Name: Dick Tiger
Birth Name: Richard Ihetu
Birthplace: Amaigbo, Nigeria
Died: 1971-12-15 (Age:42)
Hometown: Amaigbo, Nigeria
Height: 5′ 8″ / 173cm
Reach: 71″ / 180cm
Boxing Record: click
Manager: Lew Burston
Trainers: Jimmy August, Chickie Ferrera
Cutman: Freddie Brown
Dick Tiger Photo Gallery
- Richard Ihetu—later Dick Tiger—started boxing at age 19, competing in inter-club contests organized by British military officers in Nigeria.
- At one of his bouts, an Englishman named Bob Diamen watched the short, stocky Ihetu practically jump in the air to hit his opponent. What tenacity he thought, almost like a Tiger. "A tiger is what he is!" he shouted. Thus was born the sobriquet Dick Tiger.
- The Ring recognized Tiger—who had defeated Gene Fullmer to win the WBA Middleweight Championship in 1962—as World Middleweight Champion following the retirement of Paul Pender in May 1963. Pender defeated Sugar Ray Robinson in 1960 to win recognition as World Middleweight Champion by The Ring, New York, Massachusetts and Europe. When Pender retired, he was recognized only by The Ring and Massachusetts, his home state.
- Tiger appeared as a guest on an episode of the American television series What's My Line? in June 1963. The show consisted of celebrity panelists questioning contestants in order to determine their occupations. The panel correctly guessed Tiger's line of work.
- Nigeria's Eastern Region voted to secede in May 1967 and declared independence as the Republic of Biafra, which led to civil war. Tiger swore allegiance to the new republic and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Biafran morale corps. Tiger lost his property and money in the war, and he was banned by the Nigerian government following Biafra's surrender in January 1970.
- Queen Elizabeth II honored Tiger with the Order of the British Empire. He later returned it in protest of the British government's support of the Nigerian regime during the civil war.
- Tiger's final fight was a ten-round decision loss to Emile Griffith on July 15, 1970. Following the loss, Tiger was unable to secure any big paydays and went to work as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
- Tiger was diagnosed with liver cancer in 1971. Shortly before his death, he was allowed to return to Nigeria to be with his wife and five children.
- Former pro boxer Young Dick Tiger is the nephew of Dick Tiger.
- A fictional Dick Tiger fight against a fictional opponent—which is described in bloody detail—figures largely near the end of Stephen King's 2011 time-travel novel 11/22/63. In a huge upset, Tiger loses to Tom "The Hammer" Case of Dallas, Texas, by a fifth-round knockout at Madison Square Garden on August 29, 1963.
Awards & Recognition
- The Ring Fighter of the Year for 1962 and 1965.
- Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year for 1962 and 1966.
- Inducted into The Ring's Hall of Fame in 1974.
- Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.
- Charley Rose ranked Tiger as the 8th greatest middleweight of all-time in 1968.
- Herbert Goldman ranked Tiger as the 9th greatest middleweight of all-time in 1989.
- The Ring ranked Tiger as the 7th greatest middleweight of all-time in 1975 and 14th in 2004.
- The Ring ranked Tiger as the 31st best fighter of the last 80 years in 2002.
- Bert Sugar ranked Tiger as the 63rd greatest fighter of all-time in 2006.
NBA Middleweight Champion
| WBA Middleweight Champion
1962 Oct 23 – 1963 Dec 7
| WBC Middleweight Champion
1963 Aug 10 – 1963 Dec 7
| WBA Middleweight Champion
WBC Middleweight Champion
1965 Oct 21 – 1966 Apr 25
| WBA Light Heavyweight Champion
WBC Light Heavyweight Champion
1966 Dec 16 – 1968 May 24