Tim Witherspoon

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Tim Witherspoon
Tim Witherspoon in Apperknowle (cropped).JPG
Witherspoon in 2008
Weight(s) Heavyweight
Height6 ft 3+12 in (192 cm)
Reach78 in (198 cm)
Born (1957-12-27) December 27, 1957 (age 65)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights69
Wins by KO38

Tim Witherspoon (born December 27, 1957) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1979 to 2003. He was a two-time world heavyweight champion, having held the WBC title in 1984, and the WBA title in 1986. He beat Heavyweight World Champions Greg Page, James Smith, Tony Tubbs, Frank Bruno and Cruiserweight World Champions Alfonzo Ratliff and Al Cole. He is best known for his fight against undefeated Heavyweight World Champion Larry Holmes in which he lost by Split decision. Witherspoon also worked as a regular sparring partner for Muhammad Ali.


Professional career

Early years

Witherspoon had six amateur bouts, losing the last to Marvis Frazier on decision after getting knocked down.

Making his professional debut with a first-round TKO over Joe Adams on October 30, 1979, Witherspoon quickly rose through the ranks. In 1981, he participated in his first high-profile fight, knocking out future world cruiserweight champion Alfonzo Ratliff, after which he was signed by Don King. Witherspoon was a sparring partner of Ali as he was training to fight Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick. Ali also gave Witherspoon his complimentary ring alias of "Terrible" Tim Witherspoon. [1]

In 1982, he was matched with Renaldo Snipes, who had just given champion Larry Holmes a fair challenge (and knocked Holmes down), and outpointed him over 10 rounds, setting up his own challenge to Holmes.

Witherspoon vs. Larry Holmes: WBC heavyweight title

On May 20, 1983, Witherspoon would have his first attempt at earning a world title by taking on the recognized top man in the division World Boxing Council champion Larry Holmes at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Witherspoon gave Holmes all he could handle, including rocking him badly in the ninth round, before losing a disputed twelve round split decision.

He returned later in the year to outpoint Floyd "Jumbo" Cummings, who had drawn with Joe Frazier in Smokin' Joe's last fight, and win the NABF title with a first-round knockout of James "Quick" Tillis.

First title reign: WBC heavyweight champion

In December 1983, Holmes relinquished his WBC title rather than defend against Greg Page, and chose to accept that of the newly formed IBF (International Boxing Federation).[ citation needed ]

Witherspoon was matched with Page for the vacant title on March 9, 1984. Page, in constant war with promoter Don King, turned up overweight and was outpointed.[ citation needed ]

Witherspoon's reign as champion would not be long however, as soon he himself was in constant war with King, and on August 31 of that year he was outpointed by Pinklon Thomas via majority decision.[ citation needed ]

Second title reign: WBA heavyweight champion

In 1985 Witherspoon regained his NABF belt by beating James Broad in two rounds and made a successful twelve round defense against James "Bonecrusher" Smith in his first defense of the belt. This earned him another chance at a heavyweight title and he signed to fight reigning WBA champion Tony Tubbs on January 17, 1986 in Atlanta. Witherspoon won a close fight by majority decision, winning by only one point on one of the scorecards and three on another with one even, to become champion for a second time.

In his first defense of his newly won championship, Witherspoon traveled to London and fought a young up-and-coming English heavyweight and future world champion Frank Bruno at Wembley Stadium, as part of the heavyweight unification series. In the eleventh round of a scheduled fifteen, Witherspoon recorded a technical knockout and did something he had not done when he was champion the first time: make a successful defense of the title after winning it. After defeating Bruno, a rematch with Tony Tubbs loomed but Tubbs pulled out of the fight.

Needing to make a title defense, Witherspoon accepted a second fight with Bonecrusher Smith. Since dropping a lopsided decision in their first matchup (losing every round but one on all three scorecards) Smith had fought four bouts and recorded three wins, all against fringe contenders and journeymen.[ citation needed ] The fight was scheduled for December 12, 1986 at Madison Square Garden and Witherspoon a heavy favorite against the 17-5 Smith.[ citation needed ] With fifty seconds remaining in the first round, Witherspoon hit the canvas a third time and Rivera ended the proceedings. At ringside, HBO commentators Barry Tompkins, Larry Merchant, and Sugar Ray Leonard expressed disbelief at the outcome, with all three calling the bout a major upset.[ citation needed ]

Post-championship career

Following the end his second title reign, Witherspoon spent years in litigation against Don King.[ citation needed ] In 1991 won the USBA heavyweight title by defeating fellow contender Carl "The Truth" Williams but lost a points decision to Everett Martin.[ citation needed ] Ring magazine called this inexplicable loss the low point of his career.[ citation needed ]

In 1993 Don King settled out of court and paid Witherspoon a million dollars. By 1994 Witherspoon had won five fights in a row by knockout.[ citation needed ] Aged 38 he was signed by HBO and matched in high-profile fights with cruiserweight champion Al Cole and the Cuban amateur Jorge Luis González, both of whom he defeated.[ citation needed ] Later in the year he was matched with Ray Mercer but lost a 10-round decision.[ citation needed ]

After that loss Witherspoon laid off a year, and when he came back he was outpointed by Larry Donald on HBO, and, in 1998, lost a close decision when outworked by New Zealander Jimmy Thunder before travelling to Poland to be outpointed by Andrew Golota.[ citation needed ]

The 43-year-old Witherspoon resurfaced in 2001, knocking out the prospect David Bostice in one round, outpointing Cuban southpaw contender Eliecer Castillo and Syrian Ahmed Abdin, before his revival was ended by Lou Savarese, who stopped him in five rounds.[ citation needed ]

Witherspoon also competed in Cedric Kushner's 2003 Thunderbox Heavyweight Tournament, "Fistful of Dollars," but lost in the opening stages.[ citation needed ]

Life after boxing

Witherspoon resides near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he trains boxers, including his son, lightweight Tim Witherspoon Jr. and many others. He has also trained Light Heavyweight champion Clinton Woods in the U.K. [2]

In 2014, Witherspoon published his book with the help of British entrepreneur Kevin Baker and ghost writer Ryan Danes. [3]

Professional boxing record

69 fights55 wins13 losses
By knockout384
By decision179
No.ResultRecordOpponentTypeRound, timeDateAgeLocationNotes
69Loss55–13–1Brian NixSD10Mar 15, 200345 years, 78 days Grand Casino, Gulfport, Mississippi, U.S.
68Loss55–12–1 Lou Savarese TKO5 (12), 2:42Sep 22, 200244 years, 269 daysTable Mountain Casino, Friant, California, U.S.For vacant WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title
67Win55–11–1Ahmed AbdinUD10May 18, 200244 years, 142 days Silver Star Hotel & Casino, Choctaw, Mississippi, U.S.
66Win54–11–1 Darroll Wilson KO2 (10), 1:02Mar 10, 200244 years, 73 days Green Valley Ranch, Henderson, Nevada, U.S.
65Win53–11–1Ed WhiteTKO1, 1:10Jan 18, 200244 years, 22 days Entertainment & Sports Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
64Win52–11–1Cleveland WoodsKO1 (10), 2:30Jul 29, 200143 years, 214 days Palace Indian Gaming Center, Lemoore, California, U.S.
63Loss51–11–1 Monte Barrett SD10Jun 28, 200143 years, 183 days Turning Stone Resort Casino, Verona, New York, U.S.
62Win51–10–1Danny WoffordTKO3 (10)Apr 13, 200143 years, 107 days University, Hampton, Virginia, U.S.
61Win50–10–1 Elieser Castillo MD10Mar 31, 200143 years, 94 days Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
60Win49–10–1 David Bostice TKO1 (10), 2:21Feb 22, 200143 years, 57 days Zembo Shrine Building, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
59Win48–10–1David SmithTKO2 (10), 2:12Jul 8, 200042 years, 194 days Monroe, Louisiana, U.S.
58Draw47–10–1Mike SedilloPTS12Apr 29, 200042 years, 124 days St. John's, Antigua and BarbudaFor NBA heavyweight title
57Win47–10Joe BallardKO1Feb 25, 200042 years, 60 daysPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
56Loss46–10 Greg Page RTD7 (10), 3:00Jun 18, 199941 years, 173 days Cumberland County Crown Coliseum, Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S.
55Loss46–9 Brian Nielsen TKO4 (10)Apr 16, 199941 years, 110 days K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark
54Loss46–8 Andrew Golota UD10Oct 2, 199840 years, 279 days Centennial Hall, Wrocław, Poland
53Loss46–7 Jimmy Thunder UD10Apr 7, 199840 years, 101 daysHarrah's Hotel and Casino, Cherokee, North Carolina, U.S.
52Loss46–6 Larry Donald UD12Dec 13, 199739 years, 351 days Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.For WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title
51Win46–5Levi BillupsTKO1 (10), 1:44Nov 4, 199739 years, 312 days Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.
50Loss45–5 Ray Mercer UD10 Dec 14, 1996 38 years, 353 days Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
49Win45–4 Jorge Luis González TKO5 (10), 2:54 May 10, 1996 38 years, 135 daysMadison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
48Win44–4 Al Cole UD10Jan 12, 199638 years, 16 daysMadison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
47Win43–4Tim PullerTKO2 (10), 0:45Nov 14, 199537 years, 322 days Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S.
46Win42–4Everton DavisTKO7 (10), 1:34Oct 31, 199537 years, 308 days Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
45Win41–4Jesse ShelbyTKO1 (10)Mar 24, 199537 years, 87 daysPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
44Win40–4 Nathaniel Fitch TKO6 (10)Dec 17, 199436 years, 355 daysEtess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
43Win39–4Sherman GriffinTKO3 (10), 2:58Aug 12, 199436 years, 228 days South Padre Island, Texas, U.S.
42Win38–4Tony WillisUD10Aug 25, 199234 years, 242 daysHarrah's Marino Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
41Loss37–4Everett MartinSD10Jul 21, 199234 years, 207 days The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
40Win37–3 James Pritchard UD10Mar 23, 199234 years, 87 days Harrah's Marina Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
39Win36–3Jimmy Lee SmithKO1 (10), 2:27Feb 4, 199234 years, 38 daysTrump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
38Win35–3 Art Tucker TKO3 (12), 1:33Sep 10, 199133 years, 257 days The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.Retained USBA heavyweight title
37Win34–3 Carl Williams SD12Mar 8, 199133 years, 71 days Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.Won USBA heavyweight title
36Win33–3 José Ribalta MD10Jul 19, 199032 years, 204 days Kingdome, Seattle, Washington, U.S.
35Win32–3Greg GorrellTKO3 (10), 1:00Mar 12, 199032 years, 75 days Gelora Senayan Main Stadium, Jakarta, Indonesia
34Win31–3Jeff SimsRTD5 (10), 3:00Jan 11, 199032 years, 15 daysTrump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
33Win30–3 Anders Eklund KO1 (10), 1:11Oct 19, 198931 years, 296 days Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
32Win29–3Larry AlexanderSD10Jan 27, 198931 years, 31 days Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
31Win28–3Mauricio VillegasTKO9 (10)Feb 17, 198830 years, 52 days York Hall, London, England
30Win27–3 Mike Williams SD10Oct 14, 198729 years, 291 daysSteel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
29Win26–3Mark WillsTKO1 (10), 1:15Aug 4, 198729 years, 220 daysSteel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
28Loss25–3 James Smith KO1 (15), 2:12Dec 12, 198628 years, 350 days Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.Lost WBA heavyweight title
27Win25–2 Frank Bruno TKO11 (15), 2:57Jul 19, 198628 years, 204 days Wembley Stadium, London, EnglandRetained WBA heavyweight title
26Win24–2 Tony Tubbs MD15Jan 17, 198628 years, 21 days Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.Won WBA heavyweight title
25Win23–2Sammy ScaffTKO4 (10), 1:04Oct 12, 198527 years, 289 days National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England
24Win22–2Larry BeilfussTKO1 (10), 1:35Sep 6, 198527 years, 253 days Tamiami Park Auditorium, Miami, Florida, U.S.
23Win21–2 James Smith UD12Jun 15, 198527 years, 170 daysRiviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.Retained NABF heavyweight title
22Win20–2 James Broad KO2 (12), 2:35Apr 29, 198527 years, 123 days Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.Retained NABF heavyweight title
21Win19–2Mark WillsTKO9 (10), 1:13Mar 25, 198527 years, 88 days The Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.
20Loss18–2 Pinklon Thomas MD12Aug 31, 198426 years, 248 days Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.Lost WBC heavyweight title
19Win18–1 Greg Page MD12Mar 9, 198426 years, 73 days Las Vegas Convention Center, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.Won vacant WBC heavyweight title
18Win17–1 James Tillis TKO1 (12), 2:16Sep 23, 198325 years, 270 days Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio, U.S.Won vacant NABF heavyweight title
17Win16–1 Floyd Cummings UD10Jul 16, 198325 years, 201 daysDunes, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
16Loss15–1 Larry Holmes SD12May 20, 198325 years, 144 days Dunes, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.For WBC and The Ring heavyweight titles
15Win15–0 Renaldo Snipes MD10Jun 5, 198224 years, 160 days Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
14Win14–0Luis AcostaKO2 (10), 0:42Mar 30, 198224 years, 93 daysPlayboy Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
13Win13–0 Alfonzo Ratliff TKO7 (10), 2:25Dec 5, 198123 years, 343 days Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
12Win12–0Curtis GaskinsKO2 (8)Nov 17, 198123 years, 325 days Playboy Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
11Win11–0Jerry WilliamsTKO8 (10)Jul 30, 198123 years, 215 daysMartin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
10Win10–0Bobby JordanKO4 (10)Jun 17, 198123 years, 172 daysMartin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
9Win9–0Dave JohnsonUD8Apr 11, 198123 years, 105 days Concord Resort Hotel, Thompson, New York, U.S.
8Win8–0Marvin StinsonPTS10Feb 7, 198123 years, 42 days Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
7Win7–0Ed BednarikTKO1, 2:06Jan 24, 198123 years, 28 daysMartin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
6Win6–0James ReidTKO6 (8)Dec 11, 198022 years, 350 daysMartin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
5Win5–0 Oliver Wright TKO2 (8)Oct 24, 198022 years, 302 days Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
4Win4–0Charles CoxKO5Jul 20, 198022 years, 206 days The Great Gorge Playboy Club Hotel, McAfee, New Jersey, U.S.
3Win3–0Robert EvansUD6May 9, 198022 years, 134 days Long Island Arena, Commack, New York, U.S.
2Win2–0Robert RitchieKO1Apr 26, 198022 years, 121 days Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.
1Win1–0Joe AdamsTKO1, 1:58Oct 30, 197921 years, 307 daysForum, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, U.S.

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  1. Frank bruno's autobiography
  2. "Boxing: Woods returns to Sheffield 'needing to be verbally abused'". The Independent. February 4, 2004. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
  3. "Tim Witherspoon biography on the way – "Terrible" Tim to finally tell his side of the story". Boxing News. April 4, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
Michael Dokes
NABF heavyweight champion
September 23, 1983 – January 1986
Title next held by
James Broad
Preceded by USBA heavyweight champion
March 8, 1991 – February 1992
Title next held by
Mike Hunter
World boxing titles
Title last held by
Larry Holmes
WBC heavyweight champion
March 9, 1984 – August 31, 1984
Succeeded by
Preceded by WBA heavyweight champion
January 17, 1986 – December 12, 1986
Succeeded by