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Lester Ellis-Master Blaster


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Carrying the fighting alias taken from the villain(s) of the movie "Mad Max 3", Lester Ellis was an exciting action fighter who captured the IBF super feather title, IBO light, light welter and super welter titles and the Commonwealth super feather and light welter titles. Ellis also became a kickboxer later, but didn't have a long career, as he was already in advanced age for a professional fighter. His main domestic rival was Barry Michael, whom he lost his IBF title to. Ellis was known as a hard hitter, hence his nickname, but wasn't a very polished fighter technically perhaps. Here is some info on his life and career.

 

Like his rival Barry Michael, Ellis was born in England, Blackpool, 15 March 1965, and moved to Australia with his family when he was 3, settling in Melbourne. When he was 5, his mother left him and his family and he and his two older brothers were from there on raised by their father, Keith Ellis sr. Lester took this hard and grew to become resentful of authority figures. This in turn led him to start boxing at the age of 12, because he hated going to school. His first trainer was Matthew Quinn, who taught him how to harness his anger through boxing. His oldest brother, Keith jr, also helped as a cornerman and young Lester quickly rose in the amateur ranks, winning 4 national and 6 Victoria State titles and finishing with a record of 45-5. Because he started boxing as rather young, he also turned pro young, at 18. His first fight took place on 24 April 1983, at Preston Town Hall in Melbourne. He beat a guy called Ben Lappori by KO 3. None of his first 11 fights went the distance, one being stopped due to an injury and the rest he won by knockout. It wasn't until his 12th that he had to go 10 rounds against a guy called Steve Sims and he won the decision. He won one more fight before facing John Sichula of Zambia for the Commonwealth super feather title, 16 November 1984 at the Festival Hall in Melbourne. It was a tough fight against the 17-0-1 Sichula, but Ellis prevailed by a SD 12 in the end. This victory opened doors for him to fight for the IBF title, which he did on 15 February next year, against South Korean champion Hwan Kil Yuh, again at Festival Hall. After 15 hard fought rounds, Ellis was proclaimed as the winner by another split decision. Only the South Korean judge had Yuh winning. Only 2 months later, Ellis made his first defense, fighting Rod Sequenan of the Philippines, 26 April, at Festival Hall, Melbourne. Ellis was ahead on all scorecards when he knocked Sequenan out in round 13, thus retaining or defending his title for the first time.

 

The downfall would come in the shape of Barry Michael, who was 10 years older and a hardy veteran of many fights, and who had progressed as a fighter since then. The fight was massively hyped and covered in Australian media as both were popular at the time and the only famous boxers from Australia, apart from a young Jeff Fenech who had just won his first world title. Michael was naturally bigger tho, because he used to fight at 135 and 140, and far more experienced. He also used trashtalk, both before and during the fight, to discourage Ellis and get in his head-and it worked. It was on 12 July '85 that Ellis found himself losing his title by a wide UD on all scorecards. What was worse was the fact that they used to spar together and Michael therefore knew him very well, he knew his weaknesses and strengths, while Ellis was too young and inexperienced to take advantage of his opponent's weaknesses. Even worse, at the end of that 1985, Ellis got stopped by a TKO 4 in a rematch against John Sichula, in a fight above 130. He continued to win and beat the faded former WBA lightweight champion Ernesto Espana by UD10 on 13 March 1987. He had left the 130 division and was now focusing on the light welter division. On 16 March '88 he beat Pat Leglise by TKO 5 to win the Australian title at 140, after knocking him down twice and cutting him on the forehead. On 4 August that year, he also won the Commonwealth title by UD 12 against Tony Laing, almost stopping him in the final round. He then stopped Robert Harkin by TKO 4 after having him down in the 3rd and 4th, 13 October that same year. He lost the title in his second defense however, 21 March next year, after getting stopped by TKO 11 by Steve Larrimore; he was ahead on the scorecards when he got overwhelmed and stopped on his feet, with one more round to go.

 

He now looked like he had hit the bottom, after also losing to Alberto Cortes by RTD 6 in 1990, due to getting blurred vision, and in his next fight against Attila Fogas by split decision, in 1991. He then won 3 fights before fighting the former IBF feather champion Calvin Grove on 6 September '93 and dropping a split decision to him at home in Melbourne. However, he experienced his final triumph on 3 December '94, when he beat Al Coquilla by KO 1 to win the vacant IBO light welter title. On 10 March next year, he also won the light version of it on points against Amado Cabado, but chose to vacate it and went up to 154(!) to win the IBO title there as well, by UD 12 against Eric Alexander, 17 July '95. He however vacated it to move back down in weight. He first had a minor welterweight fight, before going all the way down to lightweight, which was obviously a mistake, because he got stopped in a rematch with Calvin Grove by a TKO 4. Grove was never known as a hard hitter and that fight, which happened on 29 April '96 in Melbourne, brought forth the end of Ellis' career. He would return one more time in 2002 to fight Anthony Mundine, 10 years his junior, in a super middleweight fight. It was on 15 July at Vodafone Arena that he was easily handled by Mundine and stopped by TKO 3 and thus said farewell in a spectacular manner, one might say. He finally retired with a record of 41 wins, 28 by ko, and 8 losses, 5 by ko.

 

It was in 2000 that he had a couple kickboxing fights, winning them both, one on points and one by a KO 1. Lester Ellis was simply a true warrior and never backed down from a challenge, which made him beloved in Australia and in boxing circles in general. He was every matchmaker's dream. One can argue that he entered the pro ranks a bit too early and thus "bottomed out" too early, or hit his peak early. While his championship reign was a little shorter than that of his rival Barry Michael and not quite as glamorous, he was certainly one of the best Aussie fighters in the 80's and early 90's. With his aggressive, hard-hitting style, he could always draw a crowd down under. In 2007, his autobiography, titled "Fighting the Demons" came out, where it is revealed he lost his wife and three kids due to heavy drinking and angry, abusive behavior. Like another former world champion from Down Under, Jeff Harding, he has since sobered up. Thank you for reading about Lester Ellis-MASTER BLASTER!

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