George Foreman is a former boxer, Preacher and businessman.
George Edward Foreman was born in Marshall, Texas, on January 10, 1949. Once a rebellious teen, “Big George” found boxing as an outlet while in the Job Corps. Foreman’s successful amateur career included the 1968 National AAU heavyweight championship and the Gold Medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico.
He turned pro in 1969 and wasted little time defeating top opposition including Gregorio Peralta and George Chuvalo. The hard-punching Foreman met heavyweight king Joe Frazier on January 22, 1973 and dispatched the champion in just two rounds. He defended his title successfully twice against Jose “King” Roman (KO 1) and Ken Norton (TKO 2) before losing the title to former champion Muhammad Ali in “The Rumble in the Jungle” on October 30, 1974. Following a series of exhibition bouts, Foreman bested Ron Lyle over five action-packed rounds in January 1976. That year he also defeated Frazier and Scott LeDoux before dropping a 12-round decision to Jimmy Young in 1977, after which Foreman had a religious experience and retired from the ring to become an ordained minister.
But a decade later, Foreman embarked on one of the most improbable, yet successful, comebacks in sports history. Re-entering the ring, he racked up wins over Dwight Qawi, Bert Cooper and Gerry Cooney to earn a shot at Evander Holyfield’s heavyweight title on April 19, 1991. Although he lost the decision, Foreman’s outgoing personality and affable manner endeared him to sports fans. After wins over Alex Stewart and Pierre Coetzer, Foreman lost a decision to Tommy Morrison for the WBO title.
However, on November 5, 1994, the 45-year old Foreman defeated Michael Moorer to regain the heavyweight championship and became the oldest man to ever hold the crown. Foreman retired from the ring with a 76-5 (68 KOs) record following a controversial loss to Shannon Briggs in 1997.
After not fighting in 1975, Foreman returned to boxing and won five consecutive fights, all by knockout. Then in Puerto Rico on March 17, 1977, Foreman lost in a decision to Jimmy Young. It was in his dressing room after the fight that Foreman had a religious experience that changed his life forever. Foreman gave up boxing and became a born-again Christian.
He was ordained a minister in 1978 and began preaching in his hometown of Houston, Texas. In 1984, he founded the George Foreman Youth and Community Centre, a non-denominational place for kids who need direction like he once did.
In 1980, Foreman founded The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
However, by the mid-1980s, Foreman was running out of money and people around him were advising him to close the Youth and Community Centre. Foreman saw how much the Centre was helping people so he was determined to do what was necessary to keep it open. So, in 1987, after not fighting for almost 10 years to the day, Foreman returned to the ring.
While there was no shortage of detractors, Foreman proved them all wrong when he kept piling up win after win. In fact, Foreman had won 24 consecutive fights during his comeback including 22 by knockout. Now at age 42, Foreman’s success and popularity earned him a chance at the title against unbeaten Evander Holyfield. The fight went the full 12 rounds and while Holyfield won in a decision, Foreman gained a great deal of credibility.
After more than a year out of the ring, On Nov. 5, 1994, Foreman took on the new champ, Michael Moorer, and knocked him out in the 10th round. With the victory, at the age of 45, Foreman became the oldest fighter ever to win the heavyweight crown as well as the boxer with the most time between one world championship and the next. Foreman gave away his titles in 1995, after defending them against Axel Schultz and refusing a rematch. Foreman ultimately retired in 1997 after compiling an amazing 76-5 career record.
Salesman & business
Salesman & business
Since the early 1990s, Foreman had discovered his talent for salesmanship, and by the end of the decade, he was making millions off of his appearances in infomercials marketing the George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine. To date, more than 100 million of the units have sold worldwide.
Foreman also spent over a decade promoting Meineke Car Care Centers and grew the business to over 1000 franchises. He has now successfully launched a line of environmentally safe cleaning products, exclusive line of personal care products, a prescription shoe for diabetics to prevent amputations, a restaurant franchise called UFood Grille, 10 books, and the list continues to build.
Foreman tends to his ministry at The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ where he preaches four times a week. He also loves spending free time with his family on his ranch in Marshall, Texas
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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