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Sunday, 29 September, 2002, 04:13 GMT 05:13 UK
Boxing's bizarre encounters
James Miller parachutes into the ring at the Riddick Bowe-Evander Holyfield fight
And he still missed the ring!

When veteran trainer Darkie Smith pushed referee Mickey Vann during a fight between his son and rising star Ricky Hatton, he added another chapter to the book of bizarre boxing incidents.

The cornerman later admitted that if he had punched Vann - as it seemed he was poised to - then things could have been worse.

Whether he gets banned or makes a voluntary retirement, it seems that Smith is finished with boxing after his actions in Manchester.

But in the grand scheme of things, was it that bad? After all, the sport has served up its share of the wacky, weird and downright ugly over the years...

Fan man

In the seventh round of his rematch with Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield, a man not noted for pacifism, backed away from his opponent and leaned against the ropes.

It seemed that the veteran had spotted something which neither Bowe or referee Mills Lane had noticed - a parachutist was descending to the ring.

The fight was suspended for some 30 minutes while the 'fan' and his chute were escorted from the ring.

As sensational as the footage seemed at the time, the perpetrator went on to commit the act several more times, seemingly at any open air event he could not get tickets for.

Madness rating: A very healthy 8/10

It ain't over....

Till the two men are out of the ring, apparently.

James Butler, a light heavyweight contender, had just lost a unanimous decision to Richard Grant in New York.

'The Harlem hammer' was approached by Grant in the usual postfight hugging ritual which is a staple part of boxing.

Butler offered his hands, well right hand actually and landed his best punch of the night to render his opponent unconscious.

It might be the last punch he ever gets paid for.

Rating: A very dark and dangerous 7/10

Golota goes nuts

Riddick Bowe clutches his groin after being hit low by Andrew Golota
Bowe struggling to retain 'Big Daddy' status
Stability was never a word used to describe Polish heavyweight Andrew Golota - the man was, quite frankly, as mad as a hatter.

Unfortunately, he possessed enough talent to make himself a worthwhile contender during the mid to late 1990s.

He had two major fights with Riddick Bowe during 1996 and the second saw the giant Pole mentally unravel.

Having outboxed and outpunched Bowe for eight rounds, Golota needed just to win the last two rounds to win a decision.

The trouble was, he had repeatedly hit Bowe below the belt and had received his last warning from referee Eddie Cotton.

Golota pummelled Bowe for the majority of the ninth round, doing everything but floor the fading former champion.

He just could not find the blow to end the contest, but with just seconds remaining in the round, a three-punch combination sent Bowe to the canvas.

The problem was that all three had landed south of the border and Golota, who had been disqualified in the first fight for exactly the same infringement, saw his reputation as a loose cannon swell.

Rating: A consistently barking 9/10

The Tyson files

Take your pick....

Ear biting, referee hitting, attempted arm breaking, punching after the bell.

Plenty of other stuff, but that is a separate book.

Rating: King of the macabre at 10/10.

Honourable mentions go to the spectator, dressed in a vest and unflattering Y fronts, who jumped into the ring after 30 seconds of the Carlos Zarate-Alfonso Zamora clash in 1977.

And to the mother of Tony Wilson, who used her stiletto shoe to beat Steve McCarthy on the head when she decided her son had taken enough punishment.

It worked as well - Wilson was awarded the bout on a technical decision.

See also:

25 Sep 02 | Boxing
21 Oct 00 | Other Sports
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