the world ratings after Mike Tyson. He was crowned WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World in 1993 when he also became the first British Heavyweight Champion in the 20th Century.
Lewis successfully defended his title against the American #1 challenger Tony Tucker and stopped Britian’s Frank Bruno in seven rounds. He then defeated the United States’ Philip Jackson, by knockout in the eighth round.
In 1994, Lewis lost his WBC title to Oliver McCall of the United States. On February 7, 1997, he became the first British boxer to regain the world title when he defeated McCall for the World Boxing Council’s Heavyweight Boxing Championship. He then went on to defeat Henry Akinwande in June 1997 and Andrew Golota in one of the quickest Heavyweight championship bouts.
In 1998 he defeated Shannon Briggs in five rounds in Atlantic City and out-boxed Croation-European Champion Zeljko Mavrovic by winning on points after 12 rounds.
March 1999 proved to be a defining moment in Lewis’ career. After outboxing Evander Holyfield in a 3-title unification bout, he rose above the controversy of ringside judges calling the fight a draw. In November, he beat Holyfield in 13 rounds, winning on points.
In 1995, Lewis built the Lennox Lewis College based in Hackney, England. The college opened as a three-year pioneering education pilot to support disaffected youngsters at risk of slipping through the ‘net.’ The London Borough of Hackney awarded the boxer the Freedom of The Borough in December 1999 for his continued support of the facility.
In 1999, Lewis, MBE was awarded an honorary doctorate (DUniv) by the University of North London in recognition of his outstanding achievements in his commitment to education and to sport.
Lewis was featured in a special edition of exclusive stamps launched in 2000 by the Jamaica Post Office.
WBO Heavyweight Champion DR. WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO made his professional boxing debut in 1996. Since then, he has had 37 fights with 36 wins, 33 of them by knockout.
Klitschko won the WBO-Heavyweight Championship when he defeated American fighter Chris Byrd in October, 2000. (Ironically, Byrd had won the world title from Klitschko’s older brother, Vitali, who had to quit due to a shoulder injury).
Most recently, he successfully defended his title in March, 2001 when he beat American Derrick Jefferson in two rounds.
Nicknamed “Steelhammer,” Klitschko, who has a doctorate degree in sports science from the University of Kiev, began his boxing career in 1990. In 1996, he won a Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. That same year, he became the Military World Champion. Among his amateur credentials are 140 fights with 134 wins, 65 of them by knockout.
Prior to becoming world champion he knocked out undefeated German fighter Axel Schulz in 8 rounds to win the European Heavyweight Champion-ship.
Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Klitschko and his older brother Vitali, also a heavyweight boxer, train in Hamburg, Germany where they currently reside.