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Boxing – 1986 – ABCs Alex Wallau Profiles Lt Heavywt Champ Dwight Mohammad Qawi Life And Career

Dwight Muhammad Qawi (born Dwight Braxton; January 5, 1953) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1978 to 1998. He was a world champion in two weight classes….after having held the WBC and Ring magazine light heavyweight titles from 1981 to 1983…. and the WBA cruiserweight title from 1985 to 1986.   

He 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….with the last of those wins coming 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 the Dwight Braxton won a unanimous 10-round decision….then on December 19th, Braxton faced Saad Muhammad in Atlantic City….when the ex-convict was the underdog against Saad….who was one of the most popular fighters of his generation and a fellow Hall of Famer….but Braxton defeated him on a 10th-round technical knockout and became a world champion for the first time.  It was shortly after this that he announced his conversion to Islam and changed his name to Dwight Muhammad Qawi.

Qawi defended his title three times in the next 15 months by knocking out Jerry Martin, Saad Muhammad a second time and Eddie Davis….then on March 18, 1983, he lost a close but unanimous decision to WBA champion Michael Spinks in a unification bout….when 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…..so, 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 champion Leon Spinks….before accepting a challenge from Olympian Evander Holyfield on July 12, 1986….with the fight being in Holyfield’s hometown of Atlanta….where he went the full 15 rounds…with Holyfield winning a split decision.

After the loss to Holyfield, Qawi fought off and on for the next 12 years….but never regained a world title….although he had a rematch with Holyfield in 1987 for the WBA and IBF cruiserweight titles….but was stopped in the fourth round.  After a short stint in the heavyweight ranks….where in 1988 he lost to George Foreman by knockout in seven rounds….then he tried to regain the cruiserweight title on November 27, 1989….but dropped a split decision to Robert Daniels for Holyfield’s vacated WBA title.

Qawi retired in 1999 at the age of 46, with a career record of 41 wins, 11 losses and one draw with 25 wins by way of knockout. Currently, he works as a boxing trainer in New Jersey.  Qawi was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004 

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