Julius Francis

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Julius Francis
Weight(s) Heavyweight
Nationality British
Born (1964-12-08) 8 December 1964 (age 53)
Peckham, London, England, UK
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 48
Wins 23
Wins by KO 12
Losses 24
Draws 1
No contests 0

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.

Boxing career[edit]

Early career[edit]

After a troubled youth that saw him spend several spells in prison,[1][2] 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".[citation needed]

Experienced pro[edit]

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).[3] Francis used all his smarts to widely outpoint the "Brixton Bomber".[4] 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).[1][5][6] 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.[3][5][7] 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.

Downward slide[edit]

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[edit]

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.[1][4] 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.[4]

Other activities[edit]

In 2012, Francis starred in the stage play Ring Envy, a modern version of Shakespeare's Othello in London, his performance earning praise from the likes of Sylvia Sims.[1]

Professional boxing record[edit]

23 Wins (12 knockouts, 11 decisions), 24 Losses (8 knockouts, 16 decisions), 1 Draws
Res. Record Opponent Type Rd. Date Location Notes
Lose 23–24-1 England Scott Lansdowne PTS 4 (4) 21 May 2006 England York Hall, Bethnal Green, London Referee: Robert Williams 37-39
Lose 23–23-1 Wales Scott Gammer PTS 8 (8) 30 September 2005 Wales Showground, Carmarthen Referee: Mike Heatherwick 72-80
Lose 23–22-1 Republic of Ireland Colin Kenna PTS 4 (4) 26 June 2005 England Guildhall, Southampton Referee: Marcus McDonnell 38-39
Lose 23–21-1 England Micky Steeds PTS 8 (8) 24 April 2005 England Equinox Nightclub, Leicester Square, London Referee: Ian John-Lewis 75-77
Lose 23–20-1 Israel Roman Greenberg PTS 10 (10) 10 December 2004 England Hillsborough Leisure Centre, Sheffield Referee: Phil Edwards 90-100
Lose 23–19-1 Ukraine Taras Bydenko UD 10 (10) 21 September 2004 Germany Universum Gym, Wandsbek, Hamburg Scores: 90-100, 91-99 and 91-99
Lose 23–18-1 Germany Alexander Dimitrenko UD 8 (8) 31 July 2004 Germany Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, Stuttgart Scores: 72-80, 72-80 and 72-80
Lose 23–17-1 England Audley Harrison UD 12 (12) 8 May 2004 England 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 England Matt Skelton PTS 10 (10) 7 February 2004 England York Hall, Bethnal Green, London Referee: Richard James Davies 92-98. BBBofC English heavyweight title
Lose 23–15-1 Russia Oleg Maskaev TKO 2 (10) 27 November 2003 Russia Olimpyskiy Sports Palace, Chekhov
Lose 23–14-1 Germany Luan Krasniqi UD 8 (8) 18 October 2003 Germany Color Line Arena, Altona, Hamburg
Lose 23–13-1 Ukraine Volodymyr Vyrchys UD 12 (12) 6 September 2003 Ukraine Sport Palace, Kiev Scores: 110-118, 108-120 & 110-118
Lose 23–12-1 Denmark Steffen Nielsen UD 10 (10) 13 June 2003 Denmark Aalborg Hallen, Aalborg Scores: 92-97, 93-96, & 94-96. EBU (European) heavyweight title
Lose 23–11-1 Turkey Sinan Samil Sam TKO 7 (12) 26 April 2003 Germany Sport and Congress Center, Schwerin EBU (European) heavyweight title
Win 23–10-1 Denmark Steffen Nielsen KO 6 (8) 13 September 2002 Denmark Randers Hallen, Randers
Draw 22–10-1 England Luke Simpkin PTS 6 (6) 10 May 2002 England Britannia Hotel, Millwall, London Referee: Larry O'Connell 58-58
Lose 22–10 England Danny Williams TKO 4 (12) 28 July 2001 EnglandConference Centre, Wembley, London BBBofC British heavyweight title and Commonwealth (British Empire) heavyweight title
Win 22–9 England Michael Holden PTS 12 (12) 30 April 2001 England York Hall, Bethnal Green, London Referee: John Keane 116-112. Won vacant WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title. British heavyweight title eliminator.
Lose 21–9 England Michael Holden PTS 12 (12) 13 March 2000 England York Hall, Bethnal Green, London Referee: Mickey Vann 113-116. Lost BBBofC British heavyweight title
Lose 21–8 United States Mike Tyson KO 2 (10) 29 January 2000 England M.E.N. Arena, Manchester Francis down twice in the 1st and three times in the 2nd.
Win 21–7 England Scott Welch PTS 12 (12) 26 June 1999 England 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 England Danny Williams PTS 12 (12) 3 April 1999 England 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 England Pele Reid TKO 3 (12), 2:28 30 January 1999 England York Hall, Bethnal Green, London Retained BBBofC British heavyweight title and Commonwealth (British Empire) heavyweight title
Lose 18–7 Ukraine Vitali Klitschko TKO 2 (12) 18 April 1998 Germany Eurogress, Aachen
Lose 18–6 Germany Axel Schulz UD 12 (12) 28 February 1998 GermanyArena Westfalenhalle, Dortmund Scores: 112-118, 109-120 & 111-118. Eliminator for European (EBU) Heavyweight Title
Win 18–5 England Garry Delaney TKO 6 (12), 2:31 27 September 1997 Northern Ireland Ulster Hall, Belfast Won vacant BBBofC British heavyweight title. Retained Commonwealth (British Empire) heavyweight title
Win 17–5 Zambia Joseph Chingangu PTS 12 (12) 30 June 1997 England York Hall, Bethnal Green, London Referee: John Coyle 118½-116. Won vacant Commonwealth (British Empire) heavyweight title
Lose 16–5 Croatia Željko Mavrović TKO 8 (12) 15 February 1997 Austria Kurhalle Oberlaa, Vienna EBU (European) heavyweight title
Win 16–4 Nigeria James Oyebola TKO 5 (10) 28 September 1996 England London Retained BBBofC Southern Area heavyweight title
Win 15–4 England Michael Holden PTS 10 (10) 9 July 1996 England York Hall, Bethnal Green, London
Win 14–4 Wales Darren Fearn PTS 8 (8) 7 May 1996 England Marriott Hotel, Mayfair, London Referee: Tony Walker 80-76
Win 13–4 England Damien Caesar KO 1 (10) 9 April 1996 England Leisure Centre, Stevenage, Hertfordshire Won vacant BBBofC Southern Area heavyweight title
Lose 12–4 England Michael Murray PTS 10 (10) 5 February 1996 England Crook Log Sports Club, Bexleyheath, London Referee: Roy Francis 98-98½ .
Lose 12–3 Kazakhstan Nikolay Kulpin PTS 10 (10) 30 November 1995 Russia Circus, Saratov
Win 12–2 England Neil Kirkwood TKO 7 (10) 24 October 1995 England Elephant & Castle Centre, Southwark, London
Lose 11–2 England Scott Welch KO 10 (10), 2:26 1 July 1995 England Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London Lost BBBofC Southern Area heavyweight title.
Win 11–1 England Steve Garber PTS 8 (8) 25 May 1995 England Rivermead Leisure Centre, Reading, Berkshire
Win 10–1 England Keith Fletcher PTS 10 (10) 27 April 1995 England York Hall, Bethnal Green, London Retained BBBofC Southern Area heavyweight title.
Win 9–1 England Damien Caesar TKO 8 (10) 23 February 1995 England Elephant & Castle Centre, Southwark, London Won vacant BBBofC Southern Area heavyweight title.
Win 8–1 England Gary Charlton TKO 1 (6) 23 November 1994 England Cafe Royal, Piccadilly, London
Win 7–1 Republic of Ireland Conroy Nelson TKO 4 (8) 12 November 1994 Republic of Ireland The Point, Dublin
Lose 6–1 United States John Ruiz KO 4 (8), 2:38 25 May 1994 England Colston Hall, Bristol
Win 6–0 England Manny Burgo PTS 4 (4) 27 April 1994 England York Hall, Bethnal Green, London
Win 5–0 England John Keeton PTS 4 (4) 1 December 1993 England York Hall, Bethnal Green, London
Win 4–0 United States Don Sargent TKO 2 (4) 28 August 1993 United States Civic Center, Bismarck, North Dakota
Win 3–0 United States Andre Tisdale PTS 4 (4) 24 July 1993 United States Showboat Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 2–0 England Joey Paladino KO 4 (4) 23 June 1993 England Edmonton, London
Win 1–0 England Graham Arnold TKO 5 (6), 0:28 23 May 1993 England Crofton Leisure Centre, Brockley, London Professional debut.

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 0-1 Gary Turner Submission (Punches) Cage Rage 23 22 September 2007 2 2:17 Wembley, London


  1. ^ a b c d Hubbard, Alan (2012) "Boxing: From sole man to star turn in Othello", The Independent, 4 November 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2016
  2. ^ Smith, Timothy W. (2000) "BOXING; Francis Gets His 10 Rounds of Fame", The New York Times, 27 January 2000. Retrieved 7 August 2016
  3. ^ a b "British boxing's broken belt", BBC Sport, 26 July 2001. Retrieved 7 August 2016
  4. ^ a b c 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
  5. ^ a b "On This Day: Mike Tyson demolished British champion Julius Francis", Boxing News, 29 January 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2016
  6. ^ "Tyson wastes little time", BBC, 30 January 2000. Retrieved 7 August 2016
  7. ^ 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

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