Born In: Atmore, Alabama, United States
Evander Holyfield is an American former professional boxer who is famous by his nickname ‘The Real Deal’. He is the only boxer in the history to win undisputed championship in two weight classes, i.e., in cruiserweight and heavyweight. He started boxing at an early age in the streets and his talent helped him to sustain a 28 years long boxing career. He participated in 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in ‘light heavyweight’ category. He started professional boxing as a ‘light heavyweight’ boxer and then moved to ‘cruiserweight’ and finally into ‘heavyweight’ category. His professional boxing career started with a streak of wins making him the undisputed and undefeated world heavyweight champion of his time. Unlike his boxing career, his personal life was full of ups and downs. Due to his spending habits and multiple failed businesses, he suffered financially despite being a successful boxer.
Also Known As: The Real Deal, The Warrior
Spouse/Ex-: Candi Calvana Smith, Janice Itson, Paulette Bowen
father: Isom Coley
mother: Annie Laura Holyfield
siblings: Bernard Holyfield
children: Ebonne Esheal Holyfield, Eden Eloise Holyfield, Eleazar Evan Holyfield, Eli Ethan Holyfield, Elijah Esaias Holyfield, Elijah Holyfield, Elijah Jedidiah Holyfield, Emani Holyfield, Emani Winter Holyfield, Evan Holyfield, Evander Holyfield Jr., Eve Elizabeth Holyfield, Evette Ashley Holyfield, Evette Holyfield, Ewin Ezekiel Holyfield, Ewin Holyfield
Born Country: United States
Founder/Co-Founder: Holyfield's Real Deal Records
Evander Holyfield was born on 19 October 1962, in Atmore, Alabama, to Annie Laura Holyfield and Isom Coley. His mother worked as a cook in a restaurant. He was the youngest among his eight siblings and was born from a different father.
His family shifted to Atlanta, Georgia, when he was 4 years old. He was brought up in Bowen Homes Housing Projects which was full of crime at that time. In 1980, he graduated from Fulton high school.
Evander Holyfield started boxing at the tender age of seven. He used to fight on the streets. In early days of his boxing career a boy named Cecil Brown, beat Evander Holyfield twice, disappointing him enough to quit boxing. However, he mustered courage to fight him the third time and finally won.
At the age of eight, Holyfield joined Boys & Girls Club. He was introduced to the field of professional boxing by Carter Morgan. Soon he won the boys club boxing tournament. He became eligible to compete in the first junior Olympics by the age of 13. At 15, he won Southeastern Regional Championship and the best boxer award.
He represented the United States in the 1983 Pan American games in Caracas, Venezuela. He lost final to Pablo Romero of Cuba and had to be content with a silver medal.
Evander Holyfield won the National Golden Gloves tournament in 1984. He represented United States in light heavyweight division of boxing in 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles California. He was bronze medalist in his category. By the end of 1984 he held a record of 160 wins (76KO) and 14 losses, as an Amateur boxer.
On Nov 15,1984, he debuted as a professional boxer and began his journey in light heavyweight division. He won his debut fight against Lionel Byarm in six rounds.
Evander Holyfield upgraded himself to cruiserweight division for his fight against Tyrone Booze on July 20, 1985. He won the fight with an eight-round decision.
His first world title fight ‘WBA Cruiserweight Championship’ was against Dwight Muhammad Qawi, in 1986. He became a world champion by winning the fight with 15-round split decision. The fight was recognized as the best cruiserweight bout of the 1980s by The Ring magazine.
In 1987, he won IBF belt by fighting against Ricky Parkey. He knocked out Ricky Parkey in third round.
In 1988 Evander Holyfield defeated the Lineal & WBC champion, Carlos De Leon, in Las Vegas. The fight finished within eight rounds. This victory spurred Holyfield’s fame all over the world. After this fight he moved to heavyweight category.
The first heavyweight bout of his career was against James “Quick” Tillis which he won by a knockout in round five. He defeated former heavyweight champion Pinklon Thomas in his final bout of 1988 with a knockout in seventh round.
The year 1989 began with a fight with another former heavyweight champion Michael Dokes. He secured the win with a knockout in 10th round. The fight was called as the ‘best heavyweight bout of the 1980s’ by The Ring magazine. Holyfield fought many boxers and achieved win in all of his fights this made him Ring magazine’s number one contender for Heavyweight title for two years.
On October 25, 1990, Evander Holyfield faced Buster Douglas for the heavyweight title. He knocked out Buster Douglas in the third round which made him the new undefeated undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
He was first challenged by George Foreman for the heavyweight title, he won the fight by unanimous decision. The bout was called ‘battle for the ages’ due to the big age difference between both fighters.
On 13 November, 1992 Evander Holyfield suffered the first loss of his career while fighting against Riddick Bowe. Riddick Bowe became the greatest rival of his boxing career. They had a rematch on November 6, 1993, in which Holyfield emerged as a winner. The rematch fight was known as “Fan man fight” due to the intervention of a fan who landed in the ring with a parachute. On November 4, 1995 the third and final fight known as the final chapter was won by Riddick Bowe.
In April,1994, Evander Holyfield lost the fight against former WBO light heavyweight champion Michael Moore. Holyfield announced his retirement after the fight as was found to be diagnosed with a heart condition. However, he came out of retirement with a win against Ray Mercer.
Holyfield fought the boxing legend Mike Tyson for the first time in 1996. Holyfield shocked everyone by defeating Mike Tyson by technical knockout in round 11. The rematch between both of them is one of the most controversial bouts in the boxing history as Mike Tyson bit the ear of Evander Holyfield. The act led to disqualification of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield was declared as a winner.
In 1999, his biggest fight was against Lennox Lewis. The first fight between them was a draw while Lennox Lewis defeated Holyfield in the rematch.
In 2000, Holyfield met John Ruiz in the ring for the heavyweight title, Holyfield won the match by unanimous decision. They came together for a rematch in March 2001 in which John Ruiz beat Holyfield with a 12-round decision. The final third match between them was a draw.
He started 2002 with a win against Hasim Rahman. After that he lost three consecutive fighting fights Chris Byrd, James Toney and Larry Donald, respectively.
In 2006, Holyfield made a comeback by defeating Jeremy Bates and Fres Oquendo. He defeated Vinny Maddalone and Lou Savarese, in 2007, but lost against Sultan Ibragimov the same year.
On 20 December 2008, he lost to Nikolai Valuev in a World Heavyweight Championship match. His next fight was against Francois Botha which he won by a knockout.
On Nov 5, 2010, his about against Sherman “The tank” Williams was ruled as no contest due to injury. His last fight was against Brian Nielsen; he won the fight with a technical knockout (in May 2011).
He announced his retirement in June 2014. At present, he works as a boxing adviser to Zhang Zhilei. He lost the exhibition fight against Vitor Belfort on September 11, 2021 by a knockout.
Evander Holyfield is the only four-time Word Heavyweight Champion in the history of boxing. In 2000, he defeated John Ruiz to become the first boxer in the history to become the World Heavyweight Champion 4th time.
From 1990 to 1992, he held WBA, WBC and IBF titles together.
Evander Holyfield was married thrice: Paulette Bowen (1985-91), Janice Itson (1996-2000) and Candi Calvana Smith (2003-12). He is father of eleven children, 5 daughters and 6 sons. His son named Evan became a professional boxer.
Due to mismanagement of money, he suffered financially despite earning US $513 million over his boxing career. There were allegations of use of steroids against him, however he always refuted the claims.
His favorite artist is Jim Morrison.
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