55 Years Ago Today: The Great Bob Foster Levels Dick Tiger To Become Light Heavyweight King

By James Slater - 05/24/2023 - Comments

One of the most fearsome light heavyweight bangers in the annals of the division, the great Bob Foster became world champion on this day back in 1968. Foster, tall and lanky yet packing a wallop that could shake a building, was 26 years of age and the warrior from Albuquerque was sporting a 29-4(23) record. Three of these early losses came against heavyweights, Doug Jones, Ernie Terrell and Zora Folley, with Foster again trying his hand in the heavyweight division years later, this also proving unsuccessful.

But as a 175 pounder, Foster was a wrecking machine, as defending world champ Dick Tiger found out. The two met at Madison Square Garden and African great Tiger was making the third defence of his crown. Tiger, at age 38 and with two reigns as world middleweight champ behind him, was past his very best but he was still dangerous, tough and ever so game. At 57-17-3(27), Tiger had been in with the very best and he had never been knocked out (he had been stopped just once, this via corner retirement in a fight with Tommy West, way back in 1953).

Foster and Tiger went at it and fans witnessed a good action fight for three rounds. Then, in round four, these same fans saw an absolute lights out KO. Foster disconnected Tiger from his senses with a wicked left hook that landed flush on the jaw, the shot sending Tiger down on his back in a flash. It was over. This was the one and only time Tiger was ever counted out during his 82 fight pro career.

Foster’s reign of terror now begun, and “The Sheriff” was to score numerous additional highlight reel knockouts. Foster’s punching power really was a thing of savage beauty, his long limbs capable of taking out any man. Any man at light heavyweight, anyway.

Foster’s KO win over Mike Quarry, the left hook again doing the damage, is for some the most devastating KO Bob ever scored. Yet for others, the job Foster did on the teak-tough Tiger is the one that holds the distinction.

Foster ruled his weight class for over six years, with him compiling a final record of 56-8-1(46). Tiger fought on after being taken out by Foster, with Tiger boxing four fights, included here a win over Nino Benvenuti, and a loss to Emile Griffith in a rematch. Tiger’s final numbers read 60-19-3(27).

Foster passed away in November of 2015, aged 73. Tragically, Tiger died at the young age of just 42, this in December of 1971.

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