Mike Tyson lost all his world heavyweight boxing titles to 42-to-1 underdog James “Buster” Douglas, on February 11, 1990 in Tokyo Japan. This was a fight that would baffle boxing pundits and boxing naysayers forever. But not me! I know why and how and most importantly where it all started.I was involved with the boxing program in Columbus, Ohio which at the time had a reputation of producing what they call bum fighters. Columbus did produce a champion out of Former Light Weight Champion Hilmer Kenty, but in history he went down as the first Detroit Kronk Gym Champion.
Kenty captured the WBA Lightweight Title with a TKO over Ernesto España. Stars like legendary boxer Thomas Hearns would become one of the greatest boxers of all times as Hilmer Kenty’s career suffered after his title defense loss to Sean O’ Grady in 1981.
Something that a lot of people do not know is that I go way back—as late as 1975 when Bill Dynamite Douglas (Buster Douglas’s father), world light heavyweight title contender Vonzelle Johnson, and National AAU Champion Terry Moore were boxing. The list goes on with: Michael Bradley, Mike Johnson, Marcus Holder ,Tony Johnson, James Boonga Tatum, Marcus Holder, Jeff Murray, my brother, Daryl Allen, Milton Pete Seward, Vance Crawley,Greg Dyer, Robert Adams, Edward Johnson, Roger Rice, Tony Snow, Dean Walker, Donald Dowdy , Kenny Snow, Andre Johnson, Andre Cray , Virgil Mcclendon,James Gardner, Kemper Morton, Wes Caldwel, Tony Johnson, Jasper Brown Richard The Fly Rozelle, John Summerall, Vincent Nelms, Delbert Nelms,Darren Young, John Moore, Kip Cane,Craig Featherstone,Gilbert Turnange, Coach Wayne Pruitt, Michael Clark,Cecil Cooper,George Bowman, Norman Burke, Roger Burke, Tyrone Taylor, Steve Gregory, Keith Bradly, Eric Robinson,Mitchel Ellison. Mark Woods with brother Daryl Woods, Gary Kenty, Maurice Chinn, Robert Cook, Daryl Henery, Jasper Brown, Calvin Mcclinton, Forest Winchester, Jerome Brown, Jose Spierman ,Gary Kenty, Doug Stevens, Ronnie Fountain, Vincent Nelms, Charles Buggs, Brett Persons Frankie Walton, Kenneth Key, Teddy Walls, Tyrone Walls, Michael Adams, Brian Battles, Kenneth Battles, Henery Agee, Toby Rushing, Mark Mckeiver, Kelly Fountain, Arthur Dawson, Linwood and Ricky Allison, Robbie Barber, Junie Johnson, Kenny Rogers ,Wayne Walker, Brian Llyod, Kenneth Battles and Charles Culpepper. These are the names that came first and I am certain there are plenty more names that didn’t come to my memory.
Yes! Once upon a time—Columbus,Ohio dominated boxing.
In the amateur division Columbus was really awesome under the boxing program that the legendary Bill Cummings Jr. ran. The Ohio State Fair National Amateur Boxing Tournament was the biggest boxing amateur tournament in the world. Yes, the world! It was started by Bill Cummings Jr.
1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Jerry Page was also in that group as well as myself. Once again I would like to mention that there was way more talent than I have named
Columbus Ohio was the boxing capital of the world! Legendary amateur and professional boxing trainer Emmanuel Steward implemented Columbus, Ohio’s boxing program at the his famous Kronk Gym in Detroit. Emmanuel Steward and the Kronk stable would not even have existed (or at least be successful as they we’re) had it not been for Bill Cummings Jr.
As I am writing this story I got off track about Douglas and Tyson because Columbus, Oho I still can’t believe how loaded it was with talent—so much crazy—I mean crazy talent! Like Kamal Hassan and Marvin Greene.
The Ohio Youth Commission (OYC) boxing team that I belonged to and coached by Mr. Cummings would go on trips to Detroit to take on Kronk Gym and the Yo Mama jokes would start flying. Yo Momma Jokes? Well, the origin started in the 1970s. This will be talked about in my next story.
Hell, Hilmer Kenty Beat Aaron Pryor. This city of Columbus, Ohio—no wonder Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson. Buster came from the boxing capital of the world!
Columbus was so talented we even had the greatest Ring Side announcer Vernon Robinson. I remember at the Ohio State Fair just listening to Mr Robinson’s voice, He was the greatest boxing announcer that ever lived. There was a man named Mr Gorby and Charles Sanders, both men could put up a boxing ring quicker than you get dressed. That’s right Columbus, Ohio had it all! A better and more dominant boxing program than the legendary Detroit Kronk Stable.
Stay tuned for Part II of The Greatest Upset in Boxing History: It Started in Columbus, Ohio