Uriah Grant: Forgotten Cruiserweight King – Exclusive Interview


The saying, ‘he fought ’em all’ is commonplace in boxing, but when it comes to Jamaican cruiserweight Uriah Grant, the adage is most apt. During a 20 year pro career, Grant fought no less than nine world champions and whole lot of top contenders. Finally, in June of 1997, after two failed attempts and a dozen defeats, a 36 year old Grant won the vacant IBF cruiserweight title with a tough majority decision win over Adolpho Washington.

Losing the belt in his next fight, Grant would go 9-4 after the Washington fight, before retiring with an overall record of 30-21(28) in January of 2004. Like many former champions, Grant insists many of his losses were unfair, that he was “robbed.”

Grant certainly has some career to look back on, and and the 58 year old talks about it with this website here:

James Slater: You turned pro in June of 1984, and in your tenth bout you defeated former light-heavyweight champ Matthew Saad Muhammad.

Uriah Grant: “That was one of the best wins of my entire career. He’d had well over 40 fights at that time, whereas I had had just nine [pro] fights. That win, and the fact that I took his best punches and beat him over the distance (of ten-rounds), it encouraged me and it gave me real confidence. I knew than that, yes, I could become a great fighter myself – I had just beaten a great fighter! Yes, he [Saad] was a little past his best at that time, but he was still very good, and of course he had such great experience. I was able to overcome him.”

Q: You fought so many world champions, either past, present or future. Who was the best fighter you ever met in your 51-fight pro career?

U.G: “Without a doubt, Adolpho Washington. I beat Adolpho to become [IBF cruiser] champion, and let me tell you, he was tough! He was easily the toughest man I ever fought, and the hardest puncher. That fight we had, it was a really good fight, a war. That was me at my best. I had to be at my best to have any hope of beating him, I tell you honestly. I loved the cruiserweight division, it was colourful – the most colourful division at the time if you ask me – and I was at my best at 180 pounds. Even then, I was a small cruiserweight.”

Q: You fought all those champions of course: what fights do you remember the most, aside from your big title win?

U.G: “The Bobby Czyz fight (a ten-round UD loss for Grant in 1990), man I was robbed in that one! In the last round, and also in some early rounds, I had him pretty much out. I got robbed a lot during my career, I was a guy from Jamaica, that no-one knew, and I always had to fight in their home town. I had no other choice. This is why, today, when I look back on my career, I take it personally. Everything I ever had, everything I managed to accomplish, I had to work my ass off to get it. I never had any favours given to me. The Al Cole fights (laughs), I fought him twice (in 1993 and in 1995, both IBF cruiserweight title challenges; both decision wins for Cole). The first fight, in his home town of Vegas (the two fights actually took place in Atlantic City), I beat him up. The rematch – and he was stupid enough to give me one – I lost fair and square, no excuses. I was always ready for my fights, but not that time. The second [Cole] fight, I didn’t even train. I knew I had beaten him up in the first fight and I felt I would do the same again. But credit to him, he didn’t have to fight me twice but he did. I have total respect for all my opponents.”

Q: What about the big win over legend Thomas Hearns in 2000, who you stopped when Hearns had an ankle injury?

U.G: (laughing). Let me tell you, he cried foul in the fight. It was a good win for me, but I said before the fight that he would make an excuse for losing – the same way Mike Tyson did against [Evander] Holyfield. Hearns was not hurt, he was not injured. Had the fight gone on, for absolute certain I would have knocked him out. That fight was his worst nightmare, because I was in the best condition of my life – and he knew it. I was ready to put it on him.”

Q: What about your next fight, with Carl Thompson in the UK, he stopped you in round-five?

U.G: “I have nothing bad to say about Carl – I love Carl. But they got me at the right time. It was his promoter, his show, and I was ill before that fight. I had diarrhoea and I should have pulled out of the fight, but they wouldn’t let me. If I’d met him at my best, no way would he have had a chance with me. And I was getting tired of boxing by that time, and with the diarrhoea, where I couldn’t eat anything, he got me at the best time for him.”

Q: You went on to win your next two fights but then lost six in a row and retired. Was it easy to walk away in 2004?

U.G: “I love boxing, I eat, drink, sleep and walk boxing, and I am ever grateful for what boxing did for me. But at the same time, it’s a dirty sport, it’s corrupt. I’m glad I got out at the right time, before I ended up brain-dead. I even tried up at heavyweight (losing to Chris Byrd and Brian Nielson via decision) but I was at my best at cruiserweight and in any fair fight, I won. I had to travel for all my fights. I have no real regrets, but today I don’t watch boxing as much as I used to. I want to open a boxing gym, but not in the U.S, hopefully in Jamaica. They just don’t train hard there [in the U.S] any more. We had it much tougher in our day. I’m just glad people remember me and my fights.”