History | Sep 24 2015

On This Day: Lennox Lewis is nailed by huge underdog Oliver McCall

Matt Christie remembers the night when McCall taught Lewis some valuable lessons
Lennox Lewis hits the floor after a right hand punch from Oliver McCall
Action Images/Brandon Malone

1. OLIVER McCALL was largely unknown outside of the boxing hardcore when he walked into the Wembley Arena battleground on September 24, 1994 to challenge WBC heavyweight champion, Lennox Lewis. But those that knew McCall were aware of his quality, and Boxing News warned the champion he could be in for a tough night.

2. THE American, hard as nails and mad as a hatter, worked for many years as Mike Tyson’s sparring partner, and claimed to have dropped the fearsome fighter while he was preparing for Michael Spinks. Frank Bruno was also reported to have had problems with McCall, telling him after their sessions: “You’re too good to be a sparring partner, McCall.”

3. LEWIS had shocked many observers in 1992 when he flattened feared Canadian Razor Ruddock in just two rounds – a result which won him the WBC title by default – but he had failed to reproduce that performance since. He had turned back veteran Tony Tucker over 12, struggled at times with Bruno before stopping him suddenly in seven, and allowed the overmatched Phil Jackson to last until the eighth.