If you are a soccer fan you'll have probably seen the name "George Best" and gone to yourself "he wasn't a boxer". You may be surprised however to find out that George Best was actually an obscure boxer from Ghana who must go down as having one of the most ironic nicknames of all time.
George "Strictly The" Best (5-8-2, 5) was a Ghanian Welterweight who debuted back in 1991 where he defeated Julian Anoumou (KO2) in Togo. Best would swiftly add 2 more recorded wins both by KO2 before vanishing from the record books for over 2 years. Best resurfaced in November 1993 when he suffered his first career loss, a TKO6 reverse to Marciano Commey.
Following his loss to Commey, Best again vanished from the sport before returning in the United States at the end of the 1990's. On his US debut Best was beaten by Del Matchett (LTKO4) and this was followed by 4 more losses in his next 5 fights including losses to Anthony "The Candyman" Chase (twice, UD4 and LTKO5), Rohnique Posey (who debuted by stopping Best in a round) and Juan Diaz (LTKO2, no, not the Baby Bull). The only win during those 5 fights was a KO2 win over Connor Higgins.
Having seen his record fall to 4-6 (4) it was fair to say that George was not, "Strictly The" best however it didn't stop Best trying to prove he was the best. In his 11th professional bout Best drew with Nigerian Ike Ezeji and then scored his 5th and final win by stopping Rodney Brown (TKO3).
In Best's first fight of 2001 he managed to survive 8 rounds before being out pointed by Kevin Collins and then Best faced his highest profile opponent-one time future world champion Luis Collazo. Collazo proved to be in a different class and needed less than 2 rounds to stop Best, who by now was looking nothing like "Strictly The Best".
Best's career came to an end in July 2001 in a rematch with old rival Kevin Collins over the USA New York State Welterweight title with the bout ending in a technical draw after 6 rounds.
George "Strictly The" Best may have one of the most interesting nicknames in the sport however it may also just happen to the most misleading nickname ever used in sporting history.
Boxing nicknames come in all shapes and forms with many of them being simply ridiculous. One of the most ridiculous was that used by Richel Hersisia (32-3, 25), a fairly obscure Heavyweight from the Netherlands who went by the moniker “The Dutch Sonny Liston”. Whilst the real Sonny Liston was a legendary Heavyweight in the 1950's and 1960's beating the likes of Floyd Patterson, Zora Folley, Cleveland Williams and Eddie Machen his Dutch counterpart was much less successful.
Herisia turned professional in 2001 after having had a reported amateur record of 25-0 (23) and swiftly advanced his professional record to 8-0 (7) scoring wins in a number of European countries including the Netherlands, Germany Poland and Denmark. Over the following 2 years Herisia would add a further 13 wins to move to 21-0 (16) against abject opposition whilst also claiming three professional titles including the Dutch national title and the very lightly regarded WBF Heavyweight title. It was to be the WBF title that would help Herisia have his first major moment in the sun.
In 2004 Herisia would have his most well known bout as he travelled to London, England to face Olympic Gold Medal winner Audley Harrison who was challenging for the WBF title held by Hersisia. At this point in time Harrison's fights were shown on the BBC and he was 14-0, with a lot of expectation on his shoulders and this allowed the British public their chance to see “The Dutch Sonny Liston” in action. After 3 very dull rounds Harrison would eventually spring to life in round 4 stopping Hersisia after a wonderful combination that sent the “champion” down.
Following the loss to Harrison Hersisia would go back to fighting in obscurity against limited opponents winning his next 8 bouts (7 by knockout) to move to 29-1 (23). With his confidence rebuilt Hersisia would then face the still promising Taras Bydenko (who was then 22-2) in a bout for the WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title. Whilst Hersisia made a solid account of himself he was still beaten by Bydenko on all 3 cards.
Following the loss to Bydenko Hersisia would fight just 4 more times recording 3 wins and a notable loss to former world champion “Merciless” Ray Mercer (who was 47 years old at the time) before hanging up his gloves in 2009 with a final career record of 32-3 (25). Hersisia's reign as “The Dutch Sonny Liston” seems to have finally ended.
The videos below show the bout (and introductions) of Hersisia v Harrison and are both thanks to AudleyHarrisonFights