“Lewis was just average.” Soviet boxers beat the legendary Briton three times
The recently concluded Olympic boxing tournament made us remember the former heroes of the main starts of the four years. One of those, of course, is Lennox Lewis – the Seoul Olympic champion in the Canadian national team. Shortly after his triumphant performance in South Korea, he turned pro and played for Great Britain. As a pro, Lennox went down in history as one of the greatest heavyweights. To this day, he is the last absolute heavyweight champion of the world. Meanwhile, not everyone remembers that over the years of performing in amateurs, Lewis was beaten three times by Soviet boxers. Let us briefly recall those triumphs of the national boxing school.
Vyacheslav Yakovlev – Lennox Lewis. Boxing World Cup. Seoul. 11/06/1985
Three years before the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea hosted the fourth-ever World Boxing Cup. The Soviet delegation arrived at the tournament in practically the strongest composition. There was Nurmagomed Shanavazov, Samson Khachatryan, and Alexander Yagubkin. Heavyweight Vyacheslav Yakovlev was included in the team. By that time, he could boast of the title of two-time medalist of the European Championship. At a tournament in Seoul, he first defeated South Korean boxer Hyun Man Bak, and then the representative of Puerto Rico Barrientos. In a decisive battle, he met with the then Canadian representative Lennox Lewis. Yakovlev outplayed 20-year-old Lewis on points.
Vyacheslav himself later admitted that he was not even nervous before the final fight.
“I wasn’t even worried because I was much more experienced. Lewis was then very average – he played for Canada in general, ”Yakovlev recalled.
It is interesting that, in spite of a bright amateur career, Yakovlev did not go as a pro. In four fights, he won three times, after which he ended his career.
Valery Abajyan – Lennox Lewis. TSC Berlin Tournament. Berlin (GDR). 10/05/1986
Less than a year later, the lot again brought Lennox Lewis to the Soviet boxer. At the prestigious international tournament in East Berlin TSC Berlin, the representative of Canada clashed with Valery Abadzhyan. The latter in those years constantly competed in the national team with Yakovlev. So the meeting with Lewis was another chance for Abajyan to prove that he deserves the status of the first number of the USSR national team. And Valery coped with his task brilliantly. Moreover, he became the only boxer who ever defeated Lewis by knockout in an amateur.
“I, 28 years old, had to beat him, 21 years old. However, I was not well trained for that fight. So I had to outsmart Lennox Lewis by putting him to sleep. I am confused that many people put fact in the first place. Like, Abajyan knocked out Lewis himself. Thanks, of course, to these boxing fans. But there are facts that are more worthy of attention, ”Abajyan said.
By the way, about the fight itself. Abajyan in that fight was first marked by a knockdown. And then he forced Lennox to raise his arms higher and pierced exactly in the liver, after that attack Lewis could no longer continue the fight. Valery himself admitted that if it had not been for the knockout, he could have lost that fight.
Despite his success at the prestigious tournament, Abajyan did not play for long after that victory. In 1987, he retired without even fighting for a ticket to the Seoul Olympics.
Alexander Miroshnichenko – Lennox Lewis. Tournament in Karlsruhe. 04/30/1988
Finally, Alexander Miroshnichenko became the third offender of Lewis from the galaxy of Soviet boxers. The future world champion among professionals met with him at a tournament in Karlsruhe in the spring of 1988. The native of Kazakhstan easily outplayed the opponent. First, he knocked him down, which is interesting, Lennox’s liver failed again. And in the second round, the referee was forced to intervene and stopped the fight for a clear advantage of the boxer from the USSR. In the same 1988, Miroshnichenko hoped to meet with Lewis at the Seoul Olympics. But in the semifinals of the Games, Alexander lost to Riddick Bowe, and he, in turn, did not cope with Lewis in the final.
In 1990, Miroshnichenko became a professional. Here he had 22 fights, winning 21 times. The only defeat he suffered in 1993, losing to Oleg Maskaev. After that, he retired. On May 19, 2003, Alexander Miroshnichenko died tragically.