THE RAGGAMUFFIN LLOYD HONEYGHAN

Updated: Aug 6, 2019


Lloyd Honeyghan


Lloyd Honeyghan was born in St Elizabeth, Jamaica on 22nd April 1960. He learnt his boxing in Bermondsey’s Fisher Club, after his family moved to London as a youngster.

Honeyghan represented England as an amateur and won the London championship, before turning professional under the guidance of Terry Lawless. On 08th December 1980 he outpointed Mike Sullivan, who was also making his debut, over six rounds.

In January 1983 he outpointed Lloyd Hibbert over ten rounds in a British title eliminator. Two months later he picked up the Southern Area British welterweight belt, which was also a final eliminator for the British title when he knocked out Sid Smith in the fourth round. He finally challenged Cliff Gilpin for the vacant British title on 05th April 1983, winning a twelve round points decision, after suffering a knockdown in round two.

In January 1985 he knocked out future IBF light-middleweight champion Gianfranco Rossi, in the third round for the European crown, before splitting acrimoniously with Lawless.

Under new manager Mickey Duff, Honeyghan also added the Commonwealth title to his British and European belts by defeating Saint Lucia's Sylvester Mittee, who resided in London, via an eighth round TKO.

One victory later he challenged undisputed welterweight champion Don Curry on 27th September 1986. Th champion turned pro at the tail end of 1980, stopping Mario Tineo in the first round. In his twelfth contest he took the North American Boxing Federation title by defeating Bruce Finch in the fourth round.

Curry added Marlon Starling's United States Boxing Association belt to his NABF title with a twelve round split decision. Curry's record improved to 15-0 (11 KO's) while Starling dropped to 25-1 (16 KO's). In his next bout he outpointed South Korea's Jun-Suk Hwang, by scores of 148-140 and two cards of 146-139, for the vacant WBA welterweight title on 13th February 1983.

In February 1984 he faced Marlon Starling again, winning a fifteen unanimous decision, to add the IBF crown to his WBA belt. Six more victories, which included a visit to Britain, where he defeated Welshman Colin Jones in four rounds at the NEC in Birmingham, he added Milton McCrory's WBC championship to his collection to become the undisputed welterweight champion of the world.

Curry was seen at the time as the only credible opponent for undisputed middleweight champion Marvin Hagler. Many feared for Honeyghan's welfare, but the Londoner was defiant, saying “I ain’t scared of no man, I’ll bash him up.”

Honeyghan was so confident in his abilities that he backed himself to win by placing £25,000 on himself. Six rounds later Curry retired on his stool. His nose was broken and needed twenty stitches on a jagged gash over his left eye; in fact he looked like he’d been mauled by a cornered beast.

He defended the crown by stopping Johnny Bumphus in round two, out pointing future WBC welterweight champion Maurice Blocker and needed only 45 seconds to dismantle the dangerous Gene Hatcher in Marbella.

In 1986 Honeyghan relinquished his WBA belt in a stand against apartheid rather than defend it against South African Harold Volbrecht.

He lost the WBC championship to the Mexican Jorge Vaca via an eighth round technical decision, due to a clash of heads that caused a cut to the challenger in October 1987. He was also stripped of the IBF title as the Vaca fight was scheduled for twelve rounds, instead of their mandatory fifteen.

Honeyghan criticised his manager Mickey Duff after the defeat, with Duff retaliating “There’s nothing in our contract that says we have to like each other.”

With an all out assault Honeyghan regained the WBC title with a third round knockout, avenging his October loss to Vaca in March 1987 at Wembley Arena, London. He defended the belt against Yung-Kil Chung, keeping the belt after a fifth round TKO, as the challenger was unable to continue after being hit low by Honeyghan.

The following February Honeyghan travelled to Las Vegas and surrendered the green belt to Marlon Starling in nine rounds. He suffered nerve damage to his face in the early rounds. “Every-time he me it was like cutting me with a knife,” he said.

August 1989 saw the former champ win an unanimous ten round decision America's Delfino Marin. The victory set up a world title challenge to WBA welterweight champion Mark Breland in March 1990.