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Foreman in boxing Hall of Fame

January 10, 2003 15:48 IST

Two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman topped the list of inductees into the International Boxing Hall of Fame announced on Thursday.

Other members of the class of 2003 to be inducted alongside Foreman, include Mike McCallum, who won titles in three different weight classes, welterweight Curtis Cokes, junior welterweight Nicolino Locche of Argentina and posthumously, middleweight champion Fred Apostoli.

Boxing journalist Jack Fiske, author-screenwriter Budd Schulberg and promoter Dan Duva will also be enshrined during ceremonies on June 8.

"What a happy moment for me to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame," said Foreman, who had a career record of 76-5 with 68 knockouts.

"It was on my visit there a few years back that I saw the hand wraps of the great Joe Louis.

"That is when my hopes too started to arise about someday being alongside the past great boxers.

"I cannot wait for the date of the event.

"To have my name with the likes of Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali, I have made it."

The gold medallist at the 1968 Olympics, Foreman was regarded as one of the most devastating punchers to ever set foot in the ring and in 1972 was crowned undisputed heavyweight champion after knocking out

Joe Frazier.

He made two successful title defences before being knocked out by Muhammad Ali in October 1974.

In 1977, following a loss to Jimmy Young, Foreman retired from the sport to become a minister with his own church in Houston.

But in 1987, the aging fighter was lured back into the ring and seven years later at age 45 knocked out Michael Moorer to become the oldest ever heavyweight champion.

Foreman would fight three more years, retiring for good in November 1997 after losing to Shannon Briggs.

It was during his comeback that Foreman enjoyed the immense popularity and fame he never knew during his prime as a boxer, becoming a successful businessman while appearing in commercials and on television shows endorsing dozens of products.

McCallum, the first Jamaican world boxing champion, captured championship belts in three weight classes, junior middleweight, middleweight and light heavyweight in his 15 year career, retiring in 1997 with a record of 49-5-1 with 36 knockouts.

"It's a wonderful feeling, it's terrific. I'm overwhelmed," said McCallum.

"As a youngster, I dreamed of being a champion and after ending up with three championships during my long career, to top it off with election into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, I'm speechless."

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