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Summary Article: Lewis, Lennox Claudius from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

English boxer. He won the World Boxing Council (WBC) world heavyweight title in 1992, becoming the first British boxer to do so in the 20th century. After defending the title successfully for nearly two years, he lost to Oliver McCall in 1994, but he regained the title in 1997. He became the undisputed heavyweight world champion in November 1999, defeating Evander Holyfield. He lost his WBC, International Boxing Federation (IBF), and International Boxing Organization (IBO) titles in April 2001 when he was surprisingly knocked out in the fifth round by the US challenger Hasim Rahman. He regained his titles later that year, before winning a much-anticipated fight with Mike Tyson in June 2002.

Career highlights

Professional record (1989–2003) fights: 44; wins: 41 (32 inside the distance); draws: 1; defeats: 2

Olympic Games gold super-heavyweight 1988

Commonwealth Games gold super-heavyweight 1986

WBC heavyweight champion 1992–94, 1997–2001, 2001–03

WBA heavyweight champion 1999–2000

IBF heavyweight champion 1999–2001, 2001–02

IBO heavyweight champion 1999–2001, 2001–03

Awards

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 1999

Born in London, he emigrated at the age of nine with his family to Canada where he enjoyed a highly successful amateur career. At super-heavyweight he won the world junior title in 1983, the Commonwealth title in 1986, and the Olympic title in 1988, when he defeated Riddick Bowe in the final. Returning to Britain in 1989 to pursue his professional career at heavyweight, he won the European title in 1990, the British title in 1991, and the Commonwealth title in 1992.

In March 1999, at Madison Square Garden, New York City, he fought a 12-round draw with the World Boxing Association (WBA) and IBF world champion Evander Holyfield of the USA. Lewis landed considerably more punches, but the match was controversially declared a draw. In the November 1999 rematch, Lewis won the bout, held at Las Vegas, on a unanimous points decision. He was the first British-born undisputed world heavyweight champion since Bob Fitzsimmons, who held the title from 1897 to 1899.

On 12 April 2000 he was controversially stripped of his WBA title for breaching a contract made with the US boxing promoter Don King before his second fight with Evander Holyfield in November 1999. The contract included a clause that should he beat Holyfield and become the undisputed world champion he would be obliged to make his first defence against the WBA's number one contender. However, when the WBA failed to produce a credible or marketable opponent for Lewis, a bout was organized for Lewis to fight the US boxer and WBC number two-rated contender Michael Grant on 29 April. A federal judge ruled that if the Grant fight were to go ahead Lewis must relinquish his WBA belt.

Despite the loss of his WBA crown in the courts, Lewis reinforced his reputation as the world's best heavyweight fighter by stopping Grant in the second round of their bout at Madison Square Garden.

In September 2002 Lewis voluntarily vacated his IBF title in order to avoid fighting what he saw as a meaningless bout against the mandatory challenger Chris Byrd.

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