International Boxing Hall of Fame

Dick Tiger

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Dick Tiger
Real name Richard Ihetu
Rated at  
Birth date August 14, 1929
Birth place Amaigbo, Orlu, Nigeria
Death date December 14, 1971 (aged 42)
Boxing record
Total fights 81
Wins 60
Wins by KO  
Losses 18
Draws 3

Dick Tiger CBE (born Richard Ihetu August 14, 1929 - December 14, 1971) was a boxer from Amaigbo, Orlu, Nigeria, was a migrant fighter to Liverpool (and later to America). Tiger was a talented boxer, commercial venturer, and Biafran rebel. His boxing career record was: Fought 81; Won 60; Lost 18; Drew 3.

Dick Tiger was one of the great fighters to come out of the African continent. Tiger became a two-time undisputed world middleweight titlist. Tiger helped keep boxing alive during the 1950s boxing industry recession. Tiger earned an undisputed Light-Heavyweight world championship. In 1962, Tiger won the world middle weight boxing championship. Tiger inspired other Nigerians to go into boxing.

Tiger was an "in-house fighter" at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

Tiger developed a portfolio of investments before the outbreak of his homeland's civil war. Supporter of the Biafran secession, Tiger's propaganda and financial support of this cause cost him much. Tiger was appointed CBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but he returned his insignia as a protest for what he perceived as a lack of support by Great Britain to the Biafran cause.

Tiger fought some of boxing's best fighters, such as Ace Armstrong, Florentinao Fernandez, Rubin Carter --all whom he knocked out, as well asGene Fullmer, from whom he took the world's Middleweight title by decision in fifteen, drew (tied) in fifteen and knocked out in seven rounds, retaining his belt the two latter times; Joey Giardello, against whom he split four fights, including losing the title by decision in their third encounter and then regaining it in their fourth, Jose Torres, against whom he won the world Light-Heavyweight title by decision in fifteen and retained it, once again by decision in 15, Nino Benvenuti, defeated in ten rounds by decision by Tiger, and Bob Foster, the only man to knock Tiger out, in four rounds at the Madison Square Garden, to mark the end of Tiger's days as world champion.

After retiring from boxing, Tiger worked as a guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, but one day, he felt a strong pain in his back. Tested by doctors, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. Tiger had been banned by the Nigerian government in his country because of his involvement in the Biafran movement; however, the ban was lifted immediately after news about his condition arrived in Nigeria.

Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal, by Adeyinka Makinde was released sometime in 2005.[1]

Miscellaneous Facts

  • Named Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year for 1962 and 1965.
  • Appeared as a guest on an episode of the American television series "What's My Line?" The panel correctly guessed his occupation.
Preceded by
Gene Fullmer
WBA Middleweight Champion
23 Oct 1962�7 Dec 1963
Succeeded by
Joey Giardello
Preceded by
Paul Pender
WBC Middleweight Champion
7 May 1963�7 Dec 1963
Succeeded by
Joey Giardello
Preceded by
Joey Giardello
World Light Heavyweight Champion
21 Oct 1965�25 Apr 1966
Succeeded by
Emile Griffith
Preceded by
Jose Torres
World Light Heavyweight Champion
16 Dec 1966�24 May 1968
Succeeded by
Bob Foster