Buster Mathis Jr.

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Buster Mathis Jr.
Real nameBuster DAmato Mathis
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Reach75" (191cm)
Born (1970-03-25) March 25, 1970 (age 50)
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Boxing record
Total fights23
Wins by KO7
No contests3

Buster Mathis Jr. (born March 25, 1970 in East Grand Rapids, Michigan), is a retired American professional boxer in the heavyweight division.[1]

Early life[edit]

Mathis Jr. was the son of Buster Mathis, a heavyweight boxer from the 1960s. The senior Mathis had been invited to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and was a contender with fights against champions Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Mathis Jr. was a heavy man and took up boxing because he was bullied as a child until the age of 14, and also for the benefit of losing extra weight.

Professional career[edit]

Mathis Jr. turned pro in 1991 and quickly put together 12 wins. A busy, crowding fighter, Mathis was small for a heavyweight at around 220 lbs but skilled enough to beat fairly respected fighters like Levi Billups, Justin Fortune and Mike Dixon very early in his career. Buster Mathis encouraged his son to fewer higher paying fights, using the Mathis name to his advantage. He was considered a weak puncher (3 KO's in those 12 fights) but his opposition was above average.

In 1993 he challenged Mike 'The Bounty' Hunter (23-3) for his USBA heavyweight belt. Hunter won a close decision over Mathis. The loss however was soon voided after Hunter later tested positive for cocaine.

In 1994 Mathis again contested the USBA belt (stripped from Hunter), this time winning an impressive 12-round decision over ex-Olympic champion Tyrell Biggs (27-7).

In August of that year Mathis was brought in as the comeback opponent for former undisputed champion Riddick Bowe. After a good effort bobbing and weaving out of the way of Bowe's best shots, Mathis began to fall behind and took a knee in the fourth. Bowe knocked Mathis out while he was on the mat, yet instead of being disqualified, referee Arthur Mercante Sr. and New Jersey commission boss Larry Hazzard agreed to void the contest.

In 1995 Mathis retained his USBA belt with a point win over contender Alex Garcia, thus setting up a fight with Mike Tyson. This was Tyson's second fight since being released from prison earlier in the year.

Mathis Sr. did not see his son's fight with Tyson, his final battle was health problems of diabetes and kidney issues. Mathis Sr. died a few weeks before the Tyson fight. In the third round Tyson knocked Mathis Jr. out with a right uppercut. Many believed that if Mathis Sr. had been alive that Mathis Jr. could have won the fight. Ten days after the Tyson fight Mathis Jr.'s trainer and long time friend Joey Fariello died, and Mathis Jr. quickly lost his spark for the sport.

A 1996 fight with prospect Obed Sullivan ended with a no contest in the 5th round, after Sullivan was badly cut in a clash of heads. This was the third no contest in Mathis Jr.'s relatively brief career.

In November 1996 Mathis lost his USBA belt to undefeated Lou Savarese.

Mathis retired at the age of 26 with a 21-2 (7 KO's) record, and 3 no contests.

After boxing[edit]

After his boxing career he studied education receiving a bachelor's degree from the University of Miami. He currently resides in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan and spends his free time speaking to youth to encourage and motivate them, signing autographs and speaking to foster children. Buster Mathis is now the vice president of a non-profit, Buster Mathis Inc. (www.thebullybuster.org) and offers elementary children the Bully Buster Prevention Program through a boxing technique called the 'peek-a-boo'. Buster Mathis is single and has no children at this time. Buster also is a substitute teacher on his off time, most recently at East Kentwood High School.[citation needed] On October 20, 2016, Buster Mathis Jr. was inducted into the Grand Rapids (MI) Sports Hall of Fame, joining his father who was previously inducted.

Professional boxing record[edit]

21 Wins (7 knockouts, 14 decisions), 2 Losses (2 knockouts), 3 No Contests [1]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 21-2 (3 NC) United States Lou Savarese TKO 7 1 Nov 1996 United States Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California IBF USBA Heavyweight Title.
No Contest 21-1 (3 NC) United States Obed Sullivan NC 5 20 Apr 1996 United States Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks, North Dakota IBF Intercontinental Heavyweight Title.
Win 21-1 (2 NC) United States Ken Smith KO 4 27 Feb 1996 South Africa Morula Sun Casino, Mabopane, North West
Loss 20-1 (2 NC) United States Mike Tyson KO 3 16 Dec 1995 United States Core State Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Mathis knocked out at 2:32 of the third round.
Win 20-0 (2 NC United States Mike Acklie TKO 1 5 Aug 1995 United States New Mexico State Fair, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Win 19-0 (2 NC) United States Alex Garcia UD 12 18 Apr 1995 United States The Aladdin, Las Vegas, Nevada IBF USBA Heavyweight Title.
Win 18-0 (2 NC United States Ken Smith UD 10 4 Feb 1995 United States Silver Nugget, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 17-0 (2 NC) United States Garing Lane TKO 9 3 Dec 1994 United States Harlingen, Texas
Win 16-0 (2 NC) United States Lyle McDowell TKO 5 5 Nov 1994 United States Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada IBF USBA Heavyweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 0:46 of the fifth round.
Win 15-0 (2 NC) United States Mike Lee Faulkner UD 10 1 Oct 1994 United States The Roxy, Boston, Massachusetts 100-88, 100-88, 100-90.
No Contest 14-0 (2 NC) United States Riddick Bowe NC 4 13 Aug 1994 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey Referee stopped the bout at 2:11 of the fourth round when Bowe knocked out Mathis while he was down.
Win 14-0 (1 NC) United States Sherman Griffin MD 10 2 Apr 1994 Japan Tokyo
Win 13-0 (1 NC0 United States Tyrell Biggs UD 12 5 Feb 1994 United States The Aladdin, Las Vegas, Nevada IBF USBA Heavyweight Title. 117-110, 117-111, 115-112.
No Contest 12-0 (1 NC) United States Mike Hunter NC 12 4 Dec 1993 United States USS Lexington Museum, Corpus Christi, Texas IBF USBA Heavyweight Title. Decision awarded to Hunter was vacated when he tested positive for drugs.
Win 12-0 United States Mike Dixon UD 10 2 Oct 1993 United States Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey 100-91, 99-91, 98-92.
Win 11-0 United States Mark Young UD 10 7 Aug 1993 United States Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 10-0 United States Levi Billups PTS 10 10 Jul 1993 United States Fernwood Resort, Bushkill, Pennsylvania
Win 9-0 United States Carl Williams TKO 5 15 Jun 1993 United States The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Win 8-0 Australia Justin Fortune TKO 8 14 Feb 1993 United States Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 7-0 United States Ty Evans PTS 6 22 Sep 1992 United States The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Win 6-0 United States Jordan Keepers PTS 6 24 Apr 1992 United States Beloit, Wisconsin
Win 5-0 United States Tim Martin TKO 5 21 Apr 1992 United States The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Win 4-0 United States Luis Torres PTS 4 21 Mar 1992 United States Cleveland, Ohio
Win 3-0 United States Tracy Thomas PTS 4 3 Mar 1992 United States Livonia, Michigan
Win 2-0 United States Rusty Williams PTS 4 8 Feb 1992 United States Lansing, Michigan
Win 1-0 United States Ahmad Gihad PTS 4 9 Dec 1991 United States Waukesha, Wisconsin


  1. ^ Cashmore, Ellis (April 16, 2013). Tyson: Nurture of the Beast. Wiley. p. 95. ISBN 9780745674575. Retrieved September 29, 2014.

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