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Forgotten Champions: Anaclet Wamba

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  • Forgotten Champions: Anaclet Wamba

    Despite winning the WBC cruiser title and defending it seven times and losing only twice in 49 pro fights, Anaclet Wamba is one of the least known and talked about champions ever. Perhaps due to the cruiser division being rather weak and anonymous at the time, Wamba had to settle for a championship reign in virtual anonimity. He is also one of the few champions to end his reign by his own choice and not due to a loss. He was a tall cruiserweight at 6'3 or 1,90 m and had a big reach of 79 inches or 201 cm. Of his two losses, one came early on on points against the heavyweight Horace Notice (one of the best in Britain at the time) and the second came by disqualification. Thus, he has never been stopped either. This is the story of another forgotten champion: Anaclet Wamba.

    Born 6 January 1960 in Liranga, Congo, Wamba represented his country as a light heavy at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, losing in the first round of competition by KO2 against Geoffrey Pike of Australia. He relocated to Saint-Brieuc in France to start his pro career in November 1982. He went 13-0 with 5 knockouts before going to UK to fight Horace Notice at Royal Albert Hall, 16 October 1985. After 8 completed rounds, the referee and sole judge gave the fight to Notice by 79 1/2 to 77 1/2, meaning it was a close bout. Notice would retire undefeated at 16-0. This was of course a heavyweight fight while Wamba was a natural cruiserweight. He then won 13 fights before winning the European CW title against defending champion Angelo Rottoli of Italy, by MD12. The fight was in Citta di Castello, Italy, on 11 November 1989. He then landed a fight for the WBC title against another Italian, Massimiliano Duran and the two fought at Palazzo dello Sport in Ferrara on 8 December 1990, but Wamba got disqualified in the 12th round after a close fight. He had been penalized a total of five points before that. The scorecards were 102-102, 101-103 and 100-103, which means he would be ahead without the penalisations. Because of that, a rematch was ordered, on 20 July next year in Palermo, and this time Wamba stopped Duran on a bad eye cut by TKO11, finally becoming a world champion after almost 9 years. He had a third fight against Duran on 13 December that year, but this time in Paris, and again won by TKO11, after being soundly ahead on scorecards. He made his second defense against Andrey Rudenko of Russia on 13 July 1992 and won by TKO5 against the overmatched opponent. In his third defense he beat American contender Andrew Maynard by UD12, also knocking him down once, and then beat the tough former light heavy world title challenger David Vedder also by UD12. In his fifth defense, he stopped the former European champion Akim Tafer by a corner retirement in 7. Tafer had beaten Dennis Andries to win that title and was a worthy opponent. He was also ahead on one of the scorecards by a point when the fight was stopped, but clearly behind on the other two.

    Wamba faced his probably best opponent until then in his sixth defense: Adolpho Washington of USA, who was a noted amateur and a future IBF and IBO champion as well. Washington was quite a lot shorter at just over 5'11, but gave Wamba his hardest fight as a champion, 14 July 1994 at Sporting Club in Monaco. After 12 rounds, one judge had the champion ahead by 116-114, but the other two scored it even and so the result was a majority draw. After one non-title fight, he made his seventh and last defense against Marcelo Fabian Dominguez of Argentina, his other best opponent, who would win the same title later and was one of the best cruisers of his time. Dominguez at only 5'9 was however very tough and hardy fighter with skill and he gave the 34-yearold Wamba another tough fight, but this time Wamba was victorious by majority decision, 3 December in Salta, Argentina. After that, he vacated his belt and had one more fight-only 27 days later! Just before New Year's Eve, he beat the 0-8 Perfecto Gonzalez by TKO4 to end his boxing career, thus becoming one of the few boxing champions to end his championship reign with a victory. Anaclet Wamba was just a week shy of his 35th birthday when he said farewell to the ring, with a great record of 46 wins, 23 by ko, 2 losses and 1 draw. He had never been stopped and to my knowledge was only down in one fight; in 1989, he was down in rounds one and two against David Muhammed but came back to knock him out in the fourth round.

    Anaclet Wamba was a good technical boxer who used his physical attributes well and had a good punch as well. Due to having to wait so long to become a champion, his reign could never be too long and it lasted 3 years. Despite fighting primarily in France, he was willing to fight abroad as well and he won his world title in his opponent's country. Due to the time he fought in, as I mentioned, when cruiserweight was a very overlooked and unglamourous division, Wamba was virtually unknown to the wider boxing audience and therefore he qualifies as a FORGOTTEN CHAMPION. Thank you.


  • #2
    --- Any clue as to why he was docked 5 Pts vs Duran?

    Nice article Boz.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by LondonRingRules View Post
      --- Any clue as to why he was docked 5 Pts vs Duran?

      Nice article Boz.
      Not sure but it stinks of preferrential home-refereeing. Thanks.

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