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Five of the biggest upsets in the history of heavyweight boxing

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On this day 30 years ago, James “Buster” Douglas provided one of the biggest shocks in boxing history when he defeated Mike Tyson with a 10th round knockout. Tyson was deemed unstoppable at the time and was previously unbeaten, having won each of his opening 37 prizefights. 

Tyson did not just defeat his opponents, though, he knocked them out in style with his ridiculous strong punching power so was expected to make lightwork of Douglas - a boxer who had fallen to defeat four times throughout his professional career. 

However, after a fairly even nine rounds, the 1/42 favourite was knocked out after his 37/1-priced opponent unleashed a savage uppercut on his jaw in round 10. Tyson was unable to beat the count and lost his first professional bout at the Tokyo Dome in 1990 - it has since been hailed as the moment which changed boxing forever, and kick-started Mike Tyson’s steady demise.  

In keeping with the theme, Betting Odds have taken a trip down memory lane and picked out four more huge upsets the world of heavyweight boxing has seen over the years.

Corrie Sanders beats Wladimir Klitschko - April, 2003

Wladmir Klitchko will go down in history as one of the best boxers the world has ever seen, but back in the early-noughties his career suffered a blow after he fell to a devastating stoppage-loss against South African heavyweight Corrie Sanders. The Ukrainian was a rising star and appeared to have everything: speed, power and a granite-like chin. 

However, his opponent Sanders was a fast-handed fighter who caught him by surprise early on by landing a series of huge blows, after avoiding Klitschko’s initial longer punches. Sanders knocked Klitschko - priced as short as 1/20 in the build-up to the fight - down four times in the opening two rounds and the contest was put to bed inside the first six minutes. Fortunately for the Eastern European, he managed to pick himself up and soon after went on to enjoy a hugely rewarding career in top-level heavyweight boxing.     

Muhammad Ali beats George Foreman - October, 1974

Muhammad Ali is widely regarded as the best boxer the world has ever seen. However, during his rise to the top, he faced a fighter at the very height of his game in George Foreman - a gold medalist at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico who had previously decimated everything in his path after turning professional a year later in 1969. Foreman had surprisingly annihilated Ali’s nemesis, Joe Frazier, in just two rounds the year prior and did the same to Ken Norton the year after. 

Indeed, the fact that Ali was about to step inside the ring against a boxer who had previously made such lightwork of the two fighters to have beaten himself before was viewed as a hugely brave move. It proved to be the right one, though, after Ali ducked and dodged pretty much everything the 1/7-priced Foreman threw at him, landing a series of heavy counters to secure a shock victory in the eighth round.

Hasim Rahman beats Lennox Lewis - April, 2001

After beating the great Evander Holyfield in 1999, Lennox Lewis had solidified himself as one of the best heavyweight boxers on the planet, so nobody predicted him to lose to Hasim Rahman when the pair met in 2001. Lewis was priced up at 1/20 to win the contest, and after the first four rounds it seemed as though the fight would be heading the way in which everyone had anticipated. 

Lewis dominated the early rounds and caught Rahman with a number of heavy punches, whilst simultaneously dodging the majority of his opponent's replies. Everything changed in the fifth round, however, when Rahman took advantage of Lewis’ cockiness and knocked him to the floor with a huge right hook, after the Englishman had backpedaled to the ropes with a smug grin on his face just moments before. Serves him right, to be fair.

Andy Ruiz Jr. beats Anthony Joshua - June, 2019

The most recent upset the world of heavyweight boxing has seen is undoubtedly Andy Ruiz defeating Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden last summer. Ruiz was a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, after the ‘Big Baby’ was withdrawn from fighting after failing a drugs test. Ruiz had just over a month to prepare for the biggest fight of his career against a fighter who had won each of his 22 professional fights (21 of which came via TKO). 

The Brit was priced as short as 1/24 to see off his little-known opponent from across the pond, but was completely humbled in New York, after Ruiz had firmed his opponent’s third round knockdown to then rise and return the favour four times over the following five rounds. By the time the seventh round came about, Joshua looked completely out of it and referee Michael Griffin brought an end to the encounter, shocking the entire world. The pair met again in December, and Joshua got his revenge by beating Ruiz, though it was by no means easy as the fight went the distance and had to be settled on points.

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