History | Oct 10 2014

On This Day: Frank Tate stuns Michael Olajide to win vacant IBF middleweight title in 1987

Tate becomes the first middleweight to be crowned in the post-Marvin Hagler era

SUGAR RAY LEONARD’S stunning and contentious victory over Marvin Hagler in April 1987 resulted in middleweight chaos. Prior to that showdown Hagler held all three major belts but only the WBC title was at stake on that eventful night. And following Leonard’s victory, and his (short-lived) decision to head back into retirement, all three titles were suddenly vacant. The first of the governing bodies to fill a hole was the IBF, when they matched leading contenders Michael Olajide and Frank Tate together for their 160lb belt on October 10 1987.

BORN in Liverpool and raised in Vancouver, Olajide was seen by many as the next dominant force in the historic division. Handsome with greased curls, the slick and shiny starlet looked a little like the 1987 version of Michael Jackson, suited his ‘Silk’ nickname perfectly, and he was unbeaten in 23 outings.

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