Sunday, 14 May 2017 03:18

James Toney vs Michael Sheppard results

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Tonight, in Ypsilanti, Mi, 48 year old fight legend James 'Lights Out' Toney  (77-10-3, 47 KOs) took his final step into the ring, facing journeyman Michael Sheppard (24-21-2, 10 KOs).

(Image courtesy of

And in the end, Toney knocked out his foe with a hard body shot, concluding his career. It was his 77th win and 47th via knockout.

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The fight served as Toney's first since his loss to Charles Ellis (then 9-3-1) in August 2015. The 10 round decision verdict defeat to the obscure Eliis was James' third in five fights, each delivered by opponents far below contender level at the time.

Toney, who weighed 249 lbs tonight, was once a masterful combination puncher who was hard to hit cleanly despite sitting in the pocket. During the last several years, however, we've seen a slower, less nimble version of James, and some fans have been pleading for his retirement since his loss to Denis Lebedev in 2011.

The fighter dubbed 'Light Out' has held world titles in the middleweight, super middleweight, and cruiserweight divisions. He was named Fighter of the Year in 1991 and 2003 and is known for his legendary 'old-school' style, consisting of his shoulder roll (used to avoid punches), his ability to fight off the ropes, his slick body movements, and his infighting.

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James Toney facts & stats
(courtesy BoxRec)

Amateur Career

  • Record: 35 fights, 33 wins (32 KO's), 2 losses
  • Lost his first amateur bou

Professional Career

  • Has a record of 10-1-2 1NC (5 KOs) in World Title fights.
  • Has a record of 11-7-2 2NC (6 KOs) against former world titlists.\
  • Biggest Wins: Michael Nunn, Reggie Johnson, Mike McCallum (twice), Doug DeWitt, Iran Barkley, Charles Williams, Steve Little, Adolpho Washington, Vassiliy Jirov, Evander Holyfield.
  • Most significant losses: Lost against Roy Jones Jr.. Montell Griffin (twice), Samuel Peter (twice), Denis Lebedev, Lucas Browne.
  • Draws: Mike McCallum, Hasim Rahman
  • No Contests: John Ruiz, Hasim Rahman
  • Knocked out Michael Nunn in eleven rounds to win the IBF Middleweight Championship on May 10, 1991. Toney, a 20 to 1 underdog, was behind on all three official scorecards.
  • Defeated Vassiliy Jirov by a unanimous decision to win the IBF Cruiserweight Championship on April 26, 2003. The bout was named Fight of the Year. by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
  • Defeated John Ruiz by a unanimous decision to win the WBA Heavyweight Championship on April 30, 2005. Toney became the third former World Middleweight Champion to capture a version of the World Heavyweight Championship, along with Roy Jones Jr. and Bob Fitzsimmons. However, on May 11, 2005, it was announced that Toney tested positive for the steroid Nandrolone, and his victory over Ruiz was changed to a no decision.

Awards & Recognition

  • Named The Ring Fighter of the Year for 1991 and 2003.
  • Named the Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year for 1991 and 2003.
  • Named The Ring Comeback of the Year fighter for 2003
Lee Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.