Chris Byrd

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Chris Byrd
Real nameChristopher Cornelius Byrd
Nickname(s)Rapid Fire
Height6 ft (183 cm)
Reach74 in (188 cm)
Born (1970-08-15) August 15, 1970 (age 51)
Flint, Michigan, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights47
Wins by KO22

Christopher Cornelius Byrd (born August 15, 1970) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1993 to 2009. He is a two-time world heavyweight champion, having first won the WBO title in 2000 after an upset corner stoppage over then-undefeated Vitali Klitschko. In his first title defense later that year, he lost to Vitali's brother Wladimir Klitschko. In 2002, Byrd defeated Evander Holyfield to win the IBF heavyweight title for his second reign as world champion. He made four successful defenses until losing his title again to Wladimir Klitschko in a 2006 rematch. He was ranked by BoxRec as the world's top 10 heavyweight from 1996 to 2003, reaching his highest ranking of No.4 in 1998.[1]

As an amateur, Byrd represented the United States at the 1992 Summer Olympics and won a silver medal in the middleweight division. He is also a three-time national amateur champion, winning the light middleweight title in 1989, and the middleweight title in 1991 and 1992.

Early life[edit]

Chris Byrd was the youngest of eight children growing up in Flint, Michigan. He began boxing at age 5, training in his father (Joe Sr.)'s Joe Byrd Boxing Academy. His father continued to train and manage Byrd as a professional. Byrd attended Flint Northwestern High School.

Amateur career[edit]

Byrd began competing in the ring at age 10, since then he had 285 amateur fights in various weight classes, compiled an impressive record of 275 wins, 10 losses. He was a three-time U.S. amateur champion (1989, 1991, and 1992). He was on the 1991 U.S. National boxing Team that became the first (and only) U.S. team to score a tie against the heralded Cuban team. Byrd won the silver medal in the 1992 Barcelona summer Olympics as a middleweight, losing to Cuba's Ariel Hernández in the final.

Amateur highlights[edit]

  • Lost in the 1988 Olympic Trials at Light Welterweight, losing to eventual United States representative Todd Foster.
  • 1989 United States Amateur Light Middleweight Champion
  • 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, lost to Torsten Schmitz (East Germany) on points, in Light Middleweight competition.
  • 1991 United States Amateur Middleweight Champion
  • 1991 World Championships, lost at Middlweight to Ramon Garbey (Cuba)
  • 1992 United States Amateur Middleweight Champion
  • 1992 Middleweight Gold Medalist at Canada Cup. Results were:
  • 1992 Qualified as a Middleweight at the Olympic Trials in Worcester, MA. Results were:
  • Captured the Middleweight Silver Medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. Results were:

Professional career[edit]

1993–1998: early career[edit]

Byrd turned professional on January 28, 1993, knocking out 10 of his first 13 opponents. Byrd moved up to heavyweight three fights into his professional career.

Byrd remained undefeated for his first 26 fights, knocking off then-notable opponents like Phil Jackson, Lionel Butler, Uriah Grant, Bert Cooper, Craig Peterson, Frankie Swindell, Jimmy Thunder, undefeated Eliecer Castillo and Ross Puritty.

1999: Byrd vs. Ibeabuchi, comeback victories[edit]

However, in 1999, Byrd's undefeated record came to a dead end when he fought undefeated Ike Ibeabuchi. With 48 seconds left in the fifth round, a left-handed bolo punch followed with a right hook sent Byrd to the canvas, face first.

2000: first world title, facing the Klitschkos[edit]

During the last week of March 2000, Byrd was offered the chance to be the replacement (for Donovan Ruddock) against undefeated champion Vitali Klitschko in Berlin, Germany (Klitschko's adopted home country) for the WBO Heavyweight Title. He therefore had only seven days to prepare for the fight (not the customary 6–12 weeks). Byrd struggled greatly in the fight, trailing after nine rounds by scores of 88–83 (on two cards) and 89–82 (on one card), i.e. losing seven or eight of those rounds. However, Klitschko severely injured his shoulder and was unable to continue after the ninth round. The injury that Klitschko suffered was a torn shoulder rotator cuff, which required major surgery and a 7-month lay-off. Despite trailing on all three of the judges' scorecards, Byrd walked away the winner by a technical knockout due to the injury to Klitschko.

Six months later, Byrd was back in Germany to defend the title against Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali's younger, more agile brother. Twelve rounds later, Byrd had lost a lopsided unanimous decision and the WBO belt after being knocked down twice.

2001–2002: comeback victories, second world title[edit]

Byrd returned to the U.S., signed with Don King and beat Maurice Harris to win the United States Boxing Association heavyweight belt in Madison Square Garden. He was now a top-five contender for the IBF title. After winning his next match (a title defense against New Zealand's top contender David Tua) Byrd eventually received his mandatory shot at the vacant IBF world Heavyweight Championship against Evander Holyfield in Atlantic City. On December 14, 2002, Byrd won a unanimous decision and the IBF title.

2003–2005: four successful title defenses[edit]

Byrd has successfully defended the IBF belt against: Fres Oquendo in 2003, a highly entertaining draw with "Andrew" Golota and a decision win over friend Jameel McCline in 2004, and DaVarryl Williamson in 2005. Byrd's fight with Golota did 75,000 buys on pay-per-view.[2]

2006: Klitschko rematch[edit]

On April 22, 2006, Byrd faced Wladimir Klitschko for the second time. Byrd was making his fifth defense of his IBF title and the fight was also sanctioned by the International Boxing Organization for its title, which had been vacated upon the retirement of Lennox Lewis. The fight took place at SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany. Byrd was heavily dominated throughout the fight, was down in the fifth, and again in the seventh. Referee Wayne Kelly stopped the fight after the second knockdown when Byrd had an open cut near his eyes. Klitschko won in a TKO

2007–2010: Povetkin bout, move to light heavyweight, and retirement[edit]

After losing to Alexander Povetkin, Byrd would drop about 40 pounds to return to the light heavyweight division. He fought Shaun George on May 16, 2008, at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Byrd was dropped by George in round one and rocked again in round two. George then hammered Byrd with his right hand at will, finally flooring Byrd twice in the ninth round. Byrd beat the count after the first knockdown, but was then battered down again and the bout was waved off by the referee.[3]

In 2010, Byrd officially announced his retirement from boxing.[4]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
47 fights 41 wins 5 losses
By knockout 22 4
By decision 19 1
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
47 Win 41–5–1 Germany Matthias Sandow TKO 4 (8), 1:30 Mar 21, 2009 Germany Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, Stuttgart, Germany
46 Loss 40–5–1 United States Shaun George TKO 9 (10), 2:42 May 16, 2008 United States Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
45 Loss 40–4–1 Russia Alexander Povetkin TKO 11 (12), 1:52 Oct 27, 2007 Germany Messe, Erfurt, Germany
44 Win 40–3–1 United States Paul Marinaccio RTD 7 (10), 0:01 Apr 18, 2007 The Bahamas Clifford Park, Nassau, Bahamas
43 Loss 39–3–1 Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko TKO 7 (12), 0:41 Apr 22, 2006 Germany SAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany Lost IBF heavyweight title;
For vacant IBO heavyweight title
42 Win 39–2–1 United States DaVarryl Williamson UD 12 Oct 1, 2005 United States Events Center, Reno, Nevada, U.S. Retained IBF heavyweight title
41 Win 38–2–1 United States Jameel McCline SD 12 Nov 13, 2004 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained IBF heavyweight title
40 Draw 37–2–1 Poland Andrew Golota SD 12 Apr 17, 2004 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained IBF heavyweight title
39 Win 37–2 United States Fres Oquendo UD 12 Sep 20, 2003 United States Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, U.S. Retained IBF heavyweight title
38 Win 36–2 United States Evander Holyfield UD 12 Dec 14, 2002 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Won vacant IBF heavyweight title
37 Win 35–2 United States Jeff Pegues TKO 3 (10), 2:43 Jun 8, 2002 United States Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, U.S.
36 Win 34–2 New Zealand David Tua UD 12 Aug 18, 2001 United States Cox Pavilion, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained USBA heavyweight title
35 Win 33–2 United States Maurice Harris UD 12 May 12, 2001 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Won vacant USBA heavyweight title
34 Win 32–2 United States David Vedder UD 10 Jan 19, 2001 United States Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, U.S.
33 Loss 31–2 Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko UD 12 Oct 14, 2000 Germany Kölnarena, Cologne, Germany Lost WBO heavyweight title
32 Win 31–1 Ukraine Vitali Klitschko RTD 9 (12), 3:00 Apr 1, 2000 Germany Estrel Hotel, Berlin, Germany Won WBO heavyweight title
31 Win 30–1 United States David Washington TKO 10 (10) Jan 19, 2000 United States Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, U.S.
30 Win 29–1 United States Val Smith KO 2 (10), 2:39 Oct 22, 1999 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
29 Win 28–1 Cuba Jose Ribalta RTD 3 (10), 3:00 Jun 3, 1999 United States Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, U.S.
28 Win 27–1 United States John Sargent TKO 2 (10), 2:03 May 8, 1999 United States Silver Star Casino, Philadelphia, Mississippi, U.S.
27 Loss 26–1 Nigeria Ike Ibeabuchi TKO 5 (10), 2:59 Mar 20, 1999 United States Emerald Queen Casino, Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
26 Win 26–0 United States Ross Puritty UD 10 Jul 14, 1998 United States Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S.
25 Win 25–0 Cuba Eliecer Castillo UD 10 May 30, 1998 United States Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
24 Win 24–0 United States Derek Amos TKO 6 (10) Mar 28, 1998 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
23 Win 23–0 New Zealand Jimmy Thunder TKO 9 (10), 1:07 Dec 13, 1997 United States Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.
22 Win 22–0 United States Frankie Swindell UD 10 Jun 20, 1997 United States Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
21 Win 21–0 United States Bert Cooper UD 10 Mar 18, 1997 United States IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S.
20 Win 20–0 Australia Craig Petersen TKO 6 (10), 2:22 Jan 28, 1997 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
19 Win 19–0 United States Levi Billups UD 10 Oct 8, 1996 United States IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S.
18 Win 18–0 Jamaica Uriah Grant UD 10 Aug 6, 1996 United States IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S.
17 Win 17–0 Austria Biko Botowamungu UD 10 May 17, 1996 United States Stock Arena, Monroe, Michigan, U.S.
16 Win 16–0 United States Lionel Butler TKO 8 (10), 0:57 Apr 23, 1996 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
15 Win 15–0 United States Jeff Wooden UD 10 Jan 30, 1996 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
14 Win 14–0 United States Phil Jackson UD 12 Nov 21, 1996 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
13 Win 13–0 United States Nathaniel Fitch KO 7 (10) Oct 3, 1995 United States IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S.
12 Win 12–0 United States Tim Puller TKO 5 (10), 2:55 Jul 18, 1995 United States IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S.
11 Win 11–0 United States Arthur Williams SD 10 May 23, 1995 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 United States Joel Humm RTD 4 (8) Apr 26, 1995 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 United States Mike Rouse TKO 6 (12), 1:56 Mar 28, 1995 United States IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 United States Frankie Hines TKO 2, 0:59 Jan 1, 1995 United States Virginia Beach, Virginia, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 United States Ron Gullette TKO 5 Nov 1, 1994 United States Flint, Michigan, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States Waxxen Fikes TKO 4 (8), 2:49 Oct 4, 1994 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States Max Key KO 1 Aug 30, 1994 United States Flint, Michigan, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 United States Gerard O'Neal TKO 2 (6) Jun 7, 1994 United States Flint, Michigan, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Exum Speight UD 6 Mar 22, 1994 United States Flint, Michigan, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 United States Mike Sullivan TKO 1 May 15, 1993 United States Flint, Michigan, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States Gary Smith UD 6 Jan 28, 1993 United States IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S. Professional debut

Television viewership[edit]


Date Fight Viewership (avg.) Network Source(s)
1 April 2000
Vitali Klitschko vs. Chris Byrd
Sat.1 [5]
14 October 2000
Chris Byrd vs. Wladimir Klitschko
Sat.1 [6]
24 April 2006
Chris Byrd vs. Wladimir Klitschko II
Das Erste [7]
27 October 2007
Chris Byrd vs. Alexander Povetkin
Das Erste [8]
Total viewership 33,920,000

US pay-per-view bouts[edit]

Date Fight Pay-per-view buys Network Source(s)
17 April 2004 Chris Byrd vs. Andrew Golota
Spike TV/King Vision [9][10]
11 December 2004 Chris Byrd vs. Jameel McCline
HBO PPV [11][12][13]
Total sales 195,000

Outside of the ring[edit]

Byrd hosts a weekly video podcast, entitled "Byrd's Eye View", which showcases former boxers as well as current professional and champion-level fighters.[14]

Additional information[edit]

  • Byrd's hometown is Flint, Michigan, where he trained along with his brother Patrick Byrd and sister Tracy Byrd. Byrd's other sister, Laurie Byrd, is a professional basketball coach. Byrd is also a first cousin of Lamon Brewster, himself a former world heavyweight champion and two-time Klitschko opponent.
  • Byrd's corner consisted entirely of family members
  • Byrd made an appearance in the 2008 documentary Beyond the Ropes.[15]
  • Byrd also makes an appearance in the 2011 documentary Klitschko, in which he discusses his trio of title bouts with the brothers.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BoxRec's Annual Ratings: Heavyweight Annuals". BoxRec. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  2. ^
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Chris Byrd: Nobody beats Wladimir Klitschko right now". Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  5. ^ 9,79 Millionen sahen WM-Kampf von Vitali Klitschko: Beste SAT.1-Quote seit fast zwei Jahren (ger.)
  6. ^ Wladimir Klitschko is the new world champion (German)
  7. ^ More than 10 million viewers saw Klitschko fight (German)
  8. ^ Das Ertse and RTL show strong numbers (ger.)
  9. ^ Where are the new heavyweights? By Dan Rafael, USA TODAY
  10. ^ 2004-04-17 Chris Byrd vs Andrew Golota - IBF World Heavyweight Title
  11. ^ Chris Byrd vs Jameel Mccline HBO Pay Per View November 13, 2004
  12. ^ Where are the new heavyweights? By Dan Rafael, USA TODAY
  13. ^ King throws weight behind Golota revival
  14. ^ "Chris Byrd". YouTube. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Beyond the Ropes (Video 2008)". IMDb. 14 October 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  16. ^ Munch MaQuchi (21 October 2011). "Klitschko (2011)". IMDb. Retrieved 26 February 2015.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Amateur boxing titles
Frankie Liles
U.S. light middleweight champion
Paul Vaden
Michael DeMoss
U.S. middleweight champion
1991, 1992
Eric Wright
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
David Tua
USBA heavyweight champion
May 12, 2001 – December 14, 2002
Won world title
Title next held by
Tye Fields
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Vitali Klitschko
WBO heavyweight champion
April 1, 2000October 14, 2000
Succeeded by
Wladimir Klitschko
Title last held by
Lennox Lewis
IBF heavyweight champion
December 14, 2002April 22, 2006
Succeeded by
Wladimir Klitschko