James Tillis

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James Tillis
James "Quick" Tillis.jpg
James Tillis/ James "Quick" Tillis- Chicago, IL - 1980
Statistics
Real name James Theodore Tillis
Nickname(s) Quick, The Fighting Cowboy
Rated at Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Nationality American
Born (1957-07-05) July 5, 1957 (age 57)
Moton Hospital Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 65
Wins 42
Wins by KO 31
Losses 22
Draws 1

James Tillis (born July 5, 1957) is an American prizefighter, nicknamed "Quick".

Personal[edit]

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, First born son of James Tillis and wife Rose. Tillis, attended Mclain High School and grew up in a very religious southern family, with an alcoholic father and a deeply religious mother. His mother would later join First Baptist Mohawk church under the leadership of pastor Clint Simmons. He dreamed about being a professional prize fighter and was given the nickname"Quick," by his first cousin Keith Reed. boxer "Quick," was influenced to began training to become a boxer after he listened to the 1964 bout between Muhammad Ali and [[Sonny Liston]on the radio].He enlisted the help of noted trainer Ed Duncan, by becoming involved in the sport at the O'Brian Park recreation center in north Tulsa. Tillis amateur record of 92-8, led to his being considered for the United States Olympic team. Due to an illiness he was unable to compete in the Olympic trials.

However, his impressive amateur career included three state golden gloves and four state aau titles. He lost to future pro opponent Greg Page in the 1976 National Golden Gloves.He also managed to beat future pro contender Renaldo Snipes, who he later turned pro with on the same card in 1978.

Pro boxing career[edit]

Tillis began his professional boxing career in 1978 with a first-round knockout of Ron Stephany. He won his first 20 fights with 16 knockouts. One of his most impressive early victories was a seventh-round knockout of Ron Stander in 1980. Stander had once challenged Joe Frazier for the world title and was regarded as one of boxing's most durable fighters. Other notable wins included a knockout of the South American champion Domingo D'Elia and a points win over the sometimes dangerous fringe contender Mike Koranicki.

Title fight[edit]

In 1981, Tillis fought "Hercules" Mike Weaver for the WBA World Heavyweight title. After a strong start, Tillis tired. The fight would become famous for trainer Angelo Dundee imploring Tillis to do something, asking the fighter, "do you want to be a bum all your life?" Ultimately Tillis lost a close points decision.

In June 1982 Tillis came off the floor to outpoint the hard-hitting legend Earnie Shavers but blew that momentum only a few months later, being upset by late substitute (and future world champion) Pinklon Thomas. In November 1982, Tillis fought former amateur rival Greg Page for the USBA Heavyweight title, where he knocked Page down but again tired and was the victim of an eighth-round knockout loss. Page would go on to win the world title.

Downward spiral[edit]

Having scored four wins, Tillis challenged future two-time world champion Tim Witherspoon in September 1983 for the vacant North American Boxing Federation title. Tillis was shockingly bombed out in one round apparently slipping on water in the ring as Witherspoon hit him. After the fight, Tillis' trainer Angelo Dundee left him and advised him to retire as he had just suffered his third defeat in thirteen months.

Tillis got a new team and put together four wins in 1984 before challenging Carl Williams in a world title eliminator. Having decked Williams twice in the opening round, Tillis tired and was outpointed. In 1985, under the guidance of trainer Drew Bundini Brown, he fought Joe Frazier's son and top contender Marvis Frazier. In a recurring theme, he had Frazier down in the second round but ran out of gas and was outpointed. A few months later he traveled to South Africa to fight hard-hitting ex-champ Gerrie Coetzee. Tillis lost a unanimous decision but sent Coetzee to hospital with stitches and missing teeth.

Stamina issue[edit]

After extensive medical examination, Tillis' strange recurrent fatigue midway through fights was found to derive from a severe allergy to the classic fighter's diet of milk and eggs. A doctor provided Tillis with a more suitable diet in the training for his upcoming fight with Mike Tyson, a red-hot prospect with a 19-0 (19 knockouts) record. Tillis appeared to be a new man as he exchanged with Tyson and gave the future two-time champion a very tough fight. Although ultimately outpointed, he was the first person ever to take Iron Mike the distance.

The new Tillis was short-lived however, as he traveled to Australia and lost a decision to veteran Joe Bugner. In 1987 he was upset in eight rounds as underdog (and regular Tyson sparring partner) Michael Williams came off the floor to stop Tillis. Later in the same year he was stopped in five rounds on cuts by future champ Frank Bruno in London, and knocked out in 10 rounds by hard-hitting Johnny DuPlooy in South Africa.

Having failed to secure a rematch with Tyson in 1988, this time for the undisputed heavyweight championship, he made one last attempt at the big time, brought in to fight reigning cruiserweight world champion Evander Holyfield, who was making a high-profile move into the heavyweight ranks. Holyfield punched out Tillis in five one-sided rounds.

Tillis resurfaced in 1991. However, his days even as a journeyman appeared over as hard-hitting (and future WBO World Champion) Tommy Morrison stopped him out in one round.

Semi-retirement[edit]

Tillis fought on and off until 2001. Although he still was able to outpoint former top-flight amateur Craig Payne, a 39-year-old Tillis was stopped in six rounds by Cliff Couser in 1996.

Tillis fought his last fight in 2001, losing to clubfighter Rob Calloway when he was 44 years old.

Professional boxing record[edit]

42 Wins (31 knockouts, 11 decisions), 22 Losses (11 knockouts, 11 decisions), 1 Draw, 1 No Contest [1]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 42-22-1-(1) United States Rob Calloway TKO 9 13/04/2001 Missouri Saint Joseph Civic Center, Saint Joseph, Missouri, United States Referee stopped the bout at 2:59 of the ninth round.
Loss 42-21-1-(1) United States Tim "Hebrew Hammer" Puller UD 10 16/10/1999 Washington (state) Issaquah, Washington, United States 98-92, 99-91, 98-92.
Loss 42-20-1-(1) United States Cliff Couser TKO 6 30/08/1996 Washington (state) Quay Centennial Building, Vancouver, Washington, United States
Win 42-19-1-(1) United States Craig Payne UD 8 21/06/1996 Washington (state) Quay Centennial Building, Vancouver, Washington, United States
NC 41-19-1-(1) United States Will "Hammer" Hinton NC 3 07/12/1995 Colorado Denver, Colorado, United States
Loss 41-19-1 Russia Alexander Zolkin UD 10 08/10/1995 Ohio Columbus, Ohio, United States 88-100, 89-100, 89-99.
Win 41-18-1 United States Stan White Johnson TKO 3 28/02/1992 Illinois Union Hall, Countryside, Countryside, Illinois, United States Referee stopped the bout at 2:20 of the third round.
Win 40-18-1 United States Danny Blake SD 10 22/11/1991 Illinois Peoria, Illinois, United States
Loss 39-18-1 United States Tommy Morrison TKO 1 11/01/1991 New Jersey Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Referee stopped the bout at 1:51 of the first round.
Win 39-17-1 United States Carlton West TKO 3 07/12/1990 Virginia Valley Sports Arena, Roanoke, Virginia, United States
Loss 38-17-1 Brazil Adilson Rodrigues UD 10 20/03/1989 Brazil Toledo, Parana, Brazil 89-99, 91-99, 91-99.
Loss 38-16-1 United States Arthel "Bam Bam" Lawhorne UD 10 14/01/1989 Michigan The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan, United States
Loss 38-15-1 United Kingdom Gary Mason TKO 5 30/11/1988 England Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, Southwark, United Kingdom Referee stopped the bout at 1:50 of the fifth round.
Loss 38-14-1 United States Evander Holyfield RTD 5 16/07/1988 Nevada Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, United States Tillis retired at 3:00 of the fifth round.
Win 38-13-1 United States Rodney "Hot Rod" Smith KO 2 09/04/1988 Nevada Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 37-13-1 United States Dennis "The Menace" Jackson KO 5 16/10/1987 New Jersey Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Jackson knocked out at 0:50 of the fifth round.
Loss 36-13-1 South Africa Johnny DuPlooy TKO 10 23/06/1987 South Africa Ellis Park Indoor Arena, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Loss 36-12-1 United Kingdom Frank Bruno TKO 5 24/03/1987 England Wembley Arena, Wembley, London, United Kingdom Referee stopped the bout at 1:57 of the fifth round.
Win 36-11-1 United States Ronnie Douglas TKO 5 06/03/1987 Arkansas Fort Smith, Arkansas, United States
Loss 35-11-1 United States "Mercury" Mike Williams TKO 8 08/01/1987 Texas Marriot Brookhollow, Houston, Texas, United States Referee stopped the bout at 2:48 of the eighth round.
Draw 35-10-1 United States Avery Rawls PTS 10 11/11/1986 Nevada Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 97-94, 95-95, 95-95.
Win 35-10 United States Lorenzo Boyd KO 3 28/10/1986 Pennsylvania Station Square, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 34-10 United States "Fast" Eddie Richardson PTS 10 18/10/1986 Texas Mesquite, Texas, United States
Loss 33-10 Australia Joe Bugner PTS 10 15/09/1986 Australia Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 93-99 92-98 95-97
Win 33-9 United States Art Terry UD 8 29/07/1986 Kentucky Continental Inn, Lexington, Kentucky, United States 80-70, 80-70, 80-72.
Win 32-9 United States Mark "The Storm" Young KO 8 17/06/1986 Oklahoma Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
Loss 31-9 United States Mike Tyson UD 10 03/05/1986 New York Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, New York, United States 4-6, 4-6, 2-8.
Loss 31-8 United States Tyrell Biggs UD 8 25/01/1986 Pennsylvania Americana Host Farm, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States 33-39, 33-39, 34-39.
Loss 31-7 South Africa Gerrie Coetzee UD 10 07/09/1985 South Africa Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa 93-99, 94-99.
Loss 31-6 United States Marvis Frazier UD 10 20/05/1985 Nevada Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nevada, United States 91-98, 92-96, 91-97.
Win 31-5 United States Bashir Wadud UD 10 15/12/1984 Illinois Genesee Theatre, Waukegan, Illinois, United States 100-90, 100-90, 100-90.
Loss 30-5 United States Carl (The Truth) Williams UD 10 23/10/1984 New Jersey Atlantis Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States 2-8, 3-7, 1-9.
Win 30-4 United States Michael "Arc Angel" Bennett KO 1 20/08/1984 Oklahoma Miami, Oklahoma, United States
Win 29-4 United States Billy Joe Thomas KO 3 10/07/1984 Oklahoma Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
Win 28-4 United States Bobby Crabtree KO 3 26/04/1984 Oklahoma Excelsior Hotel, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
Win 27-4 United States Otis Bates KO 2 09/02/1984 Oklahoma Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
Loss 26-4 United States Tim Witherspoon TKO 1 23/09/1983 Ohio Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio, United States NABF Heavyweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 2:16 of the first round.
Win 26-3 United States Lynwood Jones KO 4 09/07/1983 Illinois DiVinci Manor, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 25-3 United States Larry Givens TKO 2 22/05/1983 Illinois Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 24-3 United States Grady Daniels TKO 4 25/04/1983 Illinois Congress Americana Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 23-3 United States Leroy Boone PTS 10 28/03/1983 Illinois Congress Americana Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Loss 22-3 United States Greg Page TKO 8 26/11/1982 Texas Astrodome, Houston, Texas, United States IBF USBA Heavyweight Title.
Loss 22-2 United States Pinklon Thomas TKO 8 14/08/1982 Ohio Stouffers Ballroom, Cleveland, Ohio, United States Referee stopped the bout at 0:58 of the eighth round.
Win 22-1 United States Earnie Shavers UD 10 11/06/1982 Nevada Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 96-92, 97-91, 96-92.
Win 21-1 United States "Tom and" Jerry Williams KO 3 13/03/1982 Nevada Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 20-1 United States Mike "Hercules" Weaver UD 15 03/10/1981 Illinois Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois, United States WBA World Heavyweight Title. 142-146, 143-145, 142-147.
Win 20-0 United States Tom Fischer PTS 10 09/03/1981 Illinois Hilton Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 19-0 Argentina Domingo D'Elia TKO 4 13/11/1980 Illinois International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, United States Referee stopped the bout at 1:40 of the fourth round.
Win 18-0 United States Mike Koranicki UD 10 14/08/1980 Illinois International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 17-0 United States Eric Sedillo TKO 4 12/06/1980 Illinois Hilton Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 16-0 United States Walter Santemore UD 10 15/05/1980 Illinois Aragon Ballroom (Chicago), Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 15-0 United States Frank Schram TKO 2 17/04/1980 Illinois Aragon Ballroom (Chicago), Chicago, Illinois, United States Referee stopped the bout at 1:54 of the second round.
Win 14-0 United States Ron Stander TKO 7 03/03/1980 Illinois International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, United States Stander did not come out of his corner for the eighth round.
Win 13-0 United States Roy Wallace UD 10 01/02/1980 Illinois International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 12-0 United States "Memphis" Al Jones KO 4 13/12/1979 Oklahoma Tulsa Civic Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
Win 11-0 United States Harry Terrell KO 1 20/11/1979 Illinois Circle Arena, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 10-0 United States Bob Whaley TKO 1 19/10/1979 Illinois Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 9-0 United States Jimmy "Old Rugged" Cross TKO 2 07/09/1979 Illinois Circle Arena, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 8-0 United States Charles Anderson Atlas TKO 2 30/07/1979 Illinois International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 7-0 United States Henry "Cole" Porter TKO 6 20/07/1979 Illinois University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 6-0 United States George Gofarth TKO 5 11/06/1979 Illinois Aragon Ballroom (Chicago), Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 5-0 Rocky "Mister Ed" Lane KO 1 31/03/1979 Illinois Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 4-0 United States Sylvester Wilder TKO 3 28/02/1979 Illinois DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 3-0 United States Dave "The Knave" Watkins KO 1 02/02/1979 Illinois Aragon Ballroom (Chicago), Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 2-0 United States Al "Tiger" Bell TKO 1 15/12/1978 Illinois Aragon Ballroom (Chicago), Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 1-0 United States Ron Stephany KO 1 18/11/1978 Illinois Alumni Hall (DePaul University), Chicago, Illinois, United States

Life after boxing[edit]

In retirement he wrote an autobiography, [Thinkin' Big- The Story of James "Quick" Tillis- The Fightin' Cowboy]

James Tillis, received catBOX Entertainment, Inc.’s Lifetime Sports Achievement Award. Tillis, whose fighting prowess named him “quick” “the fighting cowboy” was honored with the catBOX Entertainment, Inc.’s Lifetime Sports Achievement Award, before the main event at catBOX’s professional fight card set for February 11, 2010 at Remington Park Casino in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. http://www.catboxentertainment.com/catboxaward.html

On Feb. 12,2010, the State of Oklahoma honored one of its favorite sons, James “Quick” Tillis of Tulsa. Gov. Brad Henry signed a declaration making Feb. 12 James “Quick” Tillis Day in Oklahoma.http://www.tulsabeacon.com/?p=3684

As of 2010 Tillis is living in Tulsa.[1]

His daughter Iciss played basketball at Duke University as a center, and was on the United States National Team for the 2003 Pan American Games. Iciss was later selected in the first round by the Detroit Shock during 2004 WNBA Draft. She later played for the New York Liberty in 2006.

Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame Induction[edit]

On November 5, 2011, James "Quick" Tillis was Inducted into the Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame, receiving the "John Mastrella Integrity Award".

Tillis places the priorities in his life as, "Serving The Lord Jesus Christ, Cowboy-ing and volunteering with amateur boxing clubs.

Bringing to fruition film adaptation of his autobiography,["Thinkin' Big: The Story of James "Quick" Tillis- The Fightin' Cowboy], is his pet project.

References[edit]

External links[edit]