Movie goers amongst us may think that the only link between boxing and Adam Sandler movie "Happy Gilmore" is Carl Weathers. The actor who featured prominently in the "Rocky" series as "Apollo Creed" and also featured in "Happy Gilmore" (as "Chubbs Peterson"). We'd be wrong thanks to Russian Super Featherweight Evgeny Chuprakov (3-0, 2 at the time of writing).
The young Russian first made his name in his home country as an amateur at the turn of the decade when he fought in a number of low level competitions including the 208 Russian Junior National Championships. Sadly Chuprakov never really made a big splash in the amateurs and turned professional in 2011 aged just 21.
On debut Chuprakov in December 2011 stopped Ivan Varlamov inside 2 rounds before bagging his second win within a week as he out pointed Shavkat Madaminov just 4 days later.
Despite starting his career with 2 wins inside a week Chuprakov has only fought once since December 2011, scoring a 2nd round TKO victory over Suhrobjon Usmonov. He is now expected to return to the ring to face a yet to be announced opponent on January 24th.
Between 1980 and 1997 Oklahoma native Jerry Halstead fought an impressive 105 times recording a remarkable record of 84-19-1-1 (62). As well as the numerous fights he had he also claimed the lightly regarded WAA Super Middleweight world title in 1982 by stopping Ronnie Brown.
Whilst all boxing fans know that the Oklahoma boxing scene is somewhat poor Halstead did decide to extend himself outside of the state borders and in 1986 he tasted true world class as he was stopped by Greg Page, a former WBA Heavyweight champion.
Over the course of the following 11 years Halstead would go on to face Tony Tubbs, James Douglas, Tommy Morrison, Ray Mercer, Alex Stewart, Herbie Hide, Brian Nielsen (See Brian Who?), Jeremy Williams, Ruediger May and current Heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko. In total that was 7 recognised Heavyweight world champions, a European champion and several other top contenders.
Somehow despite his competition and his impressive record (and 17 year long career) Halstead was known by the unflattering name of "Wimpy". What makes it even more amusing is that Halstead looked like a genuine tough guy with an angry face early in his career. Sadly by the time he fought Klitschko in 1997, well into his 30's, the 6'1" Halstead was starting to look a little bloated and a little less mean.
Sadly outside of the ring Halstead has been in trouble with the law with numerous driving offenses including one that sadly killed his wife.
Footage of the Halstead v Klitschko fight, the final bout of Halstead's career, can be seen below thanks to andriyked
After a recent discussion on popular boxing forum "Ringnews24" I've decided to do a group post here under the title "Zimbabwean Heavyweights". As you're almost certainly aware Zimbabwe doesn't have the greatest record for boxers, with arguably the best known fighter from Zimbabwe being Derrick Chisora (15-4, 9). Though that hasn't stopped them from having some of the greatest names in sporting history.
Lets start with maybe the most controversial "Hitler The Killer" (0-2). Hitler made his debut in 1977 losing in 2 rounds to Howard Chisango who would twice challenge for the Zimbabwean national Light Heavyweight title. After taking 5 years out from the sport Hitler returned and was stopped again, this time in 5 rounds by Hisman 'Flash' Chisango. Interestingly in 1984 Hisman 'Flash' Chisango went on to beat George Foreman for the Central African Light Heavyweight Title (yes it wasn't that George Foreman!).
Rather nicely George Foreman links us wonderfully to two another amazingly named Zimbabwean Heavyweights. The best of those two names is Captain Cleopas Marvel (3-10, 1) who I'm sure must be the closest thing to a super hero Zimbabwean boxing has ever seen. Mr Marvel fought 13 times between 1982 and 1990 and actually made his debut against the other wonderful name on George Foreman's record, a man named Proud Kilimanjaro (32-6-0-1, 28) who was certainly the stand out of the fighters.
Kilimanjaro (real name Proud Chinembriri) made his debut in 1981 stopping Black Tiger in his debut and claimed various titles through out the 1980's and challenger for the Commonwealth Heavyweight title before losing to the talented Brit Horace Notice in 1987 (this fight can be seen at the bottom of this post). He eventually hung up his gloves in 1990, but not before facing some other wonderfully named fighters himself.
Included in the other names on Kilimanjaro's record were the Beatles inspired "Walter Ringo Starr" (7-8, 3) who actually had his career ended by Kilimanjaro in 1982 when Star was stopped inside a round in a bout for the Zimbabwean Heavyweight title. Starr had himself been around since since 1974 and had, in a clash of popular music, been stopped by South African Robbie Williams in 1979 (Williams is himself remembered for almost claiming the WBA Cruiserweight title from Ossie Ocassio).
Possibly the best name that Kilimanjaro faced however was Jukebox Timebomb (2-3, 2) who debuted in 1985 by stopping Elisha Kanyeala before losing to Kilimanjaro in his second bout. Funnily before retiring in 1991 Timebomb had himself scored a win over a great named fighter with a stoppage over a man known as Bonyongo Destroyer (0-6). Bonyongo Destroyer (real name John Mutema) was stopped in all 6 of his bouts between 1989 and 1998 including a 1 round blow out to one time British champion James Oyebola.
Whilst Hitler the Killer is arguably the most offensive, he does have stiff competition as I take this post full circle and give you Sando First Son the Devil (0-1) who fought a solitary bout in 1978 losing to Allan Joseph on points.
Credit for the video below goes to ohyeah445
Sometimes fighters are better known by their nicknames than their real names. Whilst it's quite rare, especially now-a-days with the internet, it sometimes serves a real purpose. One example is that of former Armenia fighter Archak TerMeliksetian (16-8, 13).
If you wish to try and say Archak TerMeliksetian you can feel free, for me however he will always be "Shark Attack". Whilst I'm not saying "Shark Attack" was a great nickname, it was a hell of a lot easier to say than his real name.
TerMeliksetian started his professional career in 2002, fighting out of New Jersey. He started well with 8 straight wins, 7 by KO (impressively 6 of those came in the opening round) before being stopped himself by the equally impossible to pronounce Nurhan Suleymanoglu.
"Shark Attack" bounced back well from his first professional loss by stringing together 7 more wins (5 of those by T/KO) to move to 15-1 (12) before his career started to call apart. Between November 2005 and October 2009 Archak scored only 1 win, losing 7 fights. Amongst those 7 losses were known fighters such as Sechew Powell (LUD10), Giovanni Lorenzo (TKO7), Sergio Mora (TKO7), Alfredo Angulo (TKO1) and Sergio Gabriel Martinez (TKO7).
Since losing last time out to Nelson Linares, way back in 2009, "Shark Attack" hasn't been seen hunting any prey in the ring, thankfully saving the blushes of every commentator unable to pronounce his name.
All boxing fans have heard of Eric "Butterbean" Esch. The larger than life American Heavyweight who has been featured not only in a boxing ring but also in a wide variety of media including Jackass, WWF, Big Law: Deputy Butterbean, Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling and various other TV shows. He is after all a very, very well known fighter, even if he was more of a comedy figure than a world level boxer.
Less well known how ever is Finnish Heavyweight Janne Johannes Katajisto (11-0-1, 5), who scored his biggest win so far just a few weeks ago by defeating veteran Brit Danny Williams (44-12-0-1, 33) by 8 round unanimous decision. Despite being much less well known Katajisto has a well known nickname, the "Finnish Butterbean", this is due to his physical similarity to Esch.
Like Esch, Katajisto is a short round and skin headed fighter with more rolls around the middle than any human should have, so the nickname was always an obvious one Though sadly at 33 years old the "Finnish Butterbean" is unlikely to ever make any where near the same sizable (excuse the pun) splash as the original Butterbean.
Katajisto made his debut back in 2009 (see the video below for that) and won his first 8 bouts claiming the very lightly regarded Baltic Boxing Union International Heavyweight title along the way.
In his 9th professional bout Katajisto could only score a draw with Latvian journeyman Pavels Dolgovs, the only so far on Katajisto's record. Since then however he has strung together 3 successive victories (including the decision win over Williams) which has seen him becoming the Finnish Heavyweight Champion. Though real questions do need to be asked about just how far he will go.
Video here thanks to MiikaF (it's of Katajisto's debut v Igor Evseev)
This coming weekend see's the fifth professional bout for 24 year old American Derrick Murray (4-0, 3). Whilst there lots of good nicknames out there, I think Murray genuinely has one of the most amusing as he is known as "Whoop Dat Ass".
Murray made his professional debut back in April 2011 and scored a 3rd round TKO over James Grant before adding 3 more victories this year. He'll be looking for victory number on Friday as he faces the unbeaten Ecuadorian Pedro Toledo (1-0) at the Doubletree Hotel, Ontario, California.
Apparently given the nickname by co-manager Rick Repo, I'd say that Repo and Murray have made an excellent choice. Not only is memorable but it's also pretty original and if he fails in boxing Murray could become a farm hand helping with disobedient donkey's.
On this site I've tended to stay away from the Amateur boxing scene. In all honesty I don't tend to follow it, I don't tend to care too much for it and what I do what I tend to feel is badly scored and frustrating to make sense of. Just take the recent Olympics for example where poor scoring, poor decisions and some awful officiating really made the tournament unwatchable at times. However when I do look at amateur boxing for this site, I tend to find something a bit special....such as Ghana's amazingly named Prince Octopus Dzanie.
The royally named Octopoda honestly has one of the best names I've ever seen in sport. Not only has it got animal links (where are always brilliant) but he's also got the royal theme which makes the name doubly brilliant. Sadly however Dzanie's most memorable moment inside the ring was an 11:2 loss to Cuban Idel Torriente in the 2008 Olympic games.
Although it was rumoured in 2011 that Dzanie was about to turn professional it seems that his debut was cancelled, though I'm not sure what he's gone on to do since then...however he was featured, at least by name on British TV show "A Question Of Sport", as you can see in the clip below.
Clip courtesy of BBC
No, not this type of trash!
Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (85-4-2, 45) is one of the greatest Flyweights of all time though his doubters like to point out that he's fought some rubbish to pad his record. Amazingly however if you ever do go through Wonjongkam's record you will not see any rubbish, you will however see trash, Trash Nakanuma (27-6, 12) that is.
Although a relatively fighter (certainly in the West) Nakanuma was a Japanese Flyweight who fought between 1993 and 2006 who twice fought for the world title in a career that was actually a lot more respectable than his unfortunate name.
Born Masaki Nakanuma in 1975 I'll admit I'm not sure where the disparaging "Trash" moniker came from though "Trash" did become the name by which he is known in boxing circles. Nakanuma debuted in 1993 and defeated Ayumi Oki by TKO 2 and over the following few years Nakanuma recorded a 13-2 (3) record.
After starting his career well Nakanuma took almost 2 years out of the ring before returning to face Kenichiro Hamaguchi in a memorable bout that saw Nakanuma attempt to fight with a rabbit tail before referee Masakazu Uchida ripped it off (causing the crowd in attendance to roar with laughter). The victory over Hamagushi kick-started Nakanuma's career and over the following years he followed up with notable wins over Panieng Poontarat and future world champion Takefumi Sakata. The win over Sakata saw "Trash" claiming the Japanese Flyweight title, a title he would defend twice before losing it back to Sakata in 2003.
Following the loss to Takefumi Sakata, Trash attempted to claim the OPBF Flyweight title from Noriyuki Komatsu. Komatsu managed to narrowly outpoint Trash in an incredibly close bout and Trash's record fell to a less than flattering 23-4 (10) however he had proven himself to be a credible contender.
Following losses to both Sakata and Komatsu, Trash then got his chance at the big time as he faced the then WBC Pongsaklek Wongjongkam. Despite being an under-dog against Wonjongkam (who was then 49-2) Trash put up an excellent battle and took the legendary Thai incredibly close. Whilst Wonjongkam never looked in real danger he was pushed close especially in the 12th round as Trash went all out looking for the upset.
After recording 2 wins, including claiming the OPBF title from Noriyuki Komatsu (and gaining revenge for that loss) Trash again got a chance at the big time as he faced the then unbeaten WBA Flyweight champion Lorenzo Parra. Like he did against Wonjongkam, Trash put up an excellent bout and forced Parra to really do all he could to survive in the final 2 rounds and actually dropped Parra just after the bell. Sadly however Parra had bagged enough rounds to successfully defend his title.
Following the loss to Parra, Trash spent a year out of the ring before returning to defeat Pingping Tepura and Jojo Bardon before retiring aged 31 in 2006.
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.
Sometimes a fighter can genuinely live up to their name and one such case is the rather unfortunate Ronnie Fails (0-6) a former Cruiserweight who fought between 1991 and 1997. Sadly, I believe in aptronym and as a result I assume if your name is “Fails” you are bound to suck at whatever you choose to do with your life and as Fails's record indicated he wasn't much of a boxer.
Fails made his professional debut in Augst 1991 and faced Bill Corrigan with Corrigan winning a decision, the two men rematched just months later with Corrigan again winning the bout. Amazingly Corrigan would later go on to fight a who's who of the heavyweight division including David Tua, Mike Weaver, Bruce Seldon, Frans Botha, David Izon, Wladimir Klitschko, Damon Reed and Joe Hipp.
Following the back to back loss to Corrigan it seemed as if Fails would try his luck against some one else, sadly that just gave the chance to Zeb Wilson to pick up a win, which he did over the 4 round distance. This was to be the last win for Wilson who was knocked out in a round in his next bout by the hard punching David Izeqwire (who later go on to win the IBO Cruiserweight title).
Fails returned to the ring just days after losing to Wilson and was stopped for the first (and only) time in his career by Steve Brewer. Brewer's win over was then followed by Brewer going 6-17 in a career that ended in 2000 and saw him facing a young and emerging Montell Griffin in 1994.
After the loss to Brewer Fails took a year and a half away from the sport before returning to the ring to face Rocky Graziano Jr (sadly no relation to the great Middleweight champion). Graziano, like Corrigan and Wilson managed to outpoint Fail over 4 rounds. Graziano himself had a bit of a bizarre career fighting his most recent fight in 2009 just 8 days before his 46th birthday and seems to have retired with a record of 4-1-0-1 (3).
Fails appeared to hang up his gloves after losing to Graziano and was out of the ring for over 3 and a half years before dusting off the old trunks and returning to the ring to face the wonderfully named Harry Funmaker. Funmaker would score a 4 round decision over Fail in what would be Fail's last fight as a professional. Amazingly Funmaker actually went on to have a trilogy of fights with Eric “Butterbean” Esch winning 1 of the 3 fights.
Whilst we do feel a little big sorry for Fail who seems to have been unluckily struck by nominative determinism it's interesting to see that a number of his opponents did fight in much bigger fights than Fail ever managed.