Jamaican Heavyweight Oliver Wright Dies, Fought Holmes, Bonavena and The Best
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
*Photo Credit: Boxer Rec
Atlanta, Georgia (December 30th, 2018)– Jamaican heavyweight Oliver Wright, who fought in the 1968 Mexico City and 1972 Munich Olympics, but later became more historically famous in the heavyweight division for the fighters he won and lost to, has died in Atlanta, Georgia at the age of 71.
Wright won a gold medal at the Central American and Carribean Games in 1971, stopping Orester Pedroza on Cuba in the final round. Wright posted a distinguished amateur record of 115 wins and 12 losses, and turned pro in 1973 at age 25. His professional career was from 1973 to 1981, stretching the time period in the heavyweight division dominated by Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Big George Foreman, Muhammad Ali (The Greatest) and Larry Holmes (The Easton Assassin). Wright actually fought Holmes, as well as Muhammad Ali’s sparring partner Levi Forte, who had gone the 10 round distance with George Foreman.
Wright opened his professional career 6-1, losing only a 10 round decision to former World Light Heavyweight champion Vicente Rondon. Wright’s career reached 9-1 when he stopped Jimmy Summerville in the sixth round to win the USA Florida State Heavyweight title in August 1973. Wright was 7-15-1 from that point on until his career ended in November 1981, going 0-5-1 in failed comeback attempts over the last six years of his career. His career fade included a who’s who of losses to significant fighters. These included losses toto future heavyweight champions Larry Holmes and Tim Witherspoon, losses to heavyweight contenders Roy Williams, Earnie Shavers, Oscar Bonavena, Duane Bobick, Bunny Johnson, Leroy Caldwell, Wendell Newton, Johnny Boudreaux, Marvin Stinson, Jimmy Clark, as well as a loss to cruiserweight contender Randy Stephens.
Wright finished his career 16-16-1 with eight knockouts, and was stopped seven times. Besides holding the Florida heavyweight title, Wright had three other career bright spots. Wright won a 10 round decision over former Muhammad Ali sparring partner Levi Forte. Wright also fought a six round draw with future New York state Heavyweight champion Eddie Gregg. Wright also won a 10 round decision over Raul Gorosito only month after Gorosito stopped him in the first round. The theme of Wright’s career was few fighters were given the chances and the opportunities to win the big fight like Wright was, but he failed to convert. However, Wright paved the wave for future Jamaican fighters, the most noteworthy being the late Jamaican heavyweight Trevor Berbick, who fought between 1976 and 2000, and who won the WBC World Heavyweight title in Las Vegas in March 1986.