1991-04-19 Evander Holyfield w pts 12 George Foreman, Convention Centre, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA - IBF/WBA/WBC

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1991-04-19 Evander Holyfield w pts 12 George Foreman, Convention Centre, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA - IBF/WBA/WBC. Referee: Rudy Battle. Scorecards: 116-111, 117-110, 115-112. Having been outspeeded over the first half of the contest as Holyfield (208) whipped in punches and moved, in the seventh Foreman (257) came alive when shaking the champion up with two thumping right hands. After the eighth round passed him by Foreman came again in the ninth when it was clear that Holyfield was also tiring, and in the tenth he hurt the latter with another big right. During the fight Foreman had occasionally landed low with just a warning given, but in the 11th after going downstairs yet again he finally had a point deducted. The last session saw both men extremely tired, and while Holyfield was doing most of the work it was Foreman, his face by now badly swollen, who received a standing ovation for making it to the final bell.

Further to Mike Tyson's win over Donovan Ruddock (w pts 12 at the Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada on 28 June) in another WBC eliminator, it was announced in mid-July that Holyfield would be defending his title against him on 8 November. This followed an earlier announcement that Holyfield would be meeting Foreman in a rematch on the same date. With Don King, Tyson’s promoter, trying to get support for his fighter to meet Foreman for the vacant title if a match between Holyfield could not be made, when the latter agreed to defend against ‘Iron Mike’ all thoughts of Foreman’s involvement were discarded. However, after Tyson was injured in sparring at the end of October when a re-scheduled date could not be agreed on Holyfield was booked to meet Francesco Damiani on 23 November. When the WBC failed to support the fight due to Damiani not being a top-ten rated fighter, after an ankle injury put the Italian out of the contest and Bert Cooper stepped in as a late substitute their stance remained the same.