Today, on August 24, the one of the most outstanding artists of professional ring, the three weight divisions World Champion, James "Lights Out" Toney, becomes 50-year-old!

James Nathaniel Toney is born on August 24, 1968, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Before entering the ring, Toney started on the gridiron. Toney said he received scholarship offers from Western Michigan to play quarterback and from Michigan to play fullback. But Toney said, "I wasn't a team player and wasn't good at taking orders. So I went into boxing." Toney also lost a significant amount of weight to begin his boxing career.

Toney won the IBF and lineal middleweight titles by knocking out Michael Nunn in eleven rounds in May 1991. Toney, who entered as a 20-to-1 underdog, was down on all three judgees' scorecards, but landed a left hook that put Nunn on the canvas in the eleventh round, and eventually scored a stoppage victory. Defending his belt for the six times, James moved up to super-middleweight to win the vacant IBF belt for the second time in 1993, beating Iran Barklay. After the three succesful defences Toney lost the belt to nobody else, but Roy Jones Jr., by the unanimous decision.

After his first loss, Toney moves to light-heavyweight and for the next two years wins a few minor titles. In 1997, Toney moves up to cruiserweight and for the next six years are facing a quite a secondary opposition, which pushes James aside of the prime fighters and the main titles. But in 2003, the 35-years-old Toney was set up for the title fight against the lineal IBF champion, the 1996 Olympic Champion, Val Barker trophy winner, the unbeaten in 31 fights southpaw, Vassili Jirov, 29, of Kazakhstan. Toney knocked the undefeated Jirov down in the 12th. The Kazakh rose from the canvas to go to the distance, but Toney got the judges verdict and was now a three-weight World Champion.

Just six month later, Toney, now as a heavyweight, due the corner stoppage beats the legendary former undisputed Champion, Evander Holyfield, in round 9. On April 30, 2005, he defeated John Ruiz by a unanimous decision in a 12-round match for the WBA heavyweight Championship. However, Toney failed his post-fight drug test, testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozololl. This led to the New York Athletic Commission changing the bout's official outcome to a "no-contest", deducting the win from Toney's career record and banning him from boxing for 90 days. Toney next fought against Hasim Rahman on March 18, 2006, for the WBC Heavyweight title. The result was a twelve-round majority draw.

James continuing to fight until the May, 2017, when he almost 49-years-old won the WBF, the minor body, world title. Known for his slick, defensively oriented style of boxing, Toney possessed exceptionally fast hand speed as well as formidable punching power in his middleweight and super middleweight heyday. He was also noted for his toughness, having never lost any of his 92 professional bouts via stoppage.

In 1991 and 2003, Toney was voted Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America. In 2011, The Ring magazine ranked him as tenth on their list of the "10 best middleweight title holders of the last 50 years." Toney is well known for his "Old School" or "Throwback" style of fighting, consisting of his head and shoulder rolls (used to avoid punches), his ability to fight off the ropes, his slick body movements, and his infighting. This year the great Champion is celebrating his Anniversary!

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