Born on this day: Lennox Lewis
British by birth, Jamaican by heritage, Canadian by adoption, and worldwide ambassador for the sport of boxing. Former Olympic gold medalist and heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was born on a day like today 57 years ago today.
Lennox Claudius Lewis was born September 2, 1965 in London, to Jamaican parents. He moved to Canada when he was 12 and immediately excelled in sports at the high school level, but fully devoting to boxing by the time he was 13 years old. He represented Canada in the 1984 Olympics, losing to eventual gold medalist Tyrell Biggs, but instead of turning pro he waited for the next Olympic cycle and earned a gold medal in a memorable final bout against Riddick Bowe in 1988 in Seoul.
Moving back to boxing-crazy England was a no-brainer for Lewis in his search for a profitable professional career, and soon after that he signed with Frank Maloney and began a meteoric professional career that led him to an anticlimactic title win, when he was declared champion by the WBC after his Olympic nemesis Bowe famously trashed the belt and left it vacant, making Lewis’ previous elimination bout with Donovan Ruddock in 1992 a vacant title bout in retrospect.
After losing and regaining his title against Oliver McCall, Lewis finally had his big moment in 1999 when he defeated fellow Olympic medalist Evander Holyfield in a rematch after a draw in their first bout. With the win, Lewis finally added the WBA and IBF belts to his collection.
He would lose two of those belts for failing to meet his mandatory challengers, but remained the lineal undisputed champion until Hasim Rahman scored an upset stoppage win against him in 2001. After avenging that loss, Lewis took on Mike Tyson in one of the biggest fights in history up to that point, this time also risking the Ring heavyweight belt, which had been discontinued for a few years.
One year later in 2003, Lewis defeated Vitali Klitschko in what would be his final fight, retiring from boxing in 2004.
After his retirement, Lewis has served as boxing analyst for several top media outlets, and has been involved in educational and charity endeavors.
He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009.