Rahman Takes On Toney

15.01.06- Two powerful forces will collide when world heavyweight champion Hasim 'The Rock' Rahman of Baltimore takes on challenger James 'Lights Out' Toney of Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the World Heavyweight Championship hosted by Caesars Atlantic City at the famous Boardwalk Hall on Saturday, March 18. "This is the biggest heavyweight title fight around," said Bob Arum of Top Rank. "It's a very competitive fight and I personally cannot wait to see it."

Tickets are $500, $350, $250, $150, $50 and are available at the Boardwalk Hall Box Office or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-736-1420 or by visiting

Rahman, 41-5-1 with 33 knockouts, is the holder of the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight belt which will be on the line against Toney, 69-4-2 with 43 knockouts. Toney is a three-time world champion and is unbeaten in his last 16 bouts, 15-0-0 with one no-decision, dating to June, 1997.

At the age of 32, Rahman is an 11-year pro. A two-time heavyweight world champion, he won the WBC interim heavyweight world title in his last fight on August 13, 2005, with a 12-round unanimous decision against Monte Barrett.

Rahman was first scheduled to challenge WBC world champion Vitali Klitschko on April 30 for the title, but the fight was postponed and rescheduled twice - on June 18 and July 23 - due to injuries sustained by Klitschko. The WBC authorized the fight for the interim title in Klitschko's absence, with the condition that Klitschko fight the winner in his next fight.

Hasim was again scheduled to fight Klitschko on November 12, but Klitschko was again injured in training and retired.

Having won the interim world title and the world title vacated, according to WBC rules, Rahman became WBC heavyweight world champion. It was the same WBC rule that applied when Lennox Lewis and Ken Norton became WBC heavyweight world champions after winning final world title eliminators.

In his first heavyweight title reign, Rahman won the title in the ring - he won the WBC-IBF heavyweight world titles in April, 2001, with a spectacular one-punch knockout win against defending champion Lennox Lewis. But he lost the title back to Lewis in his next fight the following November, again by spectacular one-punch knockout.

Toney, 37, is experienced against top opposition, and has fought former heavyweight world champions John Ruiz (W 12, later changed to No Decision) and Evander Holyfield (TKO 9, also a former cruiserweight world champion); former cruiserweight world champions Vassiliy Jirov (W 12) and Adolpho Washington (TKO 10); former light heavyweight world champions Charles Williams (KO 12), Mike McCallum three times (W 12, W 12, and D 12, also a middleweight and jr. middleweight world champion), Iran Barkley (TKO 9, also a super middleweight and middleweight world champion), and Reggie Johnson (W 12, also a middleweight world champion); former super middleweight champions Steve Little (W 12) and Michael Nunn (TKO 11, also a middleweight world champion); and former middleweight world champion Doug DeWitt (TKO 6).

Regarding his nickname, James said, "Greg Owens, the guy that started me out, he had gave it to me. We were going through a roll of nicknames when I turned professional. He said everybody got 'Too Sweet' and names like that. So he heard this song called 'Lights Out' or something like that, and it just stuck ever since then."

Rahman vs. Toney will be promoted by Top Rank in association with Caesars Atlantic City. Rahman vs. Toney will be available on HBO World Championship Boxing at 10 pm eastern, 7 pm pacific.

Article posted on 15.01.2006

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