The never revealed story of Richard Dick Tiger

You might never come across this young igbo man named Richard
Dick Tiger of Amigbo it’s to tell you that we Igbo people of Biafran
has been in the all sort of system before even our oppressors Now
you can read
Richard “Tiger” Ihetu was one of the greatest boxers to come out
of Africa. He made history in 1962 when he won the world
middleweight title in New York. He triumphed again in 1963 when
he defended his crown in Nigeria in the first ever world title boxing
match put on in Africa.
Ihetu was born to noble, but cash-strapped parents in Amaigbo,
Imo State, Nigeria, as one of four children on August 14th, 1929;
he was christened Richard, Iherigbo. Ihetu started boxing at age
19, competing in inter-club contests organized by British military
officers in Nigeria. At one of his bouts, a fan 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!” the
fan shouted. Thus the name Tiger was born.
After conquering his opponents on the Nigerian boxing scene, he
travelled to England. While there, Ihetu’s fistic abilities was so
impressive that he not only wore the crown as British Empire
Middleweight Boxing Champion, but also received the Commander
of the British Order (CBE), in 1958 from Queen Elizabeth II. (He
later returned it in protest of the British government’s support of
the Nigerian regime during the civil war.)
In 1959, Ihetu immigrated to the USA. It was in the USA that Ihetu
honed and perfected his boxing skills, to become one of the most
sought after fighters by boxing promoters and fight fans. He
became a constant attraction at the famed Madison Square
Garden.
Ihetu made history in 1962 when he won the world middleweight
title in New York. He was awarded “Fighter of the Year” by Ring
Magazines, winning over contenders such as Sonny Liston, Emile
Griffith, Carlos Ortiz, and the incomparable Muhammed Ali ( then
Cassius Clay), to clench the coveted title. Ihetu received the award
again in 1965. He triumphed again in 1963 when he defended his
crown in Nigeria in the first ever world title boxing match put on in
Africa.
His 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.
While working as a guard, one day, he felt a strong pain in his
back. Tested by doctors, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. Ihetu
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. Shortly before his death, he was allowed to return to
Nigeria to be with his wife and five children.
He died of liver cancer on December 14, 1971; he was 42 years
old.
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.

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2 Comments

  1. Nice one

  2. good

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