On this day: Tim Witherspoon wins vacant WBC heavyweight title, outpoints Greg Page
It was the first time in boxing history that three men could lay claim to the heavyweight thrown.
On March 9, 1984, Tim Witherspoon annexed the vacant WBC title when he scored a 12-round majority decision over Greg Page at the Las Vegas Convention Center. One judge scored the bout 114-114, but was overruled by two tallies of 117-111 in favor of Witherspoon.
The WBC title had been relinquished by long-reigning champion Larry Holmes. Holmes, who outpointed Witherspoon in May 1983, refused to fight mandatory challenger Page in favor of a much bigger payday against Marvis Frazier. With Frazier disposed of inside a round, Holmes quickly vacated the title and accepted recognition from the newly formed IBF.
As the two top-rated WBC contenders, Page and Witherspoon were then matched for that organization’s vacant crown. And if that wasn’t confusing enough, the WBA’s heavyweight titleholder was South African puncher Gerrie Coetzee.
Holmes, however, was the universally recognized king of the glamor division with 17 title defenses under his belt. He would successfully defend on a further three occasions before being outpointed by Michael Spinks in September 1985.
Witherspoon would lose the WBC title to Pinklon Thomas, via 12-round majority decision, in his maiden defense. Page scored an eighth-round knockout over Coetzee to claim the WBA strap, in the fall of 1984, but was immediately succeeded by Tony Tubbs, who outpointed him over 15 rounds.
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