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British boxing's biggest upsets

By Ben Dirs

Chorley's Michael Jennings fights Puerto Rico's former two-weight world champion Miguel Cotto for the vacant WBO welterweight title in New York on Saturday.

Jennings is a former British champion, but has never fought outside the UK or for a world title and is a 10-1 shot with the bookies.

Looking on the bright side, BBC Sport looks at five fighters from these shores who managed to upset the odds.

Lloyd Honeyghan v Don Curry, Atlantic City, 27 September 1986

Don Curry and Lloyd Honeyghan
Curry was stunned by Honeyghan in 1986

The lavishly-gifted Curry was undisputed welterweight king and natural successor to the temporarily-retired Sugar Ray Leonard.

The rough-and-tumble Honeyghan arrived in America as British, European and Commonwealth champion but was expected to be rattled then devoured by the "Lone Star Cobra".

However, on an electric night at Caesars Palace, Honeyghan clubbed Curry into submission over six rounds to pull off arguably British boxing's greatest upset.

A shell-shocked Curry was never the same fighter, while the "Ragamuffin Man" would prove himself a worthy champion over the next two years.

John H Stracey v Jose Angel Napoles, Mexico City, 6 December 1975

Legendary Cuban defector Napoles was past his best but still seemed a safe bet against the largely untested Stracey.

Not only was the East Londoner untested, he would have to fight the WBC welterweight champion in a bull ring in his adopted home town in front of 60,000 fanatical supporters.

Stracey was floored in the opening round, peeled himself off the canvas and went on to stop a badly disfigured Napoles in the sixth.

Stracey defended his title only once before being chopped down by Mexico's Carlos Palamino while Napoles never fought again.

Ken Buchanan v Ismael Laguna, San Juan, 26 September 1970

Laguna, a native of Panama, had beaten greats such as Carlos Ortiz and Carlos Hernandez before winning the world lightweight crown and running into Scottish legend Buchanan.

The 25-year-old Buchanan was a skilful craftsman but more used to the drafty halls of his native Edinburgh than the 100-degree heat inside Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

But Buchanan overcame the wily Laguna to claim a narrow split decision and become the first British lightweight champion since Freddie Welsh in 1917.

Laguna lost a rematch a year later before hanging up his gloves while Buchanan lost the title to the great Roberto Duran in 1972.

Randy Turpin v Sugar Ray Robinson, London, 10 July 1951

Robinson had been beaten once in his previous 131 contests and was considered the most complete fighter ever to grace a ring.

However, the world middleweight champion tuned up for his match with Turpin with a three-month jaunt around Europe in a pink Cadillac convertible.

Eighteen thousand crammed into Earls Court to see "The Leamington Licker" frustrate an ill-prepared Robinson and earn a famous 15-round decision.

Sixty four days later, Robinson won the rematch in New York. The tragic Turpin took his own life in 1966, less than 15 years after his glorious coup.

Ted "Kid" Lewis v Jack Britton, Boston, USA, 31 August 1915

Lewis, the "Aldgate Sphinx", turned pro at the age of 14 in 1909 and landed in the United States five years later determined to become the first Englishman to win a world title on American soil.

Lewis first fought, and lost to, Britton in March 1915 before challenging the newly-crowned world welterweight champion five months later.

The bout was the second in a 20-fight rivalry between Lewis and Britton and the hard-hitting Londoner came out on top on a wild, acrimonious night.

For the next six years the pair hogged the welterweight crown, although most of their fights ended in no-decisions, and Lewis retired a legend of the British ring in 1929.

see also
Jennings confident of shock win
19 Feb 09 |  Boxing

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