While many of the big fights are held within the vicinity of a Las Vegas best payout casino, on February 11, 1990, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, 23, stepped into the ring at the Tokyo Dome for the fight billed as ‘Tyson is Back!’ unbeaten in 37 fights, including ten world title fights, and as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. By contrast, his opponent, James ‘Buster’ Douglas, 30, had already suffered four defeats – including a tenth round technical knockout by Tony Tucker in his only previous world title fight in 1987 – and was expected to be little more than ‘cannon fodder’ for Tyson, as he warned up for a meeting with undefeated heavyweight contender Evander Holyfied. Indeed, Tyson later recalled, ‘I didn’t consider Buster Douglas much of a challenge. I had easily beaten everybody who had knocked him out.’
However, Douglas belied odds of 42/1 offered by bookmakers and joka room online casino sites by proving the sharper of the pair right from the start. He kept Tyson at bay with a series of good, solid jabs, and repeatedly clinched as the largely rhythmless, ineffective champion attempted to counter attack. In the eighth round, though, Douglas succumbed to an uppercut, which knocked to the canvas. He survived until the end of the round and, in the ninth, Tyson went for a quick finish but, in so doing, exposed himself to series of hard, right-hand counter-punches. Tyson barely survived the round and, in the tenth, Douglas landed a fierce, right-hand uppercut of his own, followed by a right-left-right-left combination that left Tyson fumbling for his gumshield as the referee counted him out.
The ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ was a world heavyweight championship title fight between the unbeaten reigning champion, George Foreman, and challenger Muhammad Ali, who had been stripped of his world heavyweight title after refusing to be inducted into the US Army in 1967. The fight took place at what is now the Stade Tata Raphaël in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on October 30, 1974, at 4am local time, to cater for American television audiences.
In his previous title defence, against Ken Norton in Caracas, Venzuela in March, 1974, Foreman had won inside two rounds and was expected to make equally short work of Ali. Indeed, Foreman said later that he had hit Ali ‘with the hardest shot to the body’ that he had ever delivered. Nevertheless, by adopting by what was dubbed the ‘Rope-a-Dope’ strategy, Ali leant back against the loose ring ropes and absorbed punishment with his arms and body, while constantly taunting Foreman into more and more powerful, looping punches.
As the fight wore on Foreman, who had not fought more than four rounds since winning by technical knockout in the tenth round against Gregorio Peralta in Oakland, California more than three years previously, visibly tired. As Foreman ran out of steam, Ali landed a series of increasingly potent counter punches, culminating in a right-left-right combination late in the eighth round, which knocked his opponent to the canvas. Foreman rose to his feet, but not quickly enough, and was counted out by referee Zach Clayton.
Watch the Rumble in the Jungle fight
The late Sir Henry Cooper, popularly known as ‘Our ‘Enry’, was one of the most celebrated and successful British boxers since World War II. Cooper turned professional, at the age of 20, in 1954 and went on to enjoy a highly successful professional career; he never won a world title, but was British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion between 1959 and 1971 and European heavyweight champion between 1968 and 1971.
However, for all his success, Cooper is probably best remembered for his narrow, and controversial, defeat by 21-year-old Cassius Clay – soon to become Muhammad Ali – in a non-title fight at Wembely Stadium, London in June, 1963, which very nearly changed the course of boxing. Before the fight, Clay had brashly predicted, ‘It ain’t no jive, Henry Cooper will go in five!’
Nevertheless, towards the end of the fourth round, Cooper, 28, unleashed a trademark left hook – dubbed ”Enry’s ‘Ammer’ – which knocked Clay to the canvas for a count of four. When the bell sounded, Clay was sitting on the seat of his pants, back against the ropes, and had to be walked back to his stool by trainer Angelo Dundee. Dundee administered smelling salts before, apparently, discovering a split in Clay’s glove, which he brought to the attention of the referee Tommy Little.
According to Cooper, Dundee subsequently freely admitted, more than once, that he had deliberately slashed the glove to give Clay more time to recover between rounds. A replacement pair of gloves were fetched from the dressing room and, in the fifth round, a rejuvenated Clay set to work on slicing up Cooper’s already bloodied face; a heavily bleeding cut over his left eye left Cooper unable to see properly and the contest was stopped, with Clay winning by technical knockout.
Watch the Henry Cooper vs. Cassius Clay fight
On April 29, 2017, reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua defended his title against former unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Kiltschko in front of 90,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium, London, with the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Organisation (IBO) heavyweight titles – both vacated, on medical grounds, by Tyson Fury the previous October – also at stake.
After a circumspect first four rounds, in the fifth round Joshua, 27, unleashed a flurry of punches, including a solid left hook, which sent Klitschko, face first to the canvas. To his credit, despite a heavily cut left eye, Klitschko, 41, rose quickly and, although he briefly looked in danger of being stopped, turned the tables on his opponent in the latter part of the round, landing a series of powerful punches. Indeed, in the second minute sixth round, Klitschko scored a knockdown of his own, felling Joshua with a devastating overhand right; Joshua, too, was on the verge of being stopped, but was able to recover as the fight played out.
In the eleventh round, Joshua delivered a vicious uppercut, which precipitated two further knockdowns and, ultimately, forced referee David Fields to intervene, with Klitschko pinned on the ropes and unable to defend himself. At the time of his victory, by technical knockout, Joshua led 96-93 and 95-93 on the scorecards of American judge Don Trella and Puerto Rican judge Nelson Vazquez, respectively, but trailed 93-95 on the scorecard of American judge Steve Weisfeld. Despite redeeming himself from a lacklustre performance against Tyson Fury, which cost him his three major belts, seventeen months earlier, and performing better ‘than most people thought he had in his entire career’, according to trainer Johnathon Banks, Klitschko announced his shock retirement from boxing, with immediate effect, in August, 2017.