Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Former world champion plans to assist Ja boxing

Published:Sunday | February 12, 2017 | 2:00 AMLeroy Brown
Young local welterweight boxer Toriano Nicholas (left) gets some pointers from former world heavyweight champion Oliver ‘Atomic Bull’ McCall.

Former heavyweight champion of the world, Oliver 'Atomic Bull' McCall, visited Jamaica for five days recently, a visit, he said, designed "to see what Jamaica's boxing pool is like and what I can do to help it to grow" .

McCall was invited to Jamaica by Chris Joy, an American boxing promoter who assisted in getting boxers for the Wray and Nephew Contender Show last year and who has plans to promote shows in Jamaica this year.

McCall told The Sunday Gleaner that he was impressed with what he saw and that he is prepared "to come back to Jamaica soon to run some clinics and to assist with the development of boxing in Jamaica". An animated McCall, who scored victories in world title fights over other former champions - Lennox Lewis in 1994 and Larry Holmes in 1995 - when he was at the peak of his career, said he had seen some promising young boxers who with the right training, could become world beaters.

"I was at your National Amateur Championships and saw a lot of raw talent. Those guys showed a lot of spunk, and throughout the night, one could see there was no backing down.

"A couple of the ladies showed promise, too, and I could not believe it when I was told that the little bantamweight Tenesha James was having her first fight. With the proper training, she can become a really good boxer."

Joy, meanwhile, said he did not want to just promote, but to help to develop the sport.

"I want to help with the amateurs and get them into the pro ranks. That is what I want Oliver to assist me in doing. He has had a great career and can be an inspiration to young boxers," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

GOOD RECORD

Backing this up, McCall said, "My record in boxing is a good one. I made some mistakes that affected my earning power, but I am at peace with myself now and I am trying to give back to a sport that gave me a lot."

When asked by The Sunday Gleaner about his meltdown in his second world title fight against Lewis on February 7, 1997, McCall said that he should not have taken the fight at that time as he was going through a lot of personal problems.

"I was having lots of problems. I was getting counselling. I was a mess, but I got the offer and took it. The WBC (World Boxing Council) title was vacant, Lewis was ranked No. 1 and I was No. 2, and the fight was made by my promoter, Don King.

There was talk of a postponement, but that did not happen and I made the mistake of going into the ring that night, and you know what happened."

What happened was that in round four, McCall stopped fighting and walked around the ring, only defending himself when Lewis attacked. He did the same thing at the start of round five, eventually started crying, and referee Mills Lane stepped in after 55 seconds, stopped the fight, and called it a loss by technical knockout.