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King James: 10 of the best from James ‘Lights Out’ Toney

James Toney
Holly Stein /Allsport
James Toney has dazzled in numerous divisions throughout his 92-fight pro career. Here are 10 of his best performances.

1 Iran Barkley

A performance which has to be seen to be believed, Toney’s viciously beautiful nine-round dissection of Barkley in February 1993, to win the IBF super-middleweight title, stands as one of boxing’s great masterworks.

2 Vassiliy Jirov

After stepping up to cruiserweight, Toney put on a clinic against skillful southpaw Jirov in April 2003, outboxing the Kazakh for much of the fight and taking his IBF title in the process.

3 Mike McCallum

Toney and McCallum, two grandmasters of the sport, would fight three times during the course of their careers (drawing one, with Toney winning two) but most notable of the three was their second fight, which took place in August 1992 and ended in a majority decision win for Toney.

4 Charles Williams

As dramatic a final-round knockout as you’ll see, Toney left Williams collapsed on the ring canvas following a sneaky right hand thrown in a July 1994 defence of his IBF super-middleweight title.

5 Evander Holyfield

Now up at heavyweight, Toney took advantage of a faded Holyfield in October 2003, pummelling ‘Real Deal’ into submission in the ninth round of a painfully one-sided affair.

6 Michael Nunn

Though far from vintage Toney, this May 1991 win against Nunn, which landed Toney the IBF middleweight title, is still memorable for the way Toney reversed a scorecard deficit with a stunning 11th-round knockout.

7 Reggie Johnson

Before winning world titles as a middleweight and light-heavyweight, Johnson found himself edged by Toney in June 1991, losing a split-decision in a fight for Toney’s IBF version of the 12-stone crown.

8 Tony Thornton

Dominated for most of the 12 rounds he shared with Toney in October 1993, Thornton boxed for a version of the world super-middleweight title on three separate occasions and came up short – against Toney, Chris Eubank and Roy Jones Jnr – in each.

9 Tim Littles

Littles was unbeaten in 24 pro fights before meeting Toney in an IBF super-middleweight title clash in March 1994, though was nonetheless humbled by Toney inside four rounds, with the champion eager to teach his challenger a lesson.

10 John Ruiz

In what was perhaps Toney’s last great performance, ‘Lights Out’ took John Ruiz to school for 12 rounds in April 2005, grabbing Ruiz’s WBA heavyweight title in the process. He then failed a performance-enhancing drug test which changed his unanimous decision victory to a ‘no contest’ and tarnished his career.

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