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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

LENNOX LEWIS

Inducted in 2008

Member Details

Date of Birth: September 2, 1965
Place of Birth: West Ham, London
Sport: Boxing
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1986

Gold Medal, Super Heavyweight boxing, Commonwealth Games, Edinburgh, Scotland

1998

Gold Medal, Super Heavyweight, Seoul Summer Olympic Games 

1999

Recognized as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world boxing under the flag of Great Britain

2008

Inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Honoured Member LENNOX LEWIS
Inspire

Story

Lennox Lewis had nothing left to prove. At age 38 he had achieved success at every level of his sport, including the laurels of world junior champion, Olympic champion and world heavyweight champion. So it was that in February 2004, Lewis announced his retirement from boxing, ending a remarkable 23-year career in the ring that saw him defeat the greatest names of his generation as both an amateur and professional athlete, under both Canadian and British flags. Lewis was born in London, England, but he and his mother later immigrated to Canada, settling in Kitchener, Ontario. At school he proved a valuable addition to his football and basketball teams but boxing was his forte and his passion. In 1983, at age 17, he won the world junior super heavyweight championship and a year later he was a member of Canada's Olympic team in Los Angeles, where he lost a quarterfinal bout to eventual champion Tyrell Biggs. Four years later it was a stronger, more experienced Lewis, winner at the 1986 Commonwealth Games and 1987 North American championships, who came to the Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. The Canadian boxer required just 34 seconds to dispatch reigning World Cup champion Ulli Kaden of East Germany in the quarterfinals. Lewis went on to subdue American Riddick Bowe in the super heavyweight final to secure the 1988 Olympic gold medal. The victory marked the end of a 56-year win drought for Canada's Olympic boxers as Lewis became the first Canadian to win Olympic boxing gold since Toronto's Horace "Lefty" Gwynne was crowned bantamweight champ at the 1932 Games in Los Angeles. Having reached the highest pinnacle in amateur boxing, Lewis turned professional and opted to return to England. Over the course of 44 pro fights Lewis amassed a record of 41 wins - including 32 knockouts - two losses and a draw, with victories over notables Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Donovan "Razor" Ruddock. The sole draw came in a controversial bout against Holyfield, which many observers felt Lewis should have won, but he came back eight months later in Las Vegas to defeat Holyfield in 12 rounds. Losses to Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman, were avenged with later victories over both boxers. With his decision to leave the ring, Lewis became just the third boxer, joining Rocky Marciano and Gene Tunney, to retire as world heavyweight champion. Best in the world as a junior, an Olympic champion and world heavyweight champion, there was clearly nothing left to prove. (Written by Wendy Long. Wendy is currently a freelance writer based in North Delta, B.C. and is the author of the book Celebrating Excellence: Canadian Women Athletes.)


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