JO Sports Inc.

Regular price $625.00

HISTORY: After a rematch with Mike Tyson fell through, Lennox Lewis scheduled a fight with Kirk Johnson for the less-recognized IBO belt for June 21, 2003. However, the Canadian suffered an injury in training and was forced to pull out just two weeks before fight night - leaving a stranded Lewis without an opponent. Klitschko, the mandatory contender for Lewis' WBC title who had been on the undercard of the Johnson fight, stepped into the breach but, by agreeing to face the Ukrainian at such short notice, there was a danger Lewis was not taking the confident 31-year-old seriously enough. And so it nearly proved. Lewis came into the fight heavier than he had ever been before and his lack of conditioning soon became apparent. The Brit was manhandled in the opening rounds, dominated by his younger, fresher, opponent. Blowing as early as the second round, Lewis was rocked by several Klitschko right hands and, momentarily, an upset looked on the cards. Lewis improved in the third, however, and was given a huge lift when a deep cut opened above Klitschko's left eye. With the challenger's vision severely impaired, Lewis started to assert himself and edged the fourth, before both men looked out on their feet by the time the bell rang for the start of the fifth. Klitschko refused to yield, however, frequently forcing Lewis on to the back foot with a series of punches. Despite being clearly out of shape, Lewis still had the power to hurt Klitschko and caught his rival flush with a couple of fierce uppercuts in the sixth. Somehow, Klitschko withstood the blows and by the end of the round it was Lewis, 37, who slumped into his corner as if the end was nigh. Controversially, the fight was stopped before the seventh round. The doctor wasn't happy with the state of Klitschko's eye, which was streaming blood at will, and ruled he couldn't continue. Klitschko was ahead on the judges' scorecards but, because in the referee's opinion the cut had been caused by a punch, Lewis was awarded the decision, meaning he retained his WBC belt. "There's no way he could finish the fight. I was just getting to him," Lewis said afterwards. "He would have got knocked out in the next couple of rounds. Look at the state of his face." However, a clearly disgruntled Klitschko didn't see it that way. He said: "I see very well - I don't know why the ref stopped the fight. He's very heavy but he don't punch me very hard. "He never punched me hard with his right hand - I saw every punch. If referee doesn't stop it, I win the fight and knock him out in 11 or 12th round. I show everyone I can beat Lewis. I am distraught with this decision." Klitschko, who required 60 stitches, demanded a rematch but never got his wish. Lewis was originally in favor of going at it for a second time but later did a U-turn, insisting "I didn't need to fight him again". He never donned the gloves again and called it a day in February 2004, leaving the sport with his faculties intact and his name still up in lights. Offered here is a scarce, original, official program for this event which has been signed by both fighters. Comes from the collection of Klitschko's manager and includes his full letter on the autographs.

FULL DESCRIPTION: This s a scarce, original, official program for this event which has been signed by both fighters. Bold black sharpie signatures of both. Lennox Lewis has also signed the inside of the program on his photo. This is an original, official program picturing both men on the cover and consisting of 38 pages with separate scoresheet. Includes profiles and photos of the fighters. Not scored. Clean inside and out. Not creased or torn. Tight binding. Minor edge and corner wear. 9" x 12." Comes from the collection of Klitschko's manager and includes his full letter on the autographs.

Size: 9" x 12"

Condition: Excellent