Oliver McCall

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Oliver McCall
Oliver McCall.JPG
Nickname(s)The Atomic Bull
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Reach82 in (208 cm)
Born (1965-04-21) April 21, 1965 (age 56)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights74
Wins by KO37
No contests2

Oliver McCall (born April 21, 1965) is an American professional boxer. 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 would also become known for an in-ring mental breakdown during his 1997 rematch with Lewis. McCall's son, Elijah, is also a heavyweight professional boxer.

Along with Vitali Klitschko and Nikolai Valuev, McCall is one of the few world heavyweight champions to have never been knocked down in any fight.

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.

Lewis vs McCall I[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."[3]

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.[4]) 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.[5] 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, Oliver'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.[citation needed] This guaranteed him a shot at the WBC Heavyweight Championship (currently held by Tyson Fury). However, McCall took a fight with slick Cuban fighter Juan Carlos Gomez, a fight which McCall lost. As a result, Gomez took his place as the WBC's next mandatory challenger.[citation needed]

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[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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]

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


  1. ^ https://journaltimes.com/sports/catching-up-with-oliver-mccall/article_dbd040c8-7f4d-5be3-97c0-abe4742c1947.html
  2. ^ The Chicago Fighter Who Flattened Tyson by Sam Smith, Chicago Tribune, December 21, 1986.
  3. ^ "REMEMBER WHEN RIDDICK BOWE SIGNED TO FIGHT LENNOX LEWIS? - BoxRec". boxrec.com. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
  4. ^ The Sun Sports by Jonathan Piper, Lowell Sun, July 17, 1988, p. 38.
  5. ^ HBO Should Have Pulled Out of Bout - New York Times
  6. ^ PLUS: BOXING; McCall to Receive An Early Release - New York Times
  7. ^ Nashville > Police Department
  8. ^ "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
Sinan Şamil Sam
WBC International
heavyweight champion

June 16, 2007 – October 19, 2007
Succeeded by
Juan Carlos Gómez
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
Lennox Lewis
WBC heavyweight champion
September 24, 1994 – September 2, 1995
Succeeded by
Frank Bruno