View Full Version : Lesser champions vol. 1: Johnny Nelson

07-06-2010, 10:45 AM
This is an idea that I got, to make a continuous thread about lesser known champions, guys that reigned for a long time but were never that much in the spotlight. The purpose of this is to introduce them to you who have never heard of them and to kind of "give them their due". Ok, the first guy out is:

Johnny Nelson


Birth name: Ivanson Ranny Nelson
Born: 1967 4th January, Sheffield
Alias: The Entertainer
Hometown: Sheffield
Height: 6'2 1/2
Reach: 81"/206 cm
Career span: 1986-2005
Merits: WBO Cruiserweight Champion 1999-2005 (13 defenses)

What's so noteworthy about him? Well, he lost his first three professional matches and became a champion at 32. Turning pro in '86, he won the BBBofC British CW title three years later. He then challenged Carlos De Leon for the WBC title, but got a draw in a performance which he himself described as cowardly, in front of his home crowd in Sheffield. That would discourage most fighters and make them quit the sport, but not Johnny. Furthermore, in the next five years he lost 7 matches, among them the IBF title fight against James Warring (by UD). But after that, he would never lose a fight again. In '97 he captured the European title and two years later challenged Carl "The Cat" Thompson for the WBO belt. Thompson was already a hardened veteran known for his exciting battles and had already beaten Chris Eubank twice. Nelson surprised many by stopping him by a 5th round tko. Thus began one of the longest title reigns in British boxing history.

Johnny would defend his belt 13 times in all and reign for six years, his most notable fights being against former WBC champ Marcelo Fabian Dominguez (UD), fellow Carl Thompson-conqueror Ezra Sellers (KO8), current WBA champ Guillermo Jones (D) and leading European contenders Ruediger May (TKO7) and Vincenzo Cantatore (SD). He was scheduled to make his 14th defence against new up and comer Enzo Maccarinelli on the undercard of Calzaghe/Lacy fight, but he picked up an injury and the fight was cancelled. In September that year, Nelson announced his retirement. He left behind a record of 45 wins with 29 kos, 12 losses and 2 draws.

Johnny Nelson is the living proof that determination and spirit can be as essential in boxing as skills and punching power. He has risen from antihero to hero, from a loser to a champion. He remains an icon in his country and especially his hometown Sheffield. He has published an autobiography called Hard Road to Glory. A more apropriate title he could not choose.

Sweet Pea
07-08-2010, 05:52 PM
This is good work, brother.

07-08-2010, 06:05 PM
This is good work, brother.
Thanks, brother.:) I thought the man deserved a thread of his own. Next up: Ayub Kalule.:D