Tyrell Biggs

Tyrell Biggs

Tyrell Biggs (born December 22, 1960 in Philadelphia, PA) is an American heavyweight boxer. He won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, CA in boxing at the Superheavyweight division, after gaining bronze the previous year at the 1983 Pan American Games.

Early life

Biggs, then known by his nickname, "Burt," first made a sporting splash as a basketball player at West Philadelphia High, in Philadelphia. He was a starting forward for the Speedboys' Public League and City champions in 1978, a team that extended a state-record winning streak to 68 before a regular season loss to Overbrook. In '77, one of Biggs' teammates was Gene Banks, who went on to excel at Duke and play in the NBA.

Amateur career

Biggs' first major success as an amateur boxer was winning the gold medal at the 1981 United States National Boxing Championships in the super-heavyweight division. He repeated this feat the next year, and also in 1982 he won the World Championships in Munich, West Germany, where in the final he defeated Francesco Damiani from Italy on points. Damiani later went on to win the WBO heavyweight belt as a professional, and took his revenge on Biggs in a non-title fight in 1988. In 1983 Biggs won a bronze medal on the Pan American Games, losing to future professional challenger Jorge Luis Gonzalez in the semi-final.

In 1984 Biggs won the gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, defeating future professional world champion Lennox Lewis in the quarter-finals. Lewis went on as an amateur to win the super-heavyweight gold himself at the 1988 Summer Olympics, and after turning professional he avenged his loss to Biggs in a non-title bout in 1991. In the Olympics final Biggs beat Damiani on points again. It has to be mentioned that the Cubans, including the legendary Teofilo Stevenson who defeated Biggs two times before the Olympics, did not participate on the games due to the Soviet boycott.

Biggs finished his amateur career with an outstanding record of 108-6-4. Besides Lewis and Damiani, he also defeated a third future professional heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson to whom he then also lost among the professionals in 1987 in a title fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship.

Professional career

He turned professional soon after his Olympic victory, scoring a 6 round unanimous decision over Mike Evans on November 15, 1984 at Madison Square Garden in New York City in his first bout. Besides Tyson, Lewis and Damiani he went on to face such other boxing luminaries as James "Quick" Tillis, Ossie Ocasio, Riddick Bowe, Tony Tubbs, Buster Mathis, Jr., and Larry Donald before ending his career with a second round knockout of Carlton Davis on August 27, 1998 in Atlanta, GA. He never won a title, but stalked the rankings of contendership for much of the mid to late 1980s. His professional ring record was 30 wins (20 knockouts) and 10 losses in 40 contests.

Biggs' biggest pro fight was against Tyson, for the latter's undisputed heavyweight title. Biggs and Tyson disliked each other, and Biggs bad mouthed Tyson before the fight. Biggs attempted to outbox Tyson, using his jab and movement. But Tyson kept coming in and landing big punches, tiring and hurting Biggs, and also cutting him near his eye and on his lip. By the seventh round the fight seemed to be coming to an end, as Tyson mercilessly punished Biggs' face, whose head became swollen and bloody. Tyson hit him with a mammoth left hook, knocking him down. Biggs got up, but was dropped by another savage left, and the fight was stopped.

Unfortunately the talented Biggs' life has been a constant fight against drug and alcohol addiction. He had to enter rehab only a few months after turning professional, and some declare that his career at the time of the Tyson fight was already effectively over. An article published when he was 40 years old characterized him as "still fighting between stints in rehabilitation". [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9A0DE4D9133BF932A35751C0A963948260 BOXER'S ORDEAL: JEERS, DRUGS] ] [ [http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/golden-amateurs-who-never-made-talent-pay-684767.html Golden amateurs who never made talent pay] ]

Outside the Ring

Biggs competed in the American Gladiators Season 5 Gold Medal Challenge of Champions in 1993. Biggs lost to 1984 Gold Downhill Skiing medalist Bill Johnson, failing to finish the final challenge.

External links

* " [http://www.boxrec.com/boxer_display.php?boxer_id=001006 Career Record of Tyrell Biggs] "


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