Dwight Muhammad Qawi (born Dwight Braxton) is an American former professional boxer….who competed from 1978 to 1998…..and was a world champion in two weight classes….after having held the WBC and Ring magazine light heavyweight titles from 1981 to 1983….along with the WBA cruiserweight title from 1985 to 1986.
Braxton / Qawi went 1-1-1 in his first three pro fights….but then reeled off 14 straight victories to move into the world rankings at light heavyweight…..when the last of those wins came on September 5, 1981….when Braxton returned to Rahway State Prison to fight James Scott….with the winner promised a shot at Matthew Saad Muhammad’s WBC world championship belt…..as Braxton won a unanimous 10-round decision. On December 19 of the same year, Braxton faced Saad Muhammad in Atlantic City….as the ex-convict was the underdog against Saad Muhammad ….who was one of the most popular fighters of his generation and a fellow Hall of Famer…..and that is when Braxton defeated him on a 10th-round TKO….while becoming a world champion for the first time. It was shortly after this that he announced his conversion to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Qawi.
He defended the title three times in the next 15 months….while knocking out Jerry Martin, Saad Muhammad a second time and Eddie Davis…..with whom he fights after this video interview seen herewith. On March 18, 1983, he lost a close but unanimous decision to WBA champion Michael Spinks in a unification bout.
Qawi felt that making the division’s 175-pound weight limit had drained him physically….and resolved to seek another world title in the newly created cruiserweight division…..and freed of the need to fight to keep his weight down….Qawi reeled off another series of wins and claimed the WBA cruiserweight title on July 7, 1985 by knocking out Piet Crous in Crous’ native South Africa. He won two more fights, including a victory over former world heavyweight titlist Leon Spinks, before accepting a challenge from Olympian Evander Holyfield on July 12, 1986 in Holyfield’s hometown of Atlanta….and went the full 15 rounds with Holyfield….while losing by split decision. Qawi was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004.