Lennox Lewis. Source: Twitter

Lennox Lewis was a professional boxer who competed between 1989 and 2003. He is a three-time world heavyweight champion and a two-time lineal champion.

Photo by Geoff Pugh

Early life

Lennox Claudius Lewis was born on September 2, 1965, in West Ham, London, England, to Jamaican parents. As a child, he would frequently fight with other children. Lewis moved to Kitchener, Ontario, Canada with his mother when he was 12 years old.

He went to Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute. He was quite active in athletics at school participating in Canadian football, soccer, and basketball.

Career overview


Lewis competed in the 1988 Summer Olympics as an amateur for Canada, winning a gold medal in the super-heavyweight division after defeating Riddick Bowe in the final.

Lewis won several regional heavyweight championships in his first three years as a professional, including the European, British, and Commonwealth titles. He defeated Donovan Ruddock in 1992 to take over the top spot in the WBC rankings after winning his first 21 fights.

Lewis became undisputed heavyweight champion in 1999 after unifying his WBC title with Holyfield’s WBA, IBF, and vacant IBO titles in two fights against Evander Holyfield.

Lewis defeated Hasim Rahman in 2001, but this defeat was avenged later that year. Lewis also defeated Mike Tyson in one of the most anticipated fights in boxing history in 2002.


Amateur Career

Lennox decided to pursue boxing when he was thirteen. He began training and rapidly became a successful amateur fighter. He earned a gold medal at the Junior World Championships in 1983 at the age of eighteen. He was selected to represent Canada in the Super-Heavyweight event in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

The International Boxing Association ranked him as the world’s sixth-best heavyweight boxer at the time. At the Olympics, he reached the quarterfinals before losing to Tyrell Biggs of the United States, who went on to win the gold medal. Following the Olympics, he opted to box as an amateur again to compete in the 1988 Summer Olympics. He was the first Canadian boxer to win gold in 56 years when he earned a gold medal for Canada in the super-heavyweight division.

Professional Career

Lewis declared himself a professional after achieving his goal and returned to his native England. Lewis declared himself a professional after achieving his goal and returned to his native England. Lewis agreed to work with boxing promoter Frank Maloney. He won the European heavyweight title in 1990 against Frenchman Jean Maurice Chanet after signing with American promoter Main Events.

Lewis was a top-five world heavyweight and defeated former WBA heavyweight champion Mike Weaver, 1984 Olympic gold medalist Tyrell Biggs, former world cruiserweight title holder Glenn McCrory during this time.

Lennox Lewis vs  Donovan Ruddock

Source: BoxRec

Lewis knocked out Canadian Donovan Ruddock in two rounds on October 31, 1992, to become the WBC’s number one contender. It was Lewis’ most impressive victory to date, and it cemented his place as one of the world’s best heavyweights.

Lennox Lewis vs Evander Holyfield

Lewis faced WBA and IBF titleholder Evander Holyfield in New York City on March 13, 1999, in a heavyweight unification bout. Despite the fact that most observers thought Lewis had clearly won the fight, the bout was declared a draw, sparking much debate. The fight’s raw statistics suggested that Lewis won, as he landed 348 punches to Holyfield’s 130.


On November 13, 1999, Lewis and Holyfield fought again in a more open and entertaining contest than the first, with the two boxers exchanging heavy blows from rounds six to nine. This time, the three judges scored the fight unanimously in Lewis’ favour (115–113, 116–112 & 117–111), making him the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Lennox Lewis vs Hasim Rahman

Lewis was knocked out by Hasim Rahman in a fight at Carnival City Casino in South Africa on April 21, 2001.

Lewis immediately sought a rematch with the new champion. However, Rahman was being promoted by Don King and sought another opponent for his first title defence. Lewis took Rahman to court to enforce their contract’s rematch clause.

Rahman was ordered to honour the clause and rematch Lewis in his first title defence. Lewis reclaimed the title on November 17 after knocking out Rahman in the fourth round of their rematch.

Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson

Source: USA Today

Lewis defended his title against Mike Tyson on June 8, 2002. The ticket prices were as high as US $2,400 and a crowd of 15,327 turned out to see boxing’s biggest event at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tennessee.

Lewis knocked Tyson out in the eighth round with a right cross. Until De La Hoya-Mayweather in 2007, this was the highest-grossing pay-per-view event in history, grossing US $106.9 million from 1.95 million buys in the United States. Both fighters were guaranteed a total of $17.5 million.

Lennox Lewis vs Vitali Klitschko

Source: ESPN

Lewis had planned to fight Kirk Johnson in June, but Johnson was injured in training, so Lewis fought Vitali Klitschko, the WBC’s No. 1 contender and former WBO champion. With both fighters appearing tired before the start of round seven, the doctor advised that the fight be stopped due to a severe cut above Klitschko’s left eye, awarding Lewis a TKO victory.

Lewis announced his retirement in February 2004, vacating the title, to pursue other interests such as sports management and music promotion. Lewis stated that he would not be returning to the ring. Lewis retired with a record of 41 wins, two losses, and one draw, with 32 victories coming via knockout.

Professional record summary

44 fights41 wins2 losses
By knockout322
By decision70
By disqualification20

Personal life

Lewis moved to Miami Beach with his wife, Violet Chang, a former Miss Jamaica runner-up, after retiring from boxing. They have three kids. Lewis also enjoys playing chess as a hobby.

He provided funding for an after-school chess programme for disadvantaged youths, one of whom received a university chess scholarship to Tennessee Tech.

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