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Thread: Lamon Brewster

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    Lamon Brewster

    The surprise winner of the 2004 fight against Wladimir Klitschko, Brewster was one of the smallest heavyweight world champions of his era, like his cousin Chris Byrd. However, in contrast to his more famous cousin, he had a killer punch and was an aggressive fighter with speed also. His career, though without a doubt most famous for that controversial Klitschko-fight, was a fine one but early on he wasn't showing anything suggesting he would reach that level. He has also defeated Andrew Golota, Luan Krasniqi and Kali Meehan. His career became sidetracked due to a detached retina and led him to lose his WBO title as well. Here is the story of that unlikely champion, Lamon "Relentless" Brewster.

    Lamon Tajuan Brewster was born in Indianapolis, June 5 1973. As mentioned, his cousin is Chris Byrd and Chris' siblings Patrick, Tracy and Tim, who have also been professional boxers. Brewster started boxing at 7 years of age and had a good amateur career, winning the 1995 US championships as a heavyweight and a Pan American Games silver medal that year as well. In the final he was beaten by the great Felix Savon. He tried to qualify for the 1996 Olympics but lost to Nate Jones and DaVarryl Williamson in the trials. That first loss he would later avenge. He finished his amateur career with a record of 70-10. He turned pro in November of '96 and won his first fight by KO 1. His immense power showed as he also won his next 10 fights by first, second and third round knockouts. He scored his first noted victory when he knocked out Quinn Navarre, a fringe contender, in 1 round in September '99. It was a left, right, left and left combo that did the trick. He was 23-0 when he faced the 15-0 Clifford Etienne, already a hot contender, May 6 2000 in Pittsburgh. Both guys came out guns blazing from the start but Brewster tore his knee ligaments in that round and couldn't perform too well, in the end losing by a wide decision. He then won one easy fight by KO 1 before fighting Charles Shufford, 15-1 and back then considered a promising fighter. It was October 21 when Lamon again found himself on the wrong end of a 10-round decision.

    He then avenged the amateurs loss to Nate Jones on February 2 2002 when he stopped Jones by TKO 3. Not long thereafter, Jones was retired from the sport for medical reasons. With this victory, Brewster won the WBO NABO title. He then won the NABO title by stopping Tommy Martin, again by TKO 3. After one more easy victory, came that Wladimir Klitschko fight. Brewster was a heavy underdog and came into the fight without his trainer Bill Slayton, who had passed away 6 months before. It was April 10 2004 at Mandalay Bay and a fight noone would forget. At 6 feet, Brewster looked way overmatched against the 6'6 Ukrainian, who was previously the WBO champion, the title which was at stake here. And surely enough, the huge Klitschko took control from the start and was dominant in the first four rounds, also knocking Brewster down with a big right hand at the end of the fourth. He looked headed for a stoppage victory in the fifth round, but for some reason, he suddenly appeared exhausted and started leaning against Brewster. He still landed some good shots in that round, but then, suddenly, the great turnaround came with about 45 seconds left of the round; Brewster first threw a right and then a big swinging left that staggered Klitschko! He drove him to the ropes and banged away and Klitschko looked gone. He received an eight-count and continued. Brewster then threw himself at his prey and landed some more punches and as the bell sounded, Klitschko fell to the canvas, unable to get up. The crowd erupted in loud roars, ecstatic that the home underdog had won. Not long after the fight however, Klitschko asked for investigation after claiming he was drugged before the fight, saying he felt groggy after the first round. Marc Ratner, head of the Nevada boxing commission, dismisssed these claims, saying his urine and blood test samples showed no trace of drugs.

    And so, Lamon Brewster was still the champion. His first defense was surprisingly tough, especially since his opponent Kali Meehan was not regarded as world class. But, at 6'5, he was another tall tree to climb. The two met in the ring September 4, again at Mandalay Bay. Brewster was better in the early going, but Meehan started to assert himself in the middle rounds and had a particularly strong round 8, where he kept Brewster pinned against the ropes and broke his jaw. Brewster eventually came back and managed to get enough rounds to sway the judges, even though one of them had Meehan ahead by a point. His next defense would be MUCH easier however; on May 21 2005, he faced Andrew Golota, once a world class fighter, but by then clearly not the same man. Brewster flew at Golota from the opening bell and hurt him with his first punch, a let hook, before nailing him with a tremendous left hook which put him down after only 10 seconds. The big Pole got up but was unsteady on his legs. Brewster then hit him with several punches before sending him down again with a straight left. Golota got up again and pretty fast, but was then met by a furious barrage and put down for the third time and the ref waved it off. Time: 51 seconds! It was one of the shortest heavyweight world title fights. And then, for the first time in his career, Brewster went over to Germany to make his third defense against their favorite, Kosovo-born and German-bred Luan Krasniqi. Krasniqi was a fine amateur fighter and physically strong and only had one loss and 28 wins on his record. He had previously knocked out the huge Lance Whitaker to get this shot. It was September 28 at the Color Line Arena in Altona, near Hamburg and hopes were high that a new German heavyweight champion would be made as it was Max Schmeling's 100th birthday.

    And surely, at first it looked possible as the taller Krasniqi took control of the fight and won most of the first 6 rounds by outboxing and outpunching the American champion. Brewster started coming on in round 7 and then in round 8 produced the turnaround by first landing a right-left-right and then nailing Krasniqi with a monster left hook which put him on his backside, with 10 seconds left. The referee Jose Hiram Rivera then provided a very long count, estimated to last between 15 and 17 seconds, allowing Krasniqi to get back to his senses and make it out of the round. But the referee couldn't help him and Brewster again put him down in the next round with a right hand, after which Krasniqi told his corner to stop it. He had now made 3 successful defenses and looked posed to face one of the other champions. But few would have expected his reign would be ended by Siarhei Liakhovich, a boxer from Belarus who had been stopped by Maurice Harris previously. It was April 1 2006 at Wolstein Center in Cleveland and the 6'4 Liakhovich, a technician, took a knee in round 7 following a Brewster assault, but Brewster suffered a detached retina after the first round and couldn't see with his left eye, which enabled Liakhovich to dominate the fight and outbox Brewster for most of it, in the end winning by the scores of 117-110, 115-112 and 115-113. Brewster's license was suspended in America after the revelation he had a detached retina and he was away from the ring for over a year.

    He was then offered a fight in Germany, while still under the suspension in USA, a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko and took it. He didn't come in in top shape for the fight, which was on July 7 2007 at Kolnarena in Cologne. Klitschko soundly dominated the fight and gave Brewster a beating for 6 rounds, until Brewster's trainer Buddy McGirt stopped it in the corner. Brewster seemed to be taking the punishment well until that 6th round, when he was rocked by a left-right. "Naturally, I wanted to continue", he said afterwards,"I'm a dog. I'll fight to the end. I knew I was having trouble. I was being jabbed and he was outmaneuvring me. Buddy said, "You got a wife and kids, we can always pick it up another day. I said OK." But, that another day came too late. He was again away from the ring for more than a year before he came back August 30 2008 and beat journeyman Danny Batchelder by KO 5, with a counter right hand. With that he won the NABF title. He also decisioned Michael Sprott in an 8-rounder next March, but then surprisingly lost to the unseeded Nigerian Gbenga Oloukun, who came in with a record of 16-1. It was a close fight, but Oloukun just did enough to get a UD8 in another fight in Germany, August 29. Brewster's last fight came January 30 2010, when he fought the up and coming Finnish giant, the 6'7 Robert Helenius, again in Germany. Helenius dropped him in round 2 and stopped him by TKO in round 8. Sadly, that fight claimed his left eye and he became half-blind after it, forcing him to end his career there and then, aged 37. His record is 35 wins, 30 by ko and 6 losses, 2 by ko.

    After retirement, he became an enterpreneur and in July 2011 founded "Fighting Connection Consulting", providing expertise to fighters on various fields. He is a good friend of James Toney and has been his sparring partner as well. Lamon Brewster was a very capable fighter who one can say hit his peak late, around the age of 30. Before that, he seemed destined to end as just one decent contender but he defied the odds and won a world title. However, his eye problems led his career into a premature decline. He has a few things in common with Herbie Hide, as both guys were small for their division and were fast and deadly punchers, and both held the WBO title. Hide even lost it the second time to Vitali Klitschko. Even though Brewster's biggest win has some question marks around it, it was still a great accomplishment. He, along with his cousin and Ruslan Chagaev, was one of the last small heavyweight champions so far.

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