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Bob Foster (boxer)
Foster c. 1972
|Real name||Robert Wayne Foster|
|Nickname(s)||The Deputy Sheriff|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (191 cm)|
|Reach||79 in (201 cm)|
|Born||(1938-12-15)December 15, 1938
Borger, Texas, U.S.
|Died||November 21, 2015(2015-11-21) (aged 76)
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
|Wins by KO||46|
Robert Wayne "Bob" Foster (December 15, 1938 – November 21, 2015) was an 20th century American professional boxer who fought as a light heavyweight and heavyweight. Known as "The Deputy Sheriff", Foster was one of the greatest light heavyweight champions in boxing history. He won the world light heavyweight title from Dick Tiger in 1968 via fourth-round knockout, and went on to defend his crown fourteen times in total from 1968 to 1974. Foster challenged Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali during his career, but was knocked out by both (the fight with Ali was not for a world heavyweight title, but for the regional NABF version).
Foster was born at Borger, Texas on 15 December 1938.[Note 1] In his childhood years his family moved to Albuquerque in New Mexico, and he received his formal education at Albuquerque High School. On leaving school he enlisted with the United States Air Force, in which he served with the rank of Airman Second Class. He began boxing on the Golden Gloves amateur circuit, and also took part in competitive inter-service matches for the U.S. Air Force.
Foster started his professional career on the night of March 27, 1961, against Duke Williams, in Washington, D.C., winning by knockout in two rounds. The first 12 bouts of his career were spent campaigning in the United States' Eastern coast and in Canada. In his tenth bout, he made his first of multiple forays into the heavyweight division, and suffered his first loss, at the hands of Doug Jones, by a knockout in the eighth round.
Three more fights back in the States resulted in quick knockout wins for him, and then, in 1964, he made his second attempt at entering the heavyweight rankings, being knocked out in the seventh by future world Heavyweight champion Ernie Terrell. He finished the year by posting three more knockout wins at Light Heavyweight, two of them in the month of November. The night of November 11 was Foster's first fight of note as a light-heavyweight. One month after knocking out Don Quinn in the first round, he stepped up in the ring again and faced former world title challenger Henry Hank. He beat Hank by a knockout in the tenth.
In 1965, he had five fights, winning four and losing one. He beat Hank again, by decision in 12 rounds, and lost to Zora Folley, by a decision in ten rounds, in another attempt at joining the heavyweight top ten.
In 1966 he defeated Leroy Green in two rounds.
By 1967, Foster, although his attempts to become a top heavyweight were being frustrated, was a ranked light heavyweight. He decided to stick to the light-heavyweight division for the time being, and he won all seven of his fights, six by knockout. Among the fighters he beat were Eddie Cotton, Eddie Vick, and Sonny Moore. After defeating Moore, Foster was the world's number one ranked light heavyweight challenger.
World light-heavyweight champion
In 1968, Foster got his first shot at a world title. At Madison Square Garden in New York, on the night of March 24, Foster became world champion by knocking out Dick Tiger in four rounds. Tiger had been a two-time world middleweight champion and was defending his world light heavyweight crown that night. Foster then decided to box at heavyweight once again, and beat future George Foreman victim Charlie Polite by a knockout in three. He ended that year defeating Vick again, and his future world title challenger Roger Rouse, both by a knockout.
In 1969, he began by rising off the canvas to knock out Frank DePaula in the same first round and retain his belt. It is believed that was the first time ever a boxer won a world title fight in the first round after being floored in that same round. It is also believed that that fight is one of only three times that's happened... the second time being in 1984, when Juan Meza rose off a knockdown to dethrone world Jr. Featherweight champion Jaime Garza in the same first round too. It also happened in the 21st century, when Kendall Holt was dropped twice, only to knockout Ricardo Torres in round 1, for the WBO 140 lb title.
Foster's next fight in 1969 was against Andy Kendall, whom he beat in four rounds by knockout, to once again retain the crown. He closed the 1960s with two more knockout wins.
Frazier vs Foster
In 1970, Foster made two more trips to the heavyweights. In the first, he beat fringe contender Lee Wallace in six rounds by knockout. This was followed by a return to the light-heavyweight division to defend his title against Rouse. Infuriated by some comments that Rouse's manager had made before the bout concerning the fact that even though Foster knocked out Rouse in their first bout he was not able to drop him, Foster dropped Rouse five times en route to a fourth-round knockout victory. A knockout in 10 to retain the title against Mark Tessman followed, and then he was given the chance to challenge for the world heavyweight title. Facing world champion Joe Frazier on the night of November 18 in Detroit, he was knocked out in two rounds.
After defeating Hal Carroll by a knockout in four rounds to defend his crown, the WBA stripped him of the title, but he remained as world champion on the WBC. Foster became enraged at the WBA, which proceeded to have Vicente Rondon of Venezuela and Jimmy Dupree fight for the world title. Rondon won, becoming the second Latin American world light-heavyweight champion (after José Torres), and Foster set his eyes on him. Foster went on defending his WBC title, and he defeated challengers Ray Anderson, Tommy Hicks, and Brian Kelly. Of those three, it was Anderson who was the only one to last the 15 round distance with Foster.
Ali vs Foster
Foster and Rondon met in Miami on April 7, 1972, in a unification bout. Foster became the undisputed world champion once again, by knocking Rondon out in the second round. In his next fight, he used what many critics have called one of the best punches in history to retain his title by a knockout in four against Mike Quarry. Foster then went up in weight and faced former and future world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, in what was legendary referee Mills Lane's first bout of note as a referee. Foster lost to Ali by a knockout in the eighth, after being knocked down 7 times.
In 1973, Foster retained his title twice against Pierre Fourie, both by decision. Their second fight had a distinct social impact because it was fought in Apartheid-ruled South Africa, Foster being Black and Fourie being White. Foster became a hero to South African Blacks by beating Fourie the first time around, and in their rematch, the first boxing fight in South Africa after Apartheid featuring a White versus a Black, he cemented that position by defeating Fourie on points again. However, as Mark Mathabane noted in his autobiography Kaffir Boy, South Africa's black population also felt betrayed by Foster since he didn't address Apartheid during his time in South Africa.
His last defense as world light-heavyweight champion came in 1974, when he was dropped by Argentinian Jorge Ahumada, but managed to keep the title with a draw. After that, he announced his retirement, leaving the world's light-heavyweight championship vacant.
Foster returned to the boxing in 1975, winning a series of 10 round contests, before retiring from the sport permanently in 1978 at the age of 40.
Post boxing life
He married four times and became a widower in 1984.
He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame at Canastota, New York, in 1990.
Foster had a record of 56 wins, 8 losses and 1 draw, with 46 wins coming by knockout. He was named to Ring Magazine's list of 100 Greatest Punchers. He was also named to Ring Magazine's list of the 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years, ranking at #55.
Professional boxing record
|56 Wins (46 KOs), 8 Losses (6 KOs), 1 Draw|
|Loss||56–8–1||Bob Hazelton||TKO||2 (?),
|1978-06-02||Century II Convention Hall, Wichita, Kansas|
|Loss||56–7–1||Mustafa Wassaja||RTD||5 (8),
|1978-02-09||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen|
|Win||56–6–1||Bob Hazelton||KO||10 (10),
|1977-09-02||Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles|
|Win||55–6–1||Al Bolden||KO||6 (10),
|1976-09-25||Spokane Coliseum, Spokane, Washington|
|Win||54–6–1||Harold Carter||UD||10||1976-08-28||Eagles Aerie, Missoula, Montana|
|Win||53–6–1||Al Bolden||KO||3 (10),
|1976-05-08||Adams Field House, Missoula, Montana|
|Win||52–6–1||Bill Hardney||KO||3 (10),
|1975-06-28||Sweeney Gym, Santa Fe, New Mexico|
|Draw||51–6–1||Jorge Ahumada||SD||15||1974-06-17||University Arena, Albuquerque, New Mexico||Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Win||51–6||Pierre Fourie||UD||15||1973-12-01||Rand Stadium, Johannesburg, Transvaal||Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Win||50–6||Pierre Fourie||UD||15||1973-08-21||University Arena, Albuquerque, New Mexico||Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Loss||49–6||Muhammad Ali||KO||8 (12),
|1972-11-21||Sahara Tahoe Hotel, Stateline, Nevada||For NABF heavyweight title.|
|Win||49–5||Chris Finnegan||KO||14 (15),
|1972-09-26||Empire Pool, Wembley, London||Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
The Ring Fight of the Year 1972.
|Win||48–5||Mike Quarry||KO||4 (15),
|1972-06-27||Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada||Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Win||47–5||Vicente Rondón||KO||2 (15),
|1972-04-07||Miami Beach Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida||Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
Won WBA light heavyweight title
|Win||46–5||Brian Kelly||TKO||3 (15),
|1971-12-16||Fairgrounds Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma||Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Win||45–5||Tommy Hicks||TKO||8 (15),
|1971-10-30||Catholic Youth Center, Scranton, Pennsylvania||Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Win||44–5||Vernon McIntosh||TKO||3 (10),
|1971-08-17||Miami Beach, Florida|
|Win||43–5||Ray Anderson||UD||15||1971-04-24||Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa, Florida||Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Win||42–5||Hal Carroll||TKO||4 (15),
|1971-03-02||Catholic Youth Center, Scranton, Pennsylvania||Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Loss||41–5||Joe Frazier||KO||2 (15),
|1970-11-18||Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan||For WBA, WBC, and lineal heavyweight titles|
|Win||41–4||Mark Tessman||TKO||10 (15),
|1970-06-27||Baltimore Civic Center, Baltimore, Maryland||Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Win||40–4||Roger Rouse||TKO||4 (15),
|1970-04-04||Harry Adams Field House, Missoula, Montana||Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Win||39–4||Roy Wallace||KO||6 (10),
|1970-03-09||Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory, Tampa, Florida|
|Win||38–4||Bill Hardney||TKO||4 (10),
|1970-02-24||Orlando Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida|
|Win||37–4||Chuck Leslie||TKO||5 (10),
|1969-11-02||New Orleans Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Win||36–4||Levan Roundtree||TKO||4 (10),
|1969-06-19||Atlanta Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia|
|Win||35–4||Andy Kendall||TKO||4 (15),
|1969-05-24||Eastern States Coliseum, West Springfield, Massachusetts||Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Win||34–4||Frank DePaula||TKO||1 (15),
|1969-01-22||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York||Retained WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Win||33–4||Roger Rouse||TKO||5 (10),
|1968-09-09||Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C.|
|Win||32–4||Eddie Vick||TKO||9 (10),
|1968-08-26||Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico|
|Win||31–4||Charley Polite||TKO||3 (10),
|1968-07-29||Eastern States Coliseum, West Springfield, Massachusetts|
|Win||30–4||Dick Tiger||KO||4 (15),
|1968-05-24||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York||Won WBA, WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles|
|Win||29–4||Sonny Moore||KO||5 (10),
|1967-12-05||Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C.|
|Win||28–4||Eddie Vick||UD||10||1967-11-20||Providence Coliseum, Providence, Rhode Island|
|Win||27–4||Levan Roundtree||KO||8 (10),
|Win||26–4||Henry Matthews||TKO||2 (10),
|1967-06-09||Starland Arena, Roanoke, Virginia|
|Win||25–4||Eddie Cotton||KO||3 (12),
|1967-05-08||Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C.|
|Win||24–4||Andres Antonio Selpa||KO||2 (10),
|1967-02-27||Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C.|
|Win||23–4||Jim Robinson||KO||1 (10),
|1967-01-16||Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C.|
|Win||22–4||LeRoy Green||KO||2 (?),
|1966-12-06||Norfolk Arena, Norfolk, Virginia|
|Loss||21–4||Zora Folley||UD||10||1965-12-06||Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Win||21–3||Henry Hank||UD||12||1965-07-26||Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Win||20–3||Chuck Leslie||TKO||3 (10),
|1965-05-24||Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Win||19–3||Dave Russell||TKO||6 (10),
|1965-03-21||Norfolk Arena, Norfolk, Virginia|
|Win||18–3||Bobby Rascon||KO||2 (10),
|1965-02-15||Albuquerque Civic Auditorium, Albuquerque, New Mexico|
|Win||17–3||Henry Hank||TKO||9 (10),
|1964-12-11||Municipal Auditorium, Norfolk, Virginia|
|Win||16–3||Norman Letcher||TKO||1 (10),
|1964-11-23||Kezar Pavilion, San Francisco, California|
|Win||15–3||Don Quinn||KO||1 (10),
|Loss||14–3||Ernie Terrell||TKO||7 (10),
|1964-07-10||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York|
|Win||14–2||Allen Thomas||TKO||1 (10),
|1964-05-08||Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois|
|Win||13–2||Dave Bailey||KO||1 (6),
|1964-02-25||Miami Beach Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida|
|Win||12–2||Willi Besmanoff||KO||3 (10),
|Loss||11–2||Mauro Mina||UD||10||1963-11-07||Estadio Nacional, Lima|
|Win||11–1||Curtis Bruce||KO||4 (?),
|1963-04-29||Capitol Arena, Washington, D.C.|
|Win||10–1||Richard Benjamin||KO||1 (8),
|1963-02-18||Capitol Arena, Washington, D.C.|
|Loss||9–1||Doug Jones||TKO||8 (10),
|1962-10-20||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York|
|Win||9–0||Bert Whitehurst||SD||8||1962-06-27||Sunnyside Garden Arena, Sunnyside, Queens, New York City, New York|
|Win||8–0||Billy Tisdale||TKO||2 (6),
|1962-05-19||St. Nicholas Arena, New York, New York|
|Win||7–0||Clarence Floyd||KO||4 (6),
|1961-12-04||Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario|
|Win||6–0||Ernie Knox||TKO||3 (6),
|Win||5–0||Floyd McCoy||PTS||6||1961-08-08||Delormier Stadium, Montreal, Quebec|
|Win||4–0||Ray Bryan||TKO||2 (6),
|1961-06-22||Forum, Montreal, Quebec|
|Win||3–0||Billy Johnson||PTS||4||1961-05-08||St. Nicholas Arena, New York, New York|
|Win||2–0||Clarence Ryan||PTS||4||1961-04-03||St. Nicholas Arena, New York, New York|
|Win||1–0||Duke Williams||KO||2 (4),
|1961-03-27||Capitol Arena, Washington, District of Columbia||Professional debut.|
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