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John Conteh

Titles: WBC light heavyweight champion 1974-1977

Record: 34-4-1 

Born: March 27, 1951 in Liverpool, England

Years active: 1971-1980

Nickname: None

Conteh was a enigma to be sure, he had all the talent in the world but his bad 
temperament and un-relenting need for control over his own career saw him 
destroy it. At his peak in the mid 70's his body was chiselled and a 
accurate left jab and very fast combinations dazzled both opponents and 
judges. Conteh added to a impressive amateur career by winning his first 
17 fights before falling short on points to cagey Eddie Duncan. This loss 
was forgotten when he won the European light heavyweight crown from Rudiger 
Schmidtge in impressive fashion. Now he would fight his English arch-rival 
Chris Finnegan and in 15 rounds won high marks and the fight from critics 
in what was a very close fights. A rematch ended in controversy when a 
headbutt forced the fight to the cards where Conteh again won. In 1974 
Bob Foster was stripped of his title for not defending against Conteh which 
left  Conteh to fight Jorge Ahmunda for the crown. Conteh won the crown on 
points dominating his foe and in the last couple of rounds going toe to toe 
with his hard hitting opponent before his adoring fans in London. After his 
first defense against Lonnie Bennett constant arguing with his manager took 
over his life, Conteh wanted more control of his career. 2 more successful 
defenses followed against soft opposition but a serious hand injury now 
added to his problems and left him out of the ring for 14 months. A very 
good win over Yaqui Lopez followed but it was to be his last good outing. 
Conteh was stripped of his title when he pulled out of a fight with lightly 
regarded Miguel Cello, Conteh was fit to fight but his temperament got the 
better of him.  Now he was forced to fight as a challenger and was unable 
to win the title in 3 attempts, against Mate Parlov once and Matthew Saad 
Muhammad the first time he had come close to winning on points in their 
home towns. He would state that he was a beaten man before he ever fought 
the champions with his concentration and dedication to the sport now gone. 
In his second fight with Muhammad however he was humiliated and down 5 
times before the referee stopped the fight. Conteh did more damage to his 
hotel room after the fight than Saad Muhammad. In a strange twist he was 
divorced by his wife when she found out Conteh had cheated on her with 
Jake LaMotta's daughter. At the age of 29 he was done after defeating a 
journeyman in London. In retirement he was able to clean himself up and 
stopped the drug and alcohol abuse that ruined his career in the ring. 
Another case of unlimited potential thrown away by a limited mindset. 

John Conteh

Career record: 34 W, 4 L, 1 D (23 K.O's)


Oct 18        Okacha Boubekeur            Mayfair               KO 1  
Nov 8         Pierre Minier               Mayfair               KO 5  
Nov 16        Frank Bullard               London                KO 2  
Nov 24        Tony Burwell                Nottingham            W 8  
Dec 7         Emile Okee                  London                KO 5  

Jan 25        Wilhelm Janco               London                KO 1  
Feb 15        Larry Sykes                 London                KO 1  
Mar 28        Ruben Figueroa              London                KO 2  
Apr 25        Joe Gholdston               London                KO 6  
Jun 6         Billy Aird                  London                KO 8  
Jul 19        Johnny Mac                  Dublin                KO 2  
Sep 26        Eddie Duncan                London                L 10  
Oct 10        Ferenc Kristofcsak          London                W D.Q 1  
Oct 31        Bill Drover                 London                KO 7  
Nov 14        Johnny Hudgins              London                KO 3  
Dec 5         Sam Mc Gill                 London                KO 9  

Jan 15        Dave Matthews               Nottingham            W 10  
Feb 14        Terry Daniels               Las Vegas             KO 6  
Mar 13        Ruediger Schmidtke          London                KO 12  
May 22        Chris Finnegan              London                W 15  
Sep 10        Vicente Rondon              London                KO 9  
Oct 23        Baby Boy Rolle              Nottingham            W 15  
Dec 14        Fred Lewis                  Liverpool             KO 3  
Feb 12        Les Stevens                 Kensington            W 10  
Mar 12        Tom Bogs                    London                KO 7  
May 21        Chris Finnegan              London                KO 6  
Oct 1         Jorge Ahumada               London                W 15  
(Wins WBC Light Heavyweight title)   

Mar 11        Lonnie Bennett              London                 KO 5  
(Retains WBC Light Heavyweight)   
Aug 16        Willie Taylor               Scranton               W 10  

Oct 9         Alvaro Yaqui Lopez          Copenhagen             W 15  
(Retains WBC Light Heavyweight)


Mar 5         Len Hutchins                Liverpool              KO 3  
(Retains WBC Light Heavyweight)


Feb 7         Joe Cokes                   London                 W 10  
Jun 17        Mate Parlov                 Belgrade               L 15  
(For WBC Light Heavyweight)
Sep 26        Leonardo Rodgers            London                 KO 7  

Apr 9         Jesse Burnett               Mayfair                 D 10  
Jun 4         Ivy Brown                   Liverpool               W 10  
Aug 18        Matthew Saad Muhammad       Atlantic City, NJ       L 15  
(For WBC Light Heavyweight)  
Mar 29        Matthew Saad Muhammad       Atlantic City, NJ        KOby 4  
(For WBC Light Heavyweight)   
May 31        James Dixon                 Liverpool                KO 5