History | Jun 21 2018

On This Day: Lennox Lewis survives Vitali Klitschko storm to retire as heavyweight king

David Fletcher tells the story of an unexpected and bloody classic that closed Lennox Lewis’ glittering career
Lennox Lewis
Lennox-Lewis  |  Action Images/Richard Heathcote

LENNOX LEWIS was set to take on fighter Kirk Johnson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, before the Canadian pulled out just 10 days prior to the event with a chest injury. Vitali Klitschko was added as a late replacement, coming into the fight with a record of 31-1 on June 21, 2003.

THE WBC heavyweight title was at stake, providing the Ukrainian puncher with an opportunity to make some real noise within the division. Klitschko had previously knocked out 31 of his 32 opponents in 33 fights. His only defeat was against the American, Chris Byrd, which was as a result of a shoulder injury that forced him to retire his WBO crown, despite being well ahead on points after nine rounds.

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