On This Day In 2001: Hasim Rahman Shocks Lennox Lewis

The champ was massive odds-on but was humiliated in South Africa
14:58, 22 Apr 2022

When Lennox Lewis travelled to Brakpan, South Africa to face relative unknown Hasim Rahman he must have thought it was just another defence of his crown that would earn him some more money and keep him going towards retirement.

Then 36, Lewis was already well on his way to retirement having beaten the likes of Evander Holyfield, Shannon Briggs and Frank Bruno in his stellar 39 fight career.

His one defeat at that point was to what he put down as a ‘freak’ knockout against Oliver McCall way back in 1994. Since then he had destroyed all comers.

Lewis was the icon of world boxing and at the time he was making his way in show business having recently appeared with a cameo role in the Hollywood blockbuster, Ocean’s Eleven.

Did this mean he didn’t train quite as hard as he should for his fight with Rahman?

Whatever it was, it cost him.

Rahman came to the ring with a more than respectable 34-2 record but nobody saw him beating the unified heavyweight champion.

Rahman was small by heavyweight standards and had been knocked out by both David Tua and Oleg Maskaev.

But Rahman did have punch pedigree with a large number of his victories coming by way of knockout and so it proved in his bout against Lewis.

Lewis looked heavy as he entered the ring, but Rahman was as much as 25-1 to stop Lewis and in the opening exchanges it seemed business as usual for the champion.

But by the fourth round Rahman was gaining some success with his jab that was frustrating Lewis, who was not even averaging forty punches a round.

And so it proved costly in the fifth as Rahman on the back of a flurry of good jabs he lands a thunderous overhand right that puts Lewis down.

Lewis instantly knows he’s in trouble, desperately trying to get up but it’s too late. He is out and has lost his titles.

The two would go on to have a bitter relationship, Lewis eventually getting his rematch via the courtrooms (not to mention a high profile brawl at the press conference) and knocking out Rahman to regain his titles.

Rahaman would go on to fight a further 25 times, eventually retiring in 2014, while Lewis went on to beat Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko before retiring.


*18+ | BeGambleAware

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