Great Britain had not had a world boxing champion since 1950….when middleweight Randy Turpin performed a miracle by defeating undisputed world champion Sugar Ray Robinson….that was until September 26, 1987….when GBR’s Lloyd Honeyghan surprized Donald Curry by taking his title.
Lloyd Honeyghan is a British former professional boxer….who competed from 1980 to 1995….while reigning as the undisputed welterweight champion from 1986 to 1987….and held the WBC, Ring magazine and lineal welterweight titles twice between 1986 and 1989. Earlier in his career at the regional level….Honeyghan held the European, British, and Commonwealth welterweight titles between 1983 and 1985….as well as the Commonwealth light-middleweight title from 1993 to 1994.
At the time he fought Donald Curry….The Cobra was considered the best pound for pound fighter in the world….and Honeyghan was given little chance by the majority of the media and odds makers….as Honeyghan caused a major upset by dominating the fight….after nearly dropping Curry in the 2nd round before Curry retired at the end of round six. Before the fight Curry had himself dismissed his unknown foreign opponent….after having asked “Who is this ragamuffin?”….. to which Honeyghan thereafter adopted the title “ragamuffin” or “Ragamuffin Man” with relish. This fight had taken place one night after another “expert shocker”….when Edwin Rosario knocked out Livingstone Bramble in two rounds to claim the WBA lightweight title….and one week after Honeyghan’s win….which prompted Ring Magazine to mention his victory on their “Weekend of shockers!” issue’s cover….when Rosario’s photo was featured on the cover of that issue.
Honeyghan disagreed with the WBA’s rules that allowed fights to take place in apartheid South Africa…. so he publicly and controversially dumped the WBA welterweight belt into a London trash bin soon after winning it….relinquishing the title rather than defending it against South African Harold Volbrecht. This move would prove significant, as soon after, the WBA stopped sanctioning fights held in South Africa.
After winning the world title he changed his boxer-puncher style to that of more of an out-and-out slugger….and in his first defense, after dominating and flooring his opponent in the 1st round….he caused controversy by racing across the ring and hitting his opponent, former World light welterweight champion Johnny Bumphus as soon as the bell sounded to start the second round as seen in this fight herewith….which was legal at the time…when Bumphus was given time to recover….but the fight had been knocked out of him and he did not last much longer. Following this fight and thereafter in world title fights….every round would begin with the referee standing in the middle of the ring instead of in a neutral corner as previously….thus preventing any punches being thrown until both fighters are ready. In his 2nd defense of the title, Honeyghan defeated the then unbeaten future World Champion Maurice Blocker on points….as Lloyd Honeyghan became a “crowd pleaser” with his all action style of fighting….after which he would record one of the fastest wins in a world title fight with a 45-second blow-out of former light welterweight champion Gene Hatcher of the United States.
Honeyghan’s opponent for this fight was dubbed “Bump City” Bumphus….who began his professional career as a hot prospect after winning his first 22 fights….including the vacant WBA Light Welterweight Title with a decision win over Lorenzo Luis Garcia in 1984….a belt that Bumphus would lose to Gene Hatcher in June 1984 in Buffalo, NY….when Hatcher scored an 11th-round TKO in a fight that had Hatcher knocking Bumphus down….then slipping and falling on a follow-up attempt….followed by Hatcher throwing Bumphus down to the mat when both fighters were clinched….as this extra-curricular activity caused a post-fight melee in the ring….as Hatcher was celebrating in triumph while the now-deposed champion was slugging away in frustration….in a fight that was named as Ring magazine’s upset of the year for 1984.
This 1987 IBF World Welterweight Title Fight would prove to be Johnny Bumphus’ last fight…..as he would retire after the fight with a 29 – 2 career record.