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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

McCall Takes a Swing at Lewis' Title

NEW YORK -- Oliver McCall is ranked No. 1 contender by all three major boxing organizations, but the man who next challenges world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis is best known as a world-class sparring partner.


McCall, 29, who made his name in boxing as the rugged man who helped prepare Mike Tyson for big fights, gets his big shot when he goes after the World Boxing Council crown held by Lewis on Sept. 24 at London's Wembley Arena.


"I will be the new champion of the world," vowed the hyperactive McCall at a news conference Wednesday. The loquacious and confident American, determined to take advantage of opportunity, even took time to look past Lewis.


Holding forth in a lively stream of consciousness rap, the fidgety challenger said his goal was to grab the title and hold it long enough to take on, and beat, his old employer, Mike Tyson.


"I want to beat him in a ring for real," said McCall. "I'm the guy who made him look good.


"I've never been knocked down, never been cut. Tyson? I've had his eye swollen and nose busted up."


McCall, whose pro record is 24-5, is convinced that the big-time boxers have been ducking him over the years. The obscure American has hired highly respected Emanuel Steward to train him for his crack at the title, and Steward is impressed.


"He's a very dangerous fighter, a little crazy and not afraid of anyone," said Steward, summing up his impressions of his new pupil.


"This will probably be the hottest heavyweight fight we've had in a long time."


Lewis, 28, the undefeated Jamaican-born Briton, had tried to line up a fight against former champion Riddick Bowe before being ordered to make a mandatory defense against McCall.


Lewis, sporting a new, braided hair style, was polite at first about the match with McCall.


"It's going to be a good fight. He's not going come there and lie down," said Lewis, who is 25-0 and has finished off 21 opponents within the distance.


Lewis' trainer, Pepe Correa, said McCall, nicknamed the "Atomic Bull," was out of his mind if he thought he could handle the champion.


"Call him the 'Atomic Frog,' because he's gonna be on all fours on the canvas," Correa said. "He's a good sparring partner, that's all this boy is."


Like McCall, Lewis was also thinking past the Wembley date.


"If it was up to me I'd rather pass it by. This is a stepping stone. I want to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world," Lewis said.


"I look at it as a good preparation. I've seen Oliver McCall fight. Like I said, he spars well."


Lewis, resigned to a long wait for a heavyweight unification match, said he would like to set up a fight against Bowe right after the McCall bout. "I want to fight Bowe in December so I can be on the beach in January," said Lewis. "I think we're the two best heavyweights in the world."