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8 December 1964|
Peckham, London, England, UK
|Wins by KO||12|
Julius Francis (born 8 December 1964) is a former British heavyweight champion boxer who participated in many noteworthy boxing matches in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2007, he also participated in a mixed martial arts bout.
After a troubled youth that saw him spend several spells in prison, Francis turned pro in 1993 at the late age of 28 with a five-round knockout of Graham Arnold. He put together six wins (3 by knockout), including two in the US, before being matched, somewhat prematurely, with future world heavyweight champion John Ruiz. Francis was stopped in 4 rounds by body shots.
In 1995 Francis won Southern Area title fights against Damien Caesar and Keith Fletcher. However, he squandered a big opportunity in an eliminator, when far ahead on points after nine rounds, hard hitting Scott Welch came from behind to drop him three times and stop him in 10. After this fight, Welch would go on to win the British title and challenge for a world title, while Francis was dropped by his team and relegated to journeyman status.
Later in 1995, he took a fight in Russia and was outpointed by local Nikolai Kulpin and, in London, lost a debatable decision by half a point to veteran Michael Murray.
Francis showed marked improvement in 1996, knocking out ex-victim Caesar in the first round to regain his Southern Area title, outpointing Michael Holden, and scoring the biggest win of his career to date as he took on hard hitting "Big Bad" James Oyebola and destroyed the giant Nigerian in 5 one sided rounds.
The big win over Oyebola got Francis a February 1997 shot at Zeljko Mavrovic for his European title, on the champion's home turf of Austria. Francis "stole" Mavrovic's bizarre mohawk haircut for the fight and even dyed it blonde. In the fight itself, Francis strangely took a knee from body shots in the 8th and watched the ref wave the fight off. Mavrovic would go on to lose on points to Lennox Lewis in a World title challenge, a fight that Lewis would say in 2006 was "the hardest of my career".
In June, Francis was back, outpointing the hard hitting Zambian Joseph Chingangu in London for the Commonwealth title, and in September retained his Commonwealth title and won the vacant British title with a 6th-round knockout of Garry Delaney in Northern Ireland.
His manager Frank Maloney was unsuccessful in attempting to move Francis up in 1998, as he was outpointed in Germany by local icon Axel Schulz in a European title eliminator, and a second visit to German shores saw him decked three times and stopped in the second round by giant Ukrainian Vitali Klitschko. Klitschko would go on to win the World Heavyweight title.
In 1999, Francis was back and enjoyed the best form of his career. In January, he defended his British and Commonwealth titles against the flamboyant, hard hitting and highly rated prospect Pele Reid, who was 13-0 (13 knockouts) and favoured to beat Francis. Francis took Reid apart in 3 one-sided rounds.
In April, he was again the underdog as he defended against another highly rated prospect, this time Frank Warren's undefeated Danny Williams, who was 15-0 (12 knockouts). Francis used all his smarts to widely outpoint the "Brixton Bomber". This win gave Francis the coveted Lonsdale Belt outright as he had now won three British title fights.
In June, he enjoyed the sweetest victory of his career as he outpointed former conqueror Scott Welch who was 22-3 (17 knockouts). He would vacate his Commonwealth title later in the year to set up the biggest fight of his career. At the age of 35, Francis got a shot at visiting iconic ex-champ Mike Tyson, in Manchester in January 2000. Francis was decked five times and lost in two rounds, although enjoyed the biggest payday of his career (around £350,000). The certainty of his defeat can be gauged by the fact that The Mirror, a national newspaper in the UK, had paid £20,000 for an advert on the soles of Francis's shoes. Less than two months later, a disinterested Francis was back in the ring and lost his British title on a close decision to Michael Holden, whom he had already beaten. Holden would later vacate the title due to injury.
In 2001, Francis returned to complete his trilogy with Holden, outpointing him over 12 rounds, and setting up a July rematch with Danny Williams, who was now #1 in the UK, world rated, and held the British and Commonwealth titles. Francis failed to repeat his earlier win, losing in the 4th round due to a swollen eye.
He would resurface in September 2002 in Denmark, scoring an upset over undefeated Steffen Nielsen, who he knocked out in 6. This earned him a European title shot in Germany against the Turk Sinan Samil Sam, who had just crushed Danny Williams in 6 rounds. Francis appeared to make little effort, quitting in the 7th round from body shots.
In early 2009, he began a new career with Fightfit Training a (UK based fitness training company) as a Personal trainer/Boxing coach teaching city professionals the art of Boxing.
Francis was now 38 years old and with a respectable record of 23-10-1 (12 knockouts).
He would mix in with high class company in the UK, Germany, Russia, and other locations, but he would not win another fight. The most notable fights were a November 2003 second-round KO loss to future champ Oleg Maskaev (26-5), a February 2004 decision loss to fast rising Matt Skelton (11-0), and a May 2004 decision loss to Olympic Champion Audley Harrison (15-0).
Francis appeared to have reached the end of the road in May 2006, when he was outpointed over 4 rounds by unknown Scott Lansdowne. He was 41 years old and weighed well over 19 stone. Having lost 14 fights in a row, his record now stood at 23-24-1 (12 knockouts).
Overall, Francis has won four British Heavyweight title fights and five Commonwealth title fights, as well as two challenges for the European title and he has fought four former or future World champions, besides owning his very own much heralded Lonsdale belt.
Mixed Martial Arts career
In the summer of 2007, Francis announced that at Cage Rage 23: Unbelievable on 22 September 2007 he would be making his mixed martial arts debut against Gary Turner. Francis stated that he expected the move to mixed martial arts to be comfortable for him as he was already a good kickboxer before he took up boxing. His opponent Gary Turner was previously beaten by Matt Skelton, one of Francis's own conquerors, in a K-1 tournament in 2000.
Francis lost his MMA bout against Turner by submission (Strikes) at 2:15 in Round 2.
Professional boxing record
|23 Wins (12 knockouts, 11 decisions), 24 Losses (8 knockouts, 16 decisions), 1 Draws|
|Lose||23–24-1||Scott Lansdowne||PTS||4 (4)||21 May 2006||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London||Referee: Robert Williams 37-39|
|Lose||23–23-1||Scott Gammer||PTS||8 (8)||30 September 2005||Showground, Carmarthen||Referee: Mike Heatherwick 72-80|
|Lose||23–22-1||Colin Kenna||PTS||4 (4)||26 June 2005||Guildhall, Southampton||Referee: Marcus McDonnell 38-39|
|Lose||23–21-1||Micky Steeds||PTS||8 (8)||24 April 2005||Equinox Nightclub, Leicester Square, London||Referee: Ian John-Lewis 75-77|
|Lose||23–20-1||Roman Greenberg||PTS||10 (10)||10 December 2004||Hillsborough Leisure Centre, Sheffield||Referee: Phil Edwards 90-100|
|Lose||23–19-1||Taras Bydenko||UD||10 (10)||21 September 2004||Universum Gym, Wandsbek, Hamburg||Scores: 90-100, 91-99 and 91-99|
|Lose||23–18-1||Alexander Dimitrenko||UD||8 (8)||31 July 2004||Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, Stuttgart||Scores: 72-80, 72-80 and 72-80|
|Lose||23–17-1||Audley Harrison||UD||12 (12)||8 May 2004||Whitchurch Leisure Centre, Bristol||Scores: 109-119, 108-119 and 109-119. Francis (a late replacement for the injured Nikolai Popov) was knocked down in the 12th round. World Boxing Foundation heavyweight title|
|Lose||23–16-1||Matt Skelton||PTS||10 (10)||7 February 2004||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London||Referee: Richard James Davies 92-98. BBBofC English heavyweight title|
|Lose||23–15-1||Oleg Maskaev||TKO||2 (10)||27 November 2003||Olimpyskiy Sports Palace, Chekhov|
|Lose||23–14-1||Luan Krasniqi||UD||8 (8)||18 October 2003||Color Line Arena, Altona, Hamburg|
|Lose||23–13-1||Volodymyr Vyrchys||UD||12 (12)||6 September 2003||Sport Palace, Kiev||Scores: 110-118, 108-120 & 110-118|
|Lose||23–12-1||Steffen Nielsen||UD||10 (10)||13 June 2003||Aalborg Hallen, Aalborg||Scores: 92-97, 93-96, & 94-96. EBU (European) heavyweight title|
|Lose||23–11-1||Sinan Samil Sam||TKO||7 (12)||26 April 2003||Sport and Congress Center, Schwerin||EBU (European) heavyweight title|
|Win||23–10-1||Steffen Nielsen||KO||6 (8)||13 September 2002||Randers Hallen, Randers|
|Draw||22–10-1||Luke Simpkin||PTS||6 (6)||10 May 2002||Britannia Hotel, Millwall, London||Referee: Larry O'Connell 58-58|
|Lose||22–10||Danny Williams||TKO||4 (12)||28 July 2001||Conference Centre, Wembley, London||BBBofC British heavyweight title and Commonwealth (British Empire) heavyweight title|
|Win||22–9||Michael Holden||PTS||12 (12)||30 April 2001||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London||Referee: John Keane 116-112. Won vacant WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title. British heavyweight title eliminator.|
|Lose||21–9||Michael Holden||PTS||12 (12)||13 March 2000||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London||Referee: Mickey Vann 113-116. Lost BBBofC British heavyweight title|
|Lose||21–8||Mike Tyson||KO||2 (10)||29 January 2000||M.E.N. Arena, Manchester||Francis down twice in the 1st and three times in the 2nd.|
|Win||21–7||Scott Welch||PTS||12 (12)||26 June 1999||New London Arena, Millwall, London||Referee: Richard James Davies 115-113 . Retained BBBofC British heavyweight title and Commonwealth (British Empire) heavyweight title|
|Win||20–7||Danny Williams||PTS||12 (12)||3 April 1999||Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London||Referee: Larry O'Connell 118-114. Retained BBBofC British heavyweight title and Commonwealth (British Empire) heavyweight title|
|Win||19–7||Pele Reid||TKO||3 (12), 2:28||30 January 1999||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London||Retained BBBofC British heavyweight title and Commonwealth (British Empire) heavyweight title|
|Lose||18–7||Vitali Klitschko||TKO||2 (12)||18 April 1998||Eurogress, Aachen|
|Lose||18–6||Axel Schulz||UD||12 (12)||28 February 1998||Arena Westfalenhalle, Dortmund||Scores: 112-118, 109-120 & 111-118. Eliminator for European (EBU) Heavyweight Title|
|Win||18–5||Garry Delaney||TKO||6 (12), 2:31||27 September 1997||Ulster Hall, Belfast||Won vacant BBBofC British heavyweight title. Retained Commonwealth (British Empire) heavyweight title|
|Win||17–5||Joseph Chingangu||PTS||12 (12)||30 June 1997||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London||Referee: John Coyle 118½-116. Won vacant Commonwealth (British Empire) heavyweight title|
|Lose||16–5||Željko Mavrović||TKO||8 (12)||15 February 1997||Kurhalle Oberlaa, Vienna||EBU (European) heavyweight title|
|Win||16–4||James Oyebola||TKO||5 (10)||28 September 1996||London||Retained BBBofC Southern Area heavyweight title|
|Win||15–4||Michael Holden||PTS||10 (10)||9 July 1996||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London|
|Win||14–4||Darren Fearn||PTS||8 (8)||7 May 1996||Marriott Hotel, Mayfair, London||Referee: Tony Walker 80-76|
|Win||13–4||Damien Caesar||KO||1 (10)||9 April 1996||Leisure Centre, Stevenage, Hertfordshire||Won vacant BBBofC Southern Area heavyweight title|
|Lose||12–4||Michael Murray||PTS||10 (10)||5 February 1996||Crook Log Sports Club, Bexleyheath, London||Referee: Roy Francis 98-98½ .|
|Lose||12–3||Nikolay Kulpin||PTS||10 (10)||30 November 1995||Circus, Saratov|
|Win||12–2||Neil Kirkwood||TKO||7 (10)||24 October 1995||Elephant & Castle Centre, Southwark, London|
|Lose||11–2||Scott Welch||KO||10 (10), 2:26||1 July 1995||Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London||Lost BBBofC Southern Area heavyweight title.|
|Win||11–1||Steve Garber||PTS||8 (8)||25 May 1995||Rivermead Leisure Centre, Reading, Berkshire|
|Win||10–1||Keith Fletcher||PTS||10 (10)||27 April 1995||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London||Retained BBBofC Southern Area heavyweight title.|
|Win||9–1||Damien Caesar||TKO||8 (10)||23 February 1995||Elephant & Castle Centre, Southwark, London||Won vacant BBBofC Southern Area heavyweight title.|
|Win||8–1||Gary Charlton||TKO||1 (6)||23 November 1994||Cafe Royal, Piccadilly, London|
|Win||7–1||Conroy Nelson||TKO||4 (8)||12 November 1994||The Point, Dublin|
|Lose||6–1||John Ruiz||KO||4 (8), 2:38||25 May 1994||Colston Hall, Bristol|
|Win||6–0||Manny Burgo||PTS||4 (4)||27 April 1994||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London|
|Win||5–0||John Keeton||PTS||4 (4)||1 December 1993||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London|
|Win||4–0||Don Sargent||TKO||2 (4)||28 August 1993||Civic Center, Bismarck, North Dakota|
|Win||3–0||Andre Tisdale||PTS||4 (4)||24 July 1993||Showboat Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Win||2–0||Joey Paladino||KO||4 (4)||23 June 1993||Edmonton, London|
|Win||1–0||Graham Arnold||TKO||5 (6), 0:28||23 May 1993||Crofton Leisure Centre, Brockley, London||Professional debut.|
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|1 match||0 wins||1 loss|
|Loss||0-1||Gary Turner||Submission (Punches)||Cage Rage 23||22 September 2007||2||2:17||Wembley, London|
- Hubbard, Alan (2012) "Boxing: From sole man to star turn in Othello", The Independent, 4 November 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2016
- Smith, Timothy W. (2000) "BOXING; Francis Gets His 10 Rounds of Fame", The New York Times, 27 January 2000. Retrieved 7 August 2016
- "British boxing's broken belt", BBC Sport, 26 July 2001. Retrieved 7 August 2016
- Heath, Adam T. & Hudson, David L. (2012) Mixed Martial Arts' Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Crazy Combat, Great Grappling, and Sick Submissions, Potomac Books Inc., ISBN 978-1597975490
- "On This Day: Mike Tyson demolished British champion Julius Francis", Boxing News, 29 January 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2016
- "Tyson wastes little time", BBC, 30 January 2000. Retrieved 7 August 2016
- Davies, Gareth A. (2012) "Dereck Chisora: I snubbed £70,000 offer from boot sponsor for heavyweight title fight against Vitali Klitschko", Daily Telegraph, 16 February 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2016