Evander Holyfield

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Professional boxer and sports speaker Evander Holyfield is known for his sheer will and determination in the ring. Evander is often referred to as “the Real Deal” and is a legend in the boxing world. He is a four-time world heavyweight champion as well as an Olympic medalist.

Evander competed as an amateur in the Golden Gloves competitions at the start of his career, but it was only after winning a national Golden Gloves championship in 1984 that Evander came to fame. By the time he graduated high school, he earned a spot on the 1984 Los Angeles U.S. Olympic boxing team and took home the bronze medal.

After the Olympics, Evander wasted little time and decided to continue his passion for boxing as a professional. After he won his first two fights as a light heavyweight, he knocked out his next two opponents in three rounds, moving him up to cruiserweight. In less than a year, he won seven fights, six of which were early-round knockouts, earning him the right to fight for a world championship title. It was Evander’s sheer will that won the epic fifteen round battles against WBA champion Muhammad Qawi. This became known as the Fight of the Decade. To this day, he is the only undefeated, undisputed cruiserweight champion.

Evander dominated the cruiserweight division and moved up to heavyweight in 1988. He won his first world heavyweight championship match after defeating James “Buster” Douglas in 1990. He retained the heavyweight title three more times throughout his professional career, including victories over previous champions Larry Holmes and George Foreman.

Evander has a successful career outside the ring as well. He has endorsed numerous products including Coca Cola, Diet Coke and Zaxby’s. He released a video game for The Sega Genesis and the Sega Game Gear: Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing. He was also given the opportunity to carry the 1996 Olympic torch when it was on its way to his hometown of Atlanta.

Because of Evander’s popularity, he has made several television appearances. His first television debut came in 1990 during the Christmas special of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He placed in fifth place on the ABC hit series Dancing With the Stars and made an appearance in Strictly Come Dancing, BBC’s original series featuring a “Champions of Champions” showdown. In 2007, he appeared on TV infomercials for his cooking appliance, the Real Deal Grill.

Evander is an also avid supporter of charities. In 1993, he established the Holyfield Foundation where he devotes some of his time to helping disadvantaged young children become successful adults. Other charities he is involved with are Celebrity Fight Night Foundation, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.