Five great all-British heavyweight bouts




 

Britain's Tyson Fury puts his WBC heavyweight title on the line against compatriot Derek Chisora at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.

AFP Sport looks back at five of the best all-British heavyweight boxing encounters:

HENRY COOPER vs JOE BUGNER

March 16, 1971, Wembley Arena

-- Veteran champion Henry Cooper, one of Britain's most-beloved sportsmen, although never a world champion, was defending his British, European and Commonwealth titles against the 21-year-old Bugner.

After a then maximum 15 rounds of a hard-fought contest, referee Harry Gibbs -- the sole judge -- caused uproar in a sell-out 10,000 crowd at the Empire Pool, as the Wembley Arena was then known, by raising the Hungarian-born Bugner's hand in victory.

Amid a chorus of boos, celebrated BBC boxing commentator Harry Carpenter exclaimed: "How in the world can you take away the man's three titles like that?"

But there was no changing the controversial decision, one that marked the end of the 36-year-old Cooper's ring career.

JACK BODELL vs DANNY McALINDEN

June 27, 1972, Villa Park

-- Bodell saw his British and Commonwealth title defence ended inside three minutes by Birmingham-based McAlinden, fighting in front of a home crowd at the headquarters of the city's Aston Villa football club.

In the process McAlinden, originally from Newry, became the first Irishman to be crowned a British heavyweight champion.

McAlinden turned the contest into something of a street fight as he dropped Bodell to the canvas three times in the second round.

JOE BUGNER vs RICHARD DUNN

 

October 12, 1976, Wembley Arena

-- Bugner had twice gone the distance with Muhammad Ali and also lost narrowly on a decision to Joe Frazier by the time he fought Dunn.

Five months earlier, Dunn had been knocked out in five rounds while challenging Ali for the world title in Munich.

Only a few seconds had elapsed after the opening bell when Bugner, the European champion, floored British and Commonwealth title-holder Dunn. The gritty Yorkshireman beat the count but Bugner knocked him down twice more and the fight was all over in 2 minutes 14 seconds.

GARY MASON vs LENNOX LEWIS

March 6, 1991, Wembley Arena

-- Mason, unbeaten after 35 fights, faced rising star Lewis, who had a 14-0 record.

The opening rounds were even but Lewis' accurate jab caused a huge swelling beneath Mason's right eye, which started to close.

Mason was unable to see many of Lewis' powerful punches in the fifth and sixth rounds, with referee Larry O'Connell waving the fight off and sparing Mason from further punishment in the seventh.

LENNOX LEWIS vs FRANK BRUNO

 

October 1, 1993, Cardiff Arms Park

-- The first world heavyweight title bout between two British boxers saw Lewis making his second defence against Bruno.

Fan favourite Bruno's two previous attempts to be crowned world champion had ended in comprehensive defeats by Tim Witherspoon and then Mike Tyson.

But he started well only for this fight to change dramatically when Lewis landed a solid right to his chin in the seventh round.

Bruno was all but out on his feet and with Lewis landing a flurry of punches to his opponent's unprotected head, referee Mickey Vann stopped the fight.

Two years later, however, Bruno finally became a world champion at the fourth time of asking when he defeated Oliver McCall.

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