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Thomas Hansvoll

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After Ole Klemetsen the second-best Norwegian boxer in the 90's and early 00's, Hansvoll had a fine amateur career and as a pro once fought for the WBA 175-pound title, losing a valiant effort against Bruno Girard in 2002. Despite scoring only 8 knockouts in 26 victories, Hansvoll could hit and was an aggressive fighter, just not the best finisher. He could also be lazy on the offense sometimes and had problems with the conditioning in the later stages of his career. His greatest achievement was winning the WBA Inter-Continental light heavyweight title in 2001 and the WBO Inter-Continental cruiserweight title in 2003, defending it once. He was also the Nordic light heavyweight champion after knocking out Klemetsen in 2 rounds.


Born 26 June 1974 in Oslo, Hansvoll won the Norwegian amateur title 3 times and also won 10 different competitions in Scandinavia and 1 in Austria between 1991 and 1994. He ended his amateur career with a record of 65-8. Naturally, as the ban on pro boxing was still on in Norway, he had to go to Denmark and sign with Team Palle to embark on a pro career. His first fight was 11 November '94 against the 10-11 Greg Scott Briggs, at the light heavyweight limit. Hansvoll won on points after 4 rounds. He won his next 6 fights also on points, and scored his first ko victory against Frank Newton, 12 January '96, stopping him by TKO 5 in Frederiksberg, Denmark. He then decisioned Undra White, a semi-contender from USA, who would later win by TKO against Dean Francis after Francis suffered a shoulder injury. His early fights were all 4 and 6 rounders but Hansvoll had his first 8 rounder in 1997, beating Paul Mason on points. Before that, he beat Rogerio Lobo, back then 10-0, by UD6. Lobo later fought Michael Moorer, Kelvin Davis and Kali Meehan. Hansvoll also scored a first-round knockout over 2-1 Carl Nicholson. After decisioning the tough trialhorse Vinson Durham, a former James Toney-opponent, in November '97 and drawing against Marco Antonio Duarte, Hansvoll experienced his first pro loss after 18 wins and 1 draw. Interestingly, it was against the same man that had previously, not long ago, knocked out his compatriot Ole Klemetsen-Peter Oboh, a Nigerian based in England. This fight was in Vejle, Denmark, 18 June '99, and Hansvoll was stopped by TKO 2 against the hard-hitting dark horse Oboh.


9 February 2001, he faced Klemetsen in a fight for the vacant Nordic lhw title but was disqualified after 2 rounds for hitting low. They had a rematch on 16 June, which would be Klemetsen's last fight, and this time Hansvoll won by a knockout in 2 rounds also, knocking Klemetsen out with a devastating short left hook to the chin. In his next fight which was on 24 November, he won the WBA Inter-Continental title by stopping Herve DeCloedt of Belgium by TKO 3. This victory made him a mandatory of the reigning WBA champion, Bruno Girard of France. The two faced off 23 May 2002 at Palais des Sports in Levallois-Perret, northern suburb of Paris. Hansvoll was too heavy before the fight and had to lose 2.5 pounds two days before the fight. Already in the first round, Hansvoll knocked Girard off balance with a hard left to the head, but Girard was tough and technically the more clever man and he remained composed, despite a follow up assault by Hansvoll. In round 3, Hansvoll stunned Girard with a quick left and later landed several good lefts and rights in the round. Girard responded with some clean shots of his own, but was never known as a very hard hitter, so Hansvoll was unmoved. After the 3rd round, Girard came forward and threw his long looping punches while Hansvoll answered with short, stiff counterpunches. Girard's longer arms gave him an advantage, as well as his boxing savvy. Girard shook Hansvoll in round 4 with a left hook and was the busier man in general in that round. Girard took over in the next two rounds as well, while Hansvoll seemed to fade and had problems penetrating Girard's defense. He only occasionally managed to land a good, clean punch through Girard's guard. Although he came back and won a couple more rounds at least, he was unable to get Girard in real trouble and also was bleeding from a cut in the face from round 10. In the end, he lost by the scores of 114-112 from the referee and 116-112 from the other two judges.


After winning one more fight at 175 by knocking out journeyman Jesse Corona in 2, Hansvoll decided to move up to cruiserweight, still having problems making the weight. In his very first fight there, he received a chance to win the vacant WBO Inter-Continental title. He fought against unrated Gabor Halasz of Hungary, 15 February 2003 in Helsinki, Finland. Even though Halasz curiously is listed at 6'1 on boxrec, he is actually around 6'5 and had 4 inches on the 6'1 Hansvoll. Despite that, Hansvoll battered him for 6 rounds with relative ease, before the fight was stopped at the end of that round. I saw the fight live on tv, by the way. ;-) Hansvoll made his only defense of the belt against former heavyweight contender Damon Reed, who infamously was knocked out in 52 seconds by Herbie Hide in a WBO-title fight in 1998. The 6-foot Reed was now fighting in a division more suited for him and he went the distance, losing by the scores of 120-108 twice and 119-109, in Mariehamn, Finland, 4 October that year. Hansvoll had weighed in at 190 for that fight, but for his next one he would weigh in 200, taking on the best Danish cruiserweight back then, Johny Jensen. Hansvoll had been inactive for 3 years before that fight, which was on 14 October 2006 in Parken, Copenhagen. In an 8-rounder, Hansvoll fought to a majority draw against the 19-0-1 Dane, losing on one card but the other two were even. That fight marked the end of his prime. In the next one, 23 June 2007, he fought against the up and coming future IBF champion, the 6'4 Yoan Pablo Hernandez, who was 10-0 coming in. At Stadthalle in Zwickau, Germany, where Hernandez was based, Hansvoll was blown out in 1 round. He had one more fight after that, beating Juan Manuel Garay of Argentina by UD6 on 21 June 2008.


He was now 34 and retired with a record of 26 wins, 8 by ko, 4 losses and 2 draws. He is now working as a guest commentator for boxing matches on Viasat Sport channel in Norway and he has also trained Simen Smaadal, a Norwegian pro boxer who retired in 2015 with 10 wins and 2 losses. He also made a documentary about Magne Havnaa, whom I've already written about. He is so far the last male Norwegian boxer who has fought for a world title in the classes above 130 and after Andreas Evensen (who lost to Ricky Burns in a 2010 WBO super feather title fight) the last Norwegian to fight for a world title. Thomas Hansvoll is definitely one of the best boxers Norway ever produced and at his best could give pretty much any light heavyweight or cruiserweight a hard fight.

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