This 1987 IBF Junior Middleweight Title Fight between champion Buster Drayton verses Matthew Hilton took place on ABC Wide World of Sports on June 27, 1987 in Montreal, Canada…. with Jim Lampley and Alex Wallau making the call for ABC. This fights went the distance with Hilton, a Canadian, winning on a unanimous decision….which gave Canada their first world boxing championship in the prior 44 years.
Buster Drayton was an American boxer who won the IBF world title at light middleweight (154lb)…..who turned pro in 1978….and won the vacant IBF light middleweight title with a decision win over Carlos Santos in 1986. He defended the belt twice before losing it to Matthew Hilton the following year….as seen in this fight herewith….then in 1988 he took on WBA light middleweight titleholder Julian Jackson….but was defeated via TKO in the third round. Buster Drayton would continue to fight until his retirement in 1995 at the age of 43…..with a career record of 40 wins 15 losses and 1 draw.
Matthew Hilton is a Canadian former boxer who was the IBF Junior Middleweight Champion of the World. He is one of the four brothers from the fighting family Hiltons….as he started boxing professionally in early 1983….while living a nomadic lifestyle with his father/trainer and brothers by moving from place to place in a “mobile home”. It was tough growing up for Hilton….but he transferred that toughness to the ring….and though Matthew had decent boxing skills for a brawler….he preferred to press forward and back up his opponents….then detonate his punishing left hooks and powerful overhand rights. Two of the big names he faced in his rise to stardom were former 3-time world champion Wilfred Benítez….along with former world middleweight champion Vito Antuofermo….who both fell victim to his devastating KO power.
He won the IBF junior middleweight title as seen in this fight….and brought Canada its first world boxing title since the 1940’s with a 15-round unanimous decision over then champion Buster Drayton….which was also named KO Magazines TV Fight of the Year for 1987. Hilton made one defense on the Tyson-Biggs undercard on HBO in October of that year….while busting and bruising up a totally outclassed Jack Callahan before the referee called things off after two rounds….then his next fight was an exciting non-title bout on ESPN in the middleweight division against Paul Whitaker of New Orleans….who was knocked down and brutally battered by Hilton before being KO’d in the 4th round. Matthew then apparently had the upper hand in the early going in his next defense….a November 1988 match-up with challenger Robert Hines on Showtime….when after knocking a bloodied Hines down twice…he let Hines back in the fight…. and Hines steadily hammered a very tired and not very well prepared Hilton in winning a come-from-behind 12-round unanimous decision….after which Hilton would be champ no more. Hilton admitted after the fight that he had sustained rib injury during training for that fight (Between rounds, Hilton could be heard telling his father that he couldnt throw his left hand). His last crack at a title was on the Foreman vs.Cooney undercard in January 1990….when his eyes were swollen shut by the punches of defending WBO middleweight champion Doug DeWitt.
Any time a boxing fan gets to watch a “TV fight of the year”….regardless of what year it was….it becomes MUST SEE TV….and that’s what you have here folks.