Heavyweight legend, indeed immortal George Foreman always said, or at least he said it at the time, how his portfolio would not be complete as a boxer until he had fought in England: “The Marquess of Queensbury rules, and all of that,” the 41 year old said on UK television when promoting his UK debut.
This was all the way back in September of 1990 – some 29 long years ago today. Foreman, on the hunt for a second crack at becoming world champ, was 23 fights into his “illogical” ring return. Having come back in 1987, after a full decade out of the ring, Foreman was, in the eyes of his critics, on a quest to nowhere. George had other, stronger ideas.
So, with Evander Holyfield, Buster Douglas and even Mike Tyson in his crosshairs, “Big George” kept on keeping on in his campaign. The latest stop was one in London, at the London Arena in Millwall. Terry Anderson, aged 30 and sporting a decent enough 19-3(17) pro record was the fall guy, sorry, opponent. In all reality, Anderson, despite his flaws and his three losses – to Levi Billups, a KO, to Renaldo Snipes, also a KO, and to Bobby Crabtree in his fight prior to hooking up with Foreman, another KO defeat – was no bad slugger. The younger man by ten years could punch.
Was George taking at least a little bit of a risk?
Foreman wiped out Anderson in less than a round, his hefty right hand doing the job with a second to spare in the opening session.
It was no great fight, no great KO to live alongside the murderous displays of destruction Foreman had beguiled us with in other fights, yet George was still unbeaten in his comeback and he was still the most popular big man in the sport. Millions of fans everywhere wanted to see him reclaim the crown. He was still on course for the opportunity.
As we all know today, it took Foreman quite a few more fights, and over four years to make good on his quest (a quest that, far from headed to nowhere, saw Foreman forever ranked alongside the true greats of the sport regardless of weight class). Finally reclaiming the world title in November of 1994, George had done it. He had defied all logic.
Today, kindly taking a trip down memory lane to his UK debut, George recalled the Anderson fight for ESB:
“I was able to take a Bentley to the stadium for that fight,” George said today.
“What a pleasure that was. The fight was over quickly, but then most of my fights were! But it was a dream come true for me, fighting where the rules of clean boxing originally started.”
Needless to say, it was an honour having the great George Foreman do his thing on these shores. For one night only.