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Oliver McCall

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Oliver McCall
McCall in 2013
Born (1965-04-21) April 21, 1965 (age 59)
Other namesThe Atomic Bull
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Reach82 in (208 cm)
Boxing record
Total fights75
Wins by KO38
No contests2

Oliver McCall (born April 21, 1965) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2019. A veteran of the sport for over three decades, he is best known for winning the WBC heavyweight title in 1994 by scoring an upset knockout victory over Lennox Lewis. The next year he defended the title against Larry Holmes before losing it to Frank Bruno. McCall is known for an in-ring mental breakdown during his 1997 rematch with Lewis. McCall's son, Elijah, is also a heavyweight professional boxer. McCall is known for never being knocked down in his 74-bout professional career and possessed one of the most durable chins of his time.

Early life[edit]

Born in Chicago, McCall moved to live with his mother in Racine, Wisconsin and attended William Horlick High School, before transferring to Washington Park High School. McCall was also a talented high school basketball player. In 1981, however, McCall moved back to Chicago where he pursued boxing and won two Chicago Golden Gloves titles.[1]

Amateur career[edit]

At the amateur ranks McCall competed in super heavyweight division (+201 lbs.)


National Golden Gloves (super heavyweight), Statehouse Convention Center, Little Rock, Arkansas, March 1985:

  • 1/16: Lost to Tevin George by decision

Chicago Championships (heavyweight), Clarendon Park, Chicago, Illinois, April 1985:

  • 1/2: Defeated Roderick Wilbur by decision
  • Finals: (no data available)

1st place, gold medalist(s) 5th Sarge Johnson Memorial Boxing Tournament (super heavyweight), Convention Center, Indianapolis, Indiana, July 1985:

  • Defeated Larry Thomas RSC 1 (0:57)

Professional career[edit]

Known as "The Atomic Bull", McCall turned pro in 1985 and slowly worked his way up the heavyweight ranks. His trainer at that time was the retired champion Joe Frazier. Oliver had a bit of trouble, losing his second bout and losing to Mike Hunter and Buster Douglas in 1988 and 1989 respectively. His eighth opponent was Al Evans, who scored a TKO victory over Mike Tyson in 1981, when Tyson was a 15 year old just beginning his amateur career. McCall won by a unanimous decision.[2] Oliver beat Jesse Ferguson and future heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon. In 1992 Oliver lost a very close decision to Tony Tucker before landing the shot against Lewis in 1994.[3]

Lewis vs McCall[edit]

After a close first round McCall came out aggressively in the second and landed his signature counter right hand as Lewis moved forward. Lewis dropped to the canvas and got up before the count of ten, but he was unsteady on his feet, forcing the referee to wave a stop to the fight. In spite of the Lewis camp protests, Boxing Monthly editor Glyn Leach pointed out that Lewis "only seemed to recover his senses once the fight was waved off," and that "in the opinions of everyone I spoke to at ringside, the decision was correct."[4]

McCall's win over Lewis marked Don King's return to power in the heavyweight division, since none of his stable of fighters had been able to win the heavyweight title since Mike Tyson lost it in 1990 (McCall worked as a sparring partner with Tyson and Cooper, and claimed Cooper is the harder puncher.[5]) He successfully defended the title in a bout against 45-year-old ex-champ Larry Holmes in Las Vegas winning 114–113, 115–114, and 115–112 on the score cards, before returning to London to face Frank Bruno in 1995.[citation needed]

During a press conference before the fight McCall claimed he was going to get revenge for America after Gerald McClellan had been rendered brain damaged after a fight with Nigel Benn a few months earlier. He had claimed that he was going to hurt Bruno and that the only thing Bruno would be able to do was throw illegal rabbit punches.[citation needed]

The fight took place at the old Wembley stadium. Bruno started off well, working behind the jab and landing some big right hands. McCall seemed uninterested in fighting and lagged far behind on the score cards going into the latter rounds. By round 9 Bruno had built up a big lead on the score cards and looked comfortably in charge.[citation needed] McCall finally sparked into life in round 10 perhaps realizing that he was behind on the score cards. McCall landed several big punches over the final 3 rounds and had Bruno in trouble several times but Bruno managed to hold on and win the title by a unanimous decision.[citation needed]

This gave McCall the distinction of becoming the first Heavyweight champion in history to both win and lose the title to a British fighter, and also the first American Heavyweight champion to have both won and lost the title in Britain (and Europe).[citation needed]

McCall returned to the ring 6 months after losing his title when he beat future WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev in less than 3 minutes. By that time his trainers were Greg Page and George Benton. A month later after defeating Maskaev, McCall beat James Stanton in 6 rounds.[citation needed]

Lewis vs. McCall II[edit]

Lewis and McCall squared off again on February 7, 1997, in Las Vegas. In a bizarre fight, McCall refused to fight in the fourth and fifth rounds, beginning to cry and eventually forcing the referee to stop the fight and award Lewis the victory.[6] The referee for the fight, Mills Lane, stated in an interview after the match, "In the third round, he got in close, and then seemed frustrated, and then he just backed off and put his arms down. . . . I thought he was playing possum but then I saw his lips started to quiver and I thought, 'My God, is he crying?'" Lane stopped the fight when McCall had refused to defend himself for several rounds.[citation needed]

Aiming for another shot at the title[edit]

In 2001 at the age of 36 he resurrected his career with a tenth-round knockout of Henry Akinwande, at the time one of the most avoided contenders in the world, on a Lennox Lewis undercard in Las Vegas.[citation needed] McCall was ranked number 4 in the world off this performance, but was arrested shortly afterwards and imprisoned for over a year, losing his ranking.[citation needed]

In December 2004 he lost a close points decision to fellow contender DaVarryl Williamson on a high-profile Don King undercard from New York, and in 2005 he traveled to Germany for an eliminator to skillful and well regarded Cuban Juan Carlos Gomez, and was outpointed over ten rounds. However this loss was removed from McCall's record as Gomez later failed a drug test.[citation needed]

Despite his legal troubles, McCall's career continued. He began his next run at a title with a first-round TKO of Kenny Craven in June 2006.[citation needed]

McCall defeated Darroll Wilson in a fourth-round TKO in Louisville, Kentucky, on September 9, 2006, for the WBC Fecarbox Championship.[citation needed]

On December 9, 2006, McCall defeated Yanqui Diaz via seventh-round KO in Hollywood, Florida.[citation needed]

On 16 June 2007, McCall defeated Sinan Samil Sam for the WBC International Heavyweight Championship by unanimous decision in Ankara, Turkey.

The long inactive McCall defeated Australian John Hopoate by 2nd-round TKO on the May 22, 2009, for the vacant IBA intercontinental heavyweight belt. McCall dominated the fight and knocked Hopoate down twice.[citation needed]

He defended his IBA continental belt against Franklin Lawrence by a ten-round unanimous decision on August 21, 2009, at the Orleans Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas.[citation needed]

On October 23, 2009, he defended his IBA continental title again by a ten-round unanimous decision against 6'8" Lance Whitaker.[citation needed]

McCall's next opponent was Timur Ibragimov. The two fought at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida. Ibragimov was a fringe contender with a 27-2-1 record. McCall lost the bout by unanimous decision, with the scores of 117–111 twice and 119–109. It was his first loss since his comeback in 2009.[citation needed]

Legal troubles[edit]

McCall's career has been mottled by several stints in drug rehabilitation facilities[7] and arrests for disorderly behavior. He has attempted numerous comebacks, though the efforts have repeatedly been frustrated by run-ins with the law.

In January 2006 he was arrested by police in Nashville, Tennessee, who say they had to use a Taser on McCall after he tried running away from officers trying to arrest him for trespassing in a public housing development.[8]

Police officers informed the media that McCall had in his possession a glass pipe and a five-dollar bill containing a small amount of cocaine. They further stated that the 40-year-old McCall later spat at an officer and threatened to kill him.[9] He was held on $299,000 bond and charged with criminal trespass, resisting arrest, assaulting police officers, threatening to kill an officer, and being a fugitive from justice on charges in his home state of Virginia. He was released on May 8, 2006.

On the weekend before his scheduled fight with Zuri Lawrence at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in nearby Hollywood, Florida, McCall was arrested for possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia in Fort Lauderdale, preventing him from fighting. He was ultimately sentenced to probation.[citation needed] McCall was able to get another big fight, this time against Fres Oquendo, scheduled for December 7, 2010. McCall won in a split decision over the favored Oquendo.[citation needed]

On December 9, 2010, two days after his latest victory, McCall was again arrested in Fort Lauderdale for possession of cannabis and violation of municipal ordinance, causing him to violate the terms of his probation stemming from the February cocaine charge. As a result of the probation violation, he was facing six years in Florida State Prison.[citation needed] The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A. represented McCall and was able to have him reinstated on his previous probationary term, modified to include drug and psychological evaluation followed by any necessary treatment. On December 16, 2011, his probation was terminated.[citation needed]

Professional boxing record[edit]

75 fights 59 wins 14 losses
By knockout 38 1
By decision 20 13
By disqualification 1 0
No contests 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
75 Win 59–14 (2) Hugo Lomeli RTD 2 (8), 3:00 May 31, 2019 Centro de Convenciones Mundo Nuevo, Matamoros, Tamaulipas, MEX
74 Win 58–14 (2) Larry Knight UD 6 Nov 30, 2018 HEB Tennis Centre, Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
73 Loss 57–14 (2) Marcin Rekowski UD 10 Apr 26, 2014 Arena Legionowo, Legionowo, Poland
72 Win 57–13 (2) Marcin Rekowski SD 8 Feb 1, 2014 Hala Okrąglak, Opole, Poland
71 Loss 56–13 (2) Krzysztof Zimnoch UD 8 May 18, 2013 Arena Legionowo, Legionowo, Poland
70 Loss 56–12 (2) Francesco Pianeta UD 10 May 16, 2012 Brandenburg-Halle, Frankfurt, Germany
69 Win 56–11 (2) Damian Wills UD 10 Aug 20, 2011 Athletic Fencing Center, Houston, Texas, U.S. Won vacant WBF (Foundation) Intercontinental heavyweight title
68 Loss 55–11 (2) Cedric Boswell UD 10 Mar 18, 2011 Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, Florida, U.S. For vacant WBA–NABA and WBC Latino heavyweight titles
67 Win 55–10 (2) Fres Oquendo SD 12 Dec 7, 2010 Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, Florida, U.S. Won vacant IBF Inter-Continental heavyweight title
66 Loss 54–10 (2) Timur Ibragimov UD 12 Jun 15, 2010 Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, Florida, U.S. For vacant WBANABA heavyweight title
65 Win 54–9 (2) Lance Whitaker UD 10 Oct 23, 2009 The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
64 Win 53–9 (2) Franklin Lawrence UD 10 Aug 21, 2009 The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
63 Win 52–9 (2) John Hopoate TKO 2 (10), 1:26 May 22, 2009 The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
62 Loss 51–9 (2) Juan Carlos Gómez UD 12 Oct 19, 2007 Estrel Hotel, Berlin, Germany Lost WBC International heavyweight title
61 Win 51–8 (2) Sinan Şamil Sam UD 12 Jun 16, 2007 Atatürk Sport Hall, Ankara, Turkey Won WBC International heavyweight title
60 Win 50–8 (2) Marion Wilson UD 8 Feb 24, 2007 ABC Sports Complex, Springfield, Virginia, U.S.
59 Win 49–8 (2) Yanqui Díaz KO 7 (10), 2:28 Dec 9, 2006 Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, Florida, U.S.
58 Win 48–8 (2) Darroll Wilson TKO 4 (12), 0:40 Sep 3, 2006 Louisville Gardens, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. Won vacant WBC FECARBOX heavyweight title
57 Win 47–8 (2) Kenny Craven TKO 1 (10), 1:09 Jun 30, 2006 Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, Florida, U.S.
56 Win 46–8 (2) Wallace McDaniel TKO 3 (8), 1:37 May 27, 2006 The Plex, North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
55 NC 45–8 (2) Juan Carlos Gómez UD 10 Oct 15, 2005 Burg-Wächter Castello, Düsseldorf, Germany Originally a UD win for Gómez, later ruled an NC after he failed a drug test
54 Win 45–8 (1) Przemysław Saleta TKO 4 (10), 2:40 Aug 13, 2005 United Center, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
53 Win 44–8 (1) Kelvin Hale UD 8 May 10, 2005 Kennel Club, Sarasota, Florida, U.S.
52 Win 43–8 (1) Cornelius Ellis UD 8 Apr 16, 2005 M.C. Benton Jr. Convention Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S.
51 Win 42–8 (1) Marion Wilson DQ 6 (8) Feb 5, 2005 Convention Center, Washington, D.C., U.S. Wilson disqualified for repeated holding
50 Loss 41–8 (1) DaVarryl Williamson UD 10 Nov 13, 2004 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
49 Win 41–7 (1) Vernon Woodward TKO 3 (8), 1:26 Sep 25, 2004 Firelake Casino, Shawnee, Oklahoma, U.S.
48 Win 40–7 (1) Dennis McKinney TKO 3 (10) Apr 24, 2003 The Plex, North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
47 Win 39–7 (1) Henry Akinwande KO 10 (10), 2:13 Nov 17, 2001 Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
46 Win 38–7 (1) Matt Green TKO 1 (10), 1:38 Sep 29, 2001 Martinsville, Virginia, U.S.
45 Win 37–7 (1) Sedreck Fields SD 10 Aug 11, 2000 Paris Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
44 Win 36–7 (1) Marcus McIntyre KO 3 (10), 0:57 May 25, 2001 Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.
43 Win 35–7 (1) Ric Lainhart TKO 1 (10), 2:25 Feb 12, 2001 Jim Davidson Theatre, Pembroke Pines, Florida, U.S.
42 Win 34–7 (1) Will Hinton TKO 1 (10), 1:17 Dec 18, 1999 Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.
41 NC 33–7 (1) Samson Cohen NC 2 (10) Sep 25, 1999 High School, Bassett, Virginia, U.S. Cohen unable to continue after falling out of the ring
40 Win 33–7 Samson Cohen KO 1 (10) Feb 24, 1998 Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
39 Win 32–7 Abdul Muhaymin UD 10 Feb 3, 1998 Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
38 Win 31–7 Mike Acklie KO 1 (10) Jan 6, 1998 Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
37 Win 30–7 Mike DeVito TKO 2 (8) Dec 16, 1997 Music City Mix Factory, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
36 Win 29–7 Brian Yates TKO 8 (10) Nov 4, 1997 Music City Mix Factory, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
35 Loss 28–7 Lennox Lewis TKO 5 (12), 0:55 Feb 7, 1997 Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. For vacant WBC heavyweight title
34 Win 28–6 James Stanton RTD 6 (10), 0:01 Mar 23, 1996 Miami Arena, Miami, Florida, U.S.
33 Win 27–6 Oleg Maskaev TKO 1 (10), 1:38 Feb 24, 1996 Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
32 Loss 26–6 Frank Bruno UD 12 Sep 2, 1995 Wembley Stadium, London, England Lost WBC heavyweight title
31 Win 26–5 Larry Holmes UD 12 Apr 8, 1995 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBC heavyweight title
30 Win 25–5 Lennox Lewis TKO 2 (12), 0:31 Sep 24, 1994 Wembley Arena, London, England Won WBC heavyweight title
29 Win 24–5 Dan Murphy TKO 1 (10) Feb 26, 1994 Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England
28 Win 23–5 Art Card KO 1 (10) Dec 18, 1993 Estadio Cuauhtémoc, Puebla City, Mexico
27 Win 22–5 Francesco Damiani TKO 8 (10), 1:09 Apr 23, 1993 The Pyramid, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
26 Win 21–5 Mike Dixon TKO 2 (10), 2:48 Jan 30, 1993 The Pyramid, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
25 Win 20–5 Lawrence Carter KO 3 (10) Jan 30, 1993 The Mirage, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
24 Loss 19–5 Tony Tucker SD 12 Jun 26, 1992 CSU Convocation Center, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. For NABF heavyweight title
23 Win 19–4 Mike Rouse TKO 4 (10), 2:54 Feb 15, 1992 The Mirage, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
22 Win 18–4 Jesse Ferguson UD 10 Aug 8, 1991 Trump's Castle, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
21 Win 17–4 Danny Wofford TKO 5 (10) Jun 8, 1991 Civic Center, Salem, Virginia, U.S.
20 Win 16–4 Bruce Seldon TKO 9 (10), 2:37 Apr 18, 1991 Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
19 Loss 15–4 Orlin Norris SD 10 Nov 17, 1990 Lee County Civic Center, Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.
18 Win 15–3 Lionel Butler SD 10 Jul 16, 1990 Central Plaza Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
17 Loss 14–3 Buster Douglas UD 10 Jul 21, 1989 Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
16 Win 14–2 Bruce Johnson KO 1 (10), 2:05 Oct 1, 1988 International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
15 Win 13–2 Wesley Smith TKO 2 (8) Sep 16, 1988 Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S.
14 Win 12–2 David Jaco UD 10 Jun 30, 1988 Pavilion Convention Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia, U.S.
13 Loss 11–2 Mike Hunter UD 6 Jan 22, 1988 Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
12 Win 11–1 Kim Adams TKO 2 (8), 0:51 Aug 30, 1987 Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
11 Win 10–1 Richard Scott KO 2 (8), 2:50 Aug 11, 1987 UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
10 Win 9–1 Tim Morrison KO 1 (6), 1:01 May 30, 1987 DiVinci Manor, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
9 Win 8–1 Fred Whitaker UD 6 Mar 21, 1987 DiVinci Manor, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
8 Win 7–1 Al Evans UD 6 Dec 16, 1986 Condesa Del Mar, Alsip, Illinois, U.S.
7 Win 6–1 Bashir Wadud UD 6 Oct 25, 1986 DiVinci Manor, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
6 Win 5–1 Larry Roberson TKO 1 (4), 2:31 Sep 13, 1986 DiVinci Manor, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
5 Win 4–1 James Churn KO 1 (4), 1:19 Aug 14, 1986 Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
4 Win 3–1 Kimmuel Odum MD 4 Aug 14, 1986 DiVinci Manor, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
3 Win 2–1 Felix Shorter TKO 2 (4) Jan 18, 1986 DiVinci Manor, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
2 Loss 1–1 Joey Christjohn UD 4 Dec 6, 1985 Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 Lou Bailey TKO 1 (4), 2:35 Nov 2, 1985 Odeum Expo Center, Villa Park, Illinois, U.S.


  1. ^ "CATCHING UP WITH: Oliver McCall". 31 May 2009.
  2. ^ The Chicago Fighter Who Flattened Tyson by Sam Smith, Chicago Tribune, December 21, 1986.
  3. ^ "The night Lewis won heavyweight title as his opponent suffered mid-fight breakdown". talkSPORT. 2022-02-03. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  4. ^ "REMEMBER WHEN RIDDICK BOWE SIGNED TO FIGHT LENNOX LEWIS? - BoxRec". boxrec.com. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
  5. ^ The Sun Sports by Jonathan Piper, Lowell Sun, July 17, 1988, p. 38.
  6. ^ HBO Should Have Pulled Out of Bout - New York Times
  7. ^ PLUS: BOXING; McCall to Receive An Early Release - New York Times
  8. ^ Nashville > Police Department
  9. ^ "Another Low Blow from Oliver McCall". Archived from the original on 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2007-01-03.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
Calvin Brock
heavyweight champion

September 9, 2006 – April 2007
Title next held by
Carl Davis Drumond
Preceded by WBC International
heavyweight champion

June 16, 2007 – October 19, 2007
Succeeded by
Title last held by
Oleg Platov
IBF Inter-Continental
heavyweight champion

December 7, 2010 – March 2011
Title next held by
Konstantin Airich
Title last held by
Amir Mansour
WBF (Foundation) Intercontinental
heavyweight champion

August 20, 2011 – May 2012
Title next held by
Skipp Scott
Major world boxing titles
Preceded by WBC heavyweight champion
September 24, 1994 – September 2, 1995
Succeeded by