Lennox Lewis hunted Riddick Bowe at 1988 Olympics for snide comment

Riddick Bowe Lennox Lewis

Esther Lin

Former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has described how he looked for Riddick Bowe at the 1988 Olympics after hearing his rival made disrespectful comments.

Before turning pro and reigning supreme, Lewis, who won gold at the Seoul Games, didn’t know of Bowe before they went face-to-face.

A man of few words anyway, ‘The Pugilist Specialist’ only has six for Bowe that day.

His promise was he would end it when they meet.

Speaking to P Diddy’s Revolt channel alongside the Drink Champs crew, Lewis picked up the story.

“I went to the Olympics, and everyone kept coming up to me and saying, ‘Riddick Bowe said he’s gonna knock out out’ – and I was like, who’s Riddick Bowe?

“It was members of the American team (that were saying that about Bowe). And then a couple of other people said, ‘yeah, Riddick Bowe said he’s gonna knock you out!’.

“So I asked one of the guys, ‘could you take me to Riddick Bowe please?’ – We went, and we found him, we looked for a while.

“Anyway, I have seen him walked up to him and said; ‘Listen, I’m gonna knock you out!'”

Asked by N.O.R.E if he introduced himself first, Lewis added: “No, I just told him ‘I’m gonna knock you out!’

Lennox Lewis 1988 Canada Olympics Heavyweight
Boxing Canada

“Then I walked away, and he was like, ‘who’s that?’ – I was like, he’s going to find out who I am.

“I thought it was disrespectful for him to say he was going to beat me when he didn’t even know me. I thought, who is this guy? – I didn’t know him either.

“So I’m glad we fought, and I knocked him out.”

LENNOX LEWIS WBC TITLE BIN

Years later, the WBC ordered then-title-holder Bowe to defend against Lewis, who had made himself the mandatory contender.

Rather than putting his belt on the line against the man who took away his chances of Olympic gold medal glory, Bowe decided to bin the green strap.


Lennox Lewis went on to claim the vacant championship and eventually unified the whole division.

A year after his controversial move, Bowe did make up for it when speaking to WBC President at that time – Jose Sulaiman.

Jose’s son Mauricio, who succeeded his father in the role, revealed Bowe regretted his decision.

“He apologized to my father and the WBC back in 1994. It was his manager Rock Newman who made him do that which he is extremely ashamed for,” said Mauricio.

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America since 2018. And a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.