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Boone "Boom Boom" Kirkman

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  • Boone "Boom Boom" Kirkman

    Boone Kirkman was a heavyweight contender of note from late 60's to mid 70's. He hit so hard, he once broke one of George Foreman's ribs during an exhibition and also stunned Foreman once there. He never was good enough to beat the best back then, but was a never say die fighter who was tough and game. He stood 6'1 and never weighed in above 215. His best wins were against Doug Jones, Jimmy Ellis, Eddie Machen and Ron Stander. In his peak, he was ranked at nr.7 by The Ring.

    Born Daniel Victor Kirkman, February 6 1945 in Vallejo, California, Kirkman relocated to Renton, Washington (a suburb of Seattle), before beginning his boxing career. He was the 1965 Northwest Diamond Belt champion and the National AAU champion the same year. He finished his amateur career with a record of 27-6, He entered pro ranks on April 1 1966, winning by first-round ko against Lou Phillips. He scored 4 ko's first, 3 of them in 1 round. He beat experienced Archie Ray on points in his fifth fight. In 1967, he first stopped the Swedish contender Lars Olof Norling by RTD2 and then stopped Eddie Machen, still a top-ranked contender, by TKO3 in May that year. He was 11-0 when he faced Doug Jones for the first time on June 29 that year and lost to him by TKO7, after getting a cut and swollen right eye. The cut opened in the first round, from a short right and it kept bleeding until the stoppage. They had a rematch on August 10 and this time Kirkman avenged his first loss by stopping the excellent Jones by TKO6, stopping him with a four-punch combination against the ropes. The fight was in Seattle. He scored 10 more wins, all but one by ko, before facing his first famous opponent: George Foreman. It was November 18 1970 at Madison Square Garden and Kirkman found himself overpowered by the 6'4 and 216-pound Foreman, himself coming in at 203. But he still managed to land a few good shots before being put down twice early in round 2 and stopped. He had been down once at the end of the previous round and Foreman also shoved him to the canvas at the start. Kirkman was away from the ring for 2 years after this debacle and came back in early 1973, stopping Fred Lewis by TKO4 on January 30 at Seattle Center Arena. He decisioned the gigantic Jack O'Halloran in July that year and then in December he fought the former world champion, the slick Jimmy Ellis. Despite being put down in round three by a left hook-right cross combination, Kirkman was victorious by split decision after 10 rounds at Seattle Center Coliseum, December 12. "Anybody who says he's washed up...they are wrong", Kirkman said afterwards. Jimmy Ellis praised the winner by saying:"He caught me with a few shots and he throws a pretty good body punch."

    He experienced an unexpected debacle next year against the 5-20-2 Al Jones; after knocking Jones down four times, he was caught by a big punch and knocked out early in round 3. He was unconscious for 5 minutes. He still received an important fight against Ken Norton. It was June 25 1974 at Seattle Center Coliseum when the two collided. Norton was coming off his first knockout loss, at the hands of Jose Luis Garcia. At first, Kirkman was the aggressor and kept Norton at bay with his body punches. However, soon Norton started finding the target with left jabs and hooks and by round 3, Kirkman was bleeding from the nose. Kirkman kept waiting to land a big punch, but it never happened and in round 7, Norton started battering him mercilessly before he put him flat on his back just before the bell. Kirkman made the count but was unable to continue. His luck wouldn't get any better in the next fight, which was against Ron Lyle, known as one of the hardest punchers back then. Lyle started off best but Kirkman got into the fight later and landed some solid shots to Lyle's head. However, he was again defeated by a cut, a deep gash below his left eye, which led to a stoppage in round 8. At the time of stoppage, two judges had Lyle ahead and one had it even. That pretty much derailed Kirkman's career and he also lost his next fight against Randy Neumann, but this time on points. He again had a 2-year layoff before coming back in 1977 and scoring his last significant victories: first a UD10 against faded contender Jose Roman and then a TKO7 against another solid white scrapper, Ron Stander. His last fight was against a guy called Charles Atlas (no, not that Charles Atlas) and he won by TKO 4, January 26 1978. As mentioned, in 1975 he took part in an exhibition bout in Toronto, where George Foreman fought against 4 fighters on the same night. This time, Kirkman hurt and stunned Foreman and finished the fight, losing on points. He hung em up with a record of 36 wins with 25 ko's and 6 losses, 5 by ko.

    He came back once more in 1983, fighting in an exhibition against Gerry Cooney. An out of shape 38-yearold Kirkman failed to answer the bell for round 4. He became an avid mountain climber in retirement. He had always been an avid outdoorsman since childhood, which led to his father giving him the nickname "Boone", after Daniel Boone, which became his fighting name. During his boxing career, he gave exhibitions at a tavern he owned called Renton's Melrose Tavern Bar. He still lives in Renton today. An article from 2008 describes him as being in very good shape, weighing only 10 pounds more than his highest fighting weight.
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