5 Bizarre Incidents That Happened In Boxing Matches
It’s pretty hard to top legal violence in terms of entertainment. But then again, we also love the unexpected. Combine legal violence and a crazy surprise, and you’ve piqued our interested. Thus, we’ve compiled five of the craziest, most unexpected, bizarre, and often violent incidents that have occurred during boxing matches.
#5. Andrew Lewis Flees Ring Due to Bad Milkshake
In 2006, former WBA Welterweight Champion Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis faced Denny Dalton in a match in Georgetown, Guyana. Lewis claims that in the afternoon of the fight he had drunk a milkshake that had caused him to become incredibly ill, having to empty his bowels five times within the first few hours of consumption.
Nevertheless, Lewis dominated. With more than half the match in the books, he was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards and simply had to hold out for the remaining rounds. Internally another battle was taking place though. For every body blow absorbed, Lewis’ sphincter was proving itself a worthy contender for its own championship title.
37 seconds into the seventh round, sensing that this was his last chance to save his dignity, Lewis finally darted from the ring and to the soothing embrace of a toilet cubicle.
In a statement that is incredibly hard to argue with, the boxer said, “I preferred to lose the fight than mess up myself in front of all those people … I can live with what I did.”
It’s been claimed that Lewis made up his illness, to throw the fight, in what would be the most inventive story in the history of match-fixing. Some may even claim ingenious, but then who wants to be remembered as that guy that nearly shit himself?
A year later, Lewis and Dalton fought again. This time, a unanimous decision was judged in favour of a healthy bowelled Lewis.
#4. Angry Mother Wins Fight For Son
Southampton, England, 1989 – Tony Wilson and Steve McCarthy met in what was a considerably one-sided light-heavyweight bout. McCarthy had dominated from the get-go, scoring one knockdown and unloading with flurries of unanswered punches that left his opponent propped up on the ropes, searching for a chance to regroup. That came in the form of the reeling boxer’s mother, who, trying to save her son from the onslaught, entered the ring holding one her shoes and jammed it into McCarthy’s head. The blow produced a cut that required four stitches to close.
As the referee separated the trio, McCarthy retreated back to his corner with his hands raised. Wilson’s mother followed, continuing to swing wildly and having to be forcefully removed as McCarthy’s brother shielded him. The referee, in the bizarre territory of deciding what happens next, clumsily decreed that the match must continue. When the bloodied McCarthy refused, the referee now firmly imprisoned by his own incompetence, had no choice but to award the fight to Wilson.
The crowd went berserk, pelting Wilson with cups of beer. McCarthy returned to the ring, trying to calm what was quickly transforming into a violent riot, stating, “I don’t want to see this again. You are doing boxing no good at all.”
In an apology, Wilson’s mother claimed she was angry about racist chants directed at her son and promised to not attend any more of his fights.
#3. The Hammer Sucker Punches The Alien
Two months after the 9/11 attacks, a boxing card was held to raise money for the victims’ families. The night wasn’t meant to be about ego. It was a chance to use the platform to aid those in need. James “The Harlem Hammer” Butler, who met Richard “The Alien” Grant in the main event had himself promised to give his entire purse to the cause.
Their first meeting, Grant had won. This fight would take Grant’s record against Butler to 2-0, grinding out ten unremarkable rounds, resulting in a unanimous decision victory. Butler’s discontent with the loss blinded him to his surroundings. Unable to catch Grant with any meaningful blows during the match and fixated on his jubilant conqueror, a bare-fisted Butler threw a devastating sucker punch.
Grant was completely exposed, caught with a right hook as he attempted to place his arm around Butler. He fell into the arms of his trainer, who gently lowered him to the ground, blood pouring from his mouth and convulsing. Grant would require 26 stitches to the surrounding area of a dislodged jaw.
Butler was sentenced to four months at a detention facility and was allowed to resume his career just over three years after the assault. It was a short-lived comeback, ending when Butler was arrested for killing sports writer Sam Kellerman with a hammer (borough of origin unconfirmed) and setting light to his home.
#2. McCall Suffers Breakdown During Title Fight
It wasn’t unusual to see Oliver McCall cry while making his entrance. Exploiting emotional volatility, McCall’s tears created a sense of complex terror, fixing eyes on his opponent and advancing towards the ring. It was as if a straightjacket had been removed seconds earlier.
McCall was in a heightened state of crisis leading up to his second fight with Lennox Lewis, struggling with drug addiction and severe behavioural issues. He notched up several arrests throughout ’96, ending the year with an incident in which he threw a Christmas tree in a hotel lobby and spat on a police car. The fight against Lewis was a mere two months later.
McCall looked completely detached, often turning his back on Lewis and landing only 26 punches. At the end of the third round, rather than returning to his corner, McCall paced around the ring.
Shaking his head at the end of the fourth and continuing his pacing, McCall broke down into uncontrollable tears. A minute into the fifth, the referee decided to end the fight – allowing a catatonic McCall to stagger backstage.
McCall claimed that it was all part of his fight-plan, wishing to set a pace similar to Ali-Foreman, tiring and frustrating his opponent before finally unloading in a later round. He would also concede that he needed help. Shortly after, McCall checked into a mental hospital.
#1. Fan Man Savagely Beaten By Mob
In 1993, Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield met for the second time in a bout for the WBA and IBF Heavyweight Championships. Bowe had won the titles from Holyfield a year earlier, as well as the WBC belt.
With scores tied, one minute into the 7th round, James Miller, who became known to the world as Fan Man, drifted in from the night sky, uninvited, on a fan-powered paraglider.
As he approached his target of the ring, his feet glided inches away from spectators’ heads. The sheer length of the contraption eliminated any chance of a tidy entrance and left Miller’s leg hooked to the ring ropes, as cords tightened to the electrics above. Widespread bewilderment turned into anger for those nearby, as the motorised fan, powerful enough to slice through flesh, came to a halt. Even worse for Miller, he had landed near Bowe’s corner, leaving his fate in the hands of the most readily violent entourage in modern boxing history.
They ripped Miller from the ropes and to the floor, where he received a beating that left him unconscious within a matter of seconds. His limp body received over twenty blows before tempers calmed.
In the immediate aftermath, the snagged paraglider wing made it impossible to escort Miller out of the building, meaning hysterical security guards tugged at its fabric in a desperate attempt to bring the incident to a close. It’s likely the weight of the lights above could have killed a crowd-member, had they broken free before the cord. Among those at greatest risk was Bowe’s wife, who had become entangled in the cords and fainted.
The fight ended in a decision for Holyfield. It was the only loss of Bowe’s professional career. In 1994, Miller disrupted another sporting event, when Arsenal faced Bolton in the English Premier League. He returned to the country a couple of months later, guiding his paraglider to the roof of Buckingham Palace. He then stripped from the waist down, revealing flesh painted entirely green. The UK deported him, as well as banning his re-entry for life.