Former WBC light-heavyweight champion John Conteh celebrates his seventieth birthday right now. The ever-popular scouser loved a nice profession, at each newbie and professional degree, and Conteh confronted loads of huge names.
At age 19, Conteh gained Commonwealth gold at middleweight, this in 1970. Going professional in October of the next yr, as a heavyweight, the tall, athletic and gifted fighter gained his first 11 bouts, earlier than he misplaced a call to Eddie Duncan in September of 1972.
After that minor setback, Conteh went unbeaten in his subsequent 20 fights. In February of 1973, Conteh fought on the Muhammad Ali-Joe Bugner card in Las Vegas, stopping Terry Daniels within the seventh spherical.
Ali joked how Conteh was higher wanting than he was. In his subsequent combat, Conteh dropped all the way down to light-heavyweight and he gained the European light-heavyweight title with a twelfth spherical stoppage of Rudiger Schmidtke, this on the age of simply 21.
Subsequent up, in a grueling 15 spherical battle with Chris Finnegan, Conteh retained the European crown and gained the British and Commonwealth titles. Conteh had achieved a lot after simply 20 professional fights.
Stoppage wins over Vicente Rondon and Tom Boggs adopted, as did a rematch win over Finnegan, with Conteh this time getting the win inside six rounds. After which, in October of 1974, Conteh defeated Jorge Ahumada of Argentina to win the vacant WBC light-heavyweight championship. It was an important night time at Wembley in London.
Retentions adopted, over Lonnie Bennett (TKO5), Yaqui Lopez (WU15) and Len Hutchins (TKO3). Following the win over Hutchins, Conteh was ordered to defend towards Miguel Angel Cuello of Argentina, however he refused and was stripped of the title.
Conteh made three makes an attempt to regain the WBC strap. In his first try, in June of 1978, Conteh misplaced a cut up resolution to Mate Parlov in Yugoslavia. Then, in August of 1979 in a combat that came about in Atlantic Metropolis, New Jersey, Conteh fell sufferer to even harsher unhealthy luck. And to dishonest.
Dealing with legendary warrior Matthew Saad Muhammad, Conteh opened a nasty lower over Muhammad’s eye within the fifth spherical. The blood was pouring, the combat may have been stopped – ought to have been stopped – but the champion’s cutman used an unlawful coagulant to stem the circulate.
The combat raged on, and it was a detailed combat, however Conteh was successful. Then Muhammad scored two knockdowns in spherical 14. Conteh misplaced a call.
Within the return, a light Conteh was hammered to fourth-round defeat, the challenger happening some 5 instances within the rematch that came about on the similar venue. Conteh had one final combat, a win over James Dixon on the Liverpool Stadium, after which his profession was over, this on the age of simply 29.
Conteh may have been a two-time WBC light-heavyweight champion – in actual fact, he would have been a two-time WBC light-heavyweight champion had Muhammad’s cutman not gotten away with unlawful strategies – and we should keep in mind this when evaluating his profession. You might maybe rank Conteh as a near-great.
At present, John Conteh is acknowledged as one in every of British boxing’s greatest.
Last ring file: 34-4-1(24). WBC light-heavyweight champion 1974 to 1977.