History | Apr 22 2018

On This Day: Lennox Lewis suffered a stunning upset

On April 22 2001 Lennox Lewis learned a harsh lesson
Lennox Lewis
Lennox-Lewis  |  Action Images/Richard Heathcote

ON this day in 2001 Lennox Lewis suffered a huge knockout loss. The Briton was the unified WBC and IBF heavyweight champion and 28-year-old Hasim Rahman was near-universally expected to be a run of the mill victory for him.

Perhaps 20-1 favourite Lewis thought the same. He arrived in South Africa for their title fight with not enough time to acclimatise to the altitude. He had been in Las Vegas filming Ocean’s Eleven and arrived jetlagged. He came to South Africa two weeks ahead of time (experts suggested that he needed five to six weeks). Lewis however said, “I’ve boxed at altitude against Henry Akinwande in Lake Tahoe in 1997 and trained at altitude in Big Bear before. My body is used to it.”

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