George Foreman - The Hard Hitting Preacher

George Foreman was born on January 10th, 1949 in Marshall, Texas.

Idolising Sonny Liston, Foreman was possibly the hardest hitter in heavyweight history.

Standing 6'3" and weighing 225lbs in his prime, many believed him to be the greatest champion in history. The cool, sometimes rude fighter of the 1970's, but now seen as a jolly giant.

From an early age, he had been interested in many sports, such as football and basketball.

In 1965, he joined the job corps working in construction and earning a diploma over the two-year period. Shortly after, he was spotted by Nick Broadus, a heavyweight instructor who began training him as a boxer.

It was in 1967 in San Francisco that he won his first amateur fight, by knockout in the 1st round.

He continued his boxing career and gained employment as a teacher of physical education.

In 1968, Foreman got a position in the Olympic games in Mexico City on the United States boxing team, after winning a National Amateur Heavyweight championship. He won a heavyweight gold medal at the games, leading him to start his professional career.

After knocking out Don Waldhelm in 1969 in New York City in the 3rd round, he consecutively defeated 36 opponents over a three-year period.

On January 22nd, 1973, he won the world title from Joe Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica. Frazier had been the 3-1 favourite, but the fight was stopped at 1:35 of the 2nd round, Foreman knocking Frazier to the canvas six times.

Undefeated in 40 fights, he defended his title successfully against Joe Roman in 1973 in Tokyo and Ken Norton in 1974 in Caracas, Venezuela, knocking him out in the 2nd round.

On October 30th, 1974, Foreman lost his title to Muhammad Ali by knockout in the 8th round in Kinshasa, Zaire.

Claiming that he had seen God in the locker room after a 12-round points loss in 1977 to Jimmy Young, Foreman retired and became a Christian Minister.

In 1987 at 38 years of age, he began a comeback, weighing over 250 pounds. He won 24 consecutive fights, mostly against cruiserweights and journeymen heavies, before losing a 12-round decision at the age of 42 to Evander Holyfield on April 19th, 1991 in Atlantic City. Foreman quoted that "the question isn't at what age I want to retire, it's at what income."

Nicknamed "The Preacher," Foreman was seen as one of boxing's most colourful characters. Whereas his comeback is an inspirational story, some believe he was light-hearted in his approach and back in it only for the money.

Twenty years after he first lost his title to Ali, Foreman regained the Heavyweight title at 45, in 1994 defeating Michael Moorer with a tenth round knockout. Refusing a rematch with Moorer, he was stripped of his title.

His fame continued to flourish outside the ring. As well as becoming a Christian Minister, founding a Church and youth centre, he starred in a TV sitcom, gave lectures, hosted Saturday Night Live and did sports commentaries for HBO.

In a 1997 Oscar nominated documentary 'When We Were Kings,' filmmaker Leon Gast brought to screen the story of Foreman and Muhammad Ali's 1974 'Rumble in the Jungle.'

George Foreman's professional boxing record stands at 76 wins, 5 losses with 68 knockouts.