Boxing: Lewis humbles Golota with devastating salvo

Britain's Lennox Lewis sent a chill through the heavyweight division and a shiver down the spine of Andrzej Golota in a resounding defence of his world title. Glyn Leach witnessed a night of deliverance in Atlantic City.

At long last the real Lennox Lewis has stood up - and the world must take notice of the fighter one American writer had dubbed: "The heavyweight king of hesitancy." Hesitancy? It is doubtful that Andrzej Golota, the challenger for Lewis's World Boxing Council title who was decimated in 95 seconds here on Saturday evening, would recognise that quality in Lewis.

The awesome destruction of the Chicago-based Pole was the culmination of an eight-year, 33-fight (one defeat, 26 wins by KO) career of frustration, disappointments and dreams all but disappeared. But Lewis turned Golota into his whipping boy, sending a chill through heavyweight boxing in the process. Two previous fights this year had seen opponents Oliver McCall and Henry Akinwande steal Lewis's glory by refusing to compete. Golota, however, was never given that chance. He was swiftly, summarily dispatched.

"I was denied great victories in those fights and I was so hungry to prove myself," Lewis said afterwards. "I believe I did tonight."

Not wrong. Lewis's performance in defence of his World Boxing Council title was near perfect. How else does one describe a fight in which he landed 30 of 36 punches thrown, taking only two, of minor consequence, in return? No pain, no gain, they say. Lewis made a lie of that and a mug of anyone - and there were many on this side of the Atlantic - who doubted him.

"That was a different Lennox Lewis in there tonight," said the outstanding WBC light-heavyweight champion, Roy Jones, commentating on the American pay-per-view television broadcast. "No fighter can live with this Lennox Lewis."

Lewis needed to produce a crushing performance, and he did. America had grown disillusioned by the lack of drama in his fights, an apparent absence of passion in the man, and had all but dismissed Lewis. He can never be ignored again after this emphatic win.

"It was like your six balls coming out of the Lottery on a Saturday evening," said Lewis's elated manager, Frank Maloney. "The performance spoke for itself."

Golota was seen as a genuine threat. Most American publications picked him to win on the strength of his performances in two disqualification losses to the former champion Riddick Bowe last year, fights Golota was winning before inexplicably fouling his way to defeat. But the so-called Beast from the East was humbled by Lewis.

The size of his task and the sheer size of Lewis, 32, were too much for the 29-year-old Golota, who, afterwards, was taken to the Atlantic City Medical Center, having suffered an anxiety attack. Golota was given oxygen and taken on a stretcher from the arena, but within hours a Medical Center spokesperson had described his condition as: "Awake, aware and orientated."

"I don't know what happened," Golota said in his broken English. "Hard to understand what happened. Accident. Too much pressure, I guess. Too nervous. No excuses, I love to fight. But sorry."

What happened? Golota froze because some time prior to this fight, perhaps as long as four years ago when he was employed as a sparring partner for Lewis's defence against Frank Bruno, Lewis sent a shiver down his spine that will remain for as long as Golota lives. The challenger was beaten before a punch was thrown.

Golota arrived late at the Convention Center by police car, resulting in a 20-minute delay to the fight. His confused state of mind was reflected by his camp having requested a further 20 minute delay before he left the dressing-room, only for Golota to appear straight away, striding through the crowd of 13,889.

Golota's huge body of support erupted into cheers at the sight of him. Lewis thus entered a cauldron of hostility, but within seconds of arriving in the ring he had harnessed all the animosity and redirected it at Golota. Never had Lewis looked so focused. His body language drained all thoughts of victory from Golota. Lewis levelled a stare at his challenger that was cold, unerring and full of destructive intent. Lewis fully expanded his 6ft 5in, 17st 6lbs frame, raised his arms high in the air like some enraged bear, and marched to the centre of the ring.

Events of the previous week - when Main Events, the organisation that promotes both fighters, appeared to be favouring the challenger - had stirred feelings of resentment in Lewis. Within seconds of the start, Golota had given ground and before much longer a second punch salvo, finished by a bludgeoning right-hander, had dropped Golota in a heap by the ropes.

By instinct alone, the Pole got up, but staggered sideways across the ring. The fight should have been stopped inside the opening minute but somehow the referee, Joe Cortez, contrived to allow Golota more than 20 seconds to recover. But it would have taken all night. Five brutal, lightning- fast punches later and it was over. Maloney, resplendent in a Union Jack suit, lead the delirious celebrations in the ring.

"I'm still on a mission to unify the world title and there are two belts [The World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation championships) out there that I want," said the vindicated Lewis. "I'll go on until I'm satisfied and now I feel I'm truly ready to step up to the plate."

Norman Mailer once termed the young George Foreman "the very prodigy of power". The veteran Foreman has commented on many of Lewis's previous fights in the United States, invariably expressing the opinion that the Briton was a puncher who fooled himself into thinking he was a boxer. Now Mailer's prodigy has found an heir, as Foreman would surely recognise.

people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery NurseI am currently...

Nursery Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Breakfast and after school club wor...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

DT Teacher - Resistant Materials

£33000 - £34000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Technology Teacher (Resis...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?