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Boxing – 1981 – CBSs Brent Musburger Profiles Life And Career Of WBA Bantamwt Champ Jeff Chandler

“Joltin'” Jeff Chandler is a former professional boxer…..who reigned as the Lineal and WBA World Bantamweight Champion from November 1980 to April 1984….as the 5’7″ (67 inches / 1.70 meters) tall Philadelphian began his professional career with a four-round draw in 1976 after only two amateur bouts. Chandler then began a four-year string of victories culminating in a challenge for the world’s lineal and WBA 118-pound bantamwt championships held by Julian Solís….and on November 14, 1980 Chandler won the title by a 14th-round knockout in Miami….while becoming the first American fighter to hold the bantamweight crown in over 30 years.

Chandler’s first defense was against former champion Jorge Luján, winning on points in 15 rounds. He then traveled to Japan to face Asian champion Eljiro Murata….and although he was almost floored in the early rounds, Chandler came back to hold his title with a draw….while many ringside observers felt Chandler deserved a clear points victory.  With his status in the boxing world rising, Chandler followed this up with a repeat victory over Solis, this time in seven rounds. Chandler finished 1981 against Murata, earning a thirteenth-round knockout rematch win.

In March 1982, Chandler faced the only opponent who ever defeated him as an amateur, fellow Philadelphian Johnny Carter. The tables were turned this time as he scored a sixth-round knockout on national television. Soon after, Chandler was sidelined by an injury sustained in a street-fight….when during a traffic altercation in Philadelphia…..he was stabbed on the right shoulder with a broken bottle…. while leaving a distinctive circular scar, but doing no permanent damage.

In 1983, Chandler ventured into the Super bantamweight ranks by winning a ten-round decision over Hector Cortez….then he faced tough Angelino Oscar Muniz in another non-title bout…..as Muniz took the fight to Chandler, winning narrowly on points over ten rounds….which was Chandler’s first defeat in the professional ranks. He defended once more against Murata with another knockout in the tenth round….then he faced Muniz again, this time with the title on the line….as a severe cut over Muniz’s eye brought a stoppage in the seventh round…..thus enabling Chandler to retain his belt by a 7th-round TKO.

On April 7, 1984, Chandler faced the undefeated contender Richie Sandoval….and this time his skills were not enough to stop an eager young foe. Sandoval took the title with a 15th-round knockout…..which turned out to be Chandler’s last fight…..as he elected to have surgery on cataracts that had been diagnosed the year before….and rather than risk blindness, Chandler retired from boxing with a career record of 33 wins, 2 losses and 2 draws.  In 2000, he was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame at Canastota, New York.

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