“The Camden Buzzsaw” Dwight Muhammad Qawi is a boxing legend born 1953. His family moved from Baltimore, Maryland to Camden, New Jersey when he was very young. At 19, he went to prison for armed robbery.
His time there would prove transformative as he pursued boxing at Rahway State. His mentor for a period was James Scott, an almost lifelong boxer and inmate who became a dangerous light heavyweight while serving time. After being released in 1978, Qawi made his professional debut that April with a draw in six rounds.
Light Heavyweight Division
Dwight Muhammad Qawi’s early career was punctuated with a 14-match winning streak as he found his place in the light heavyweight division. During this time, he showcased his signature style which including pinpoint accurate shots and timing.
Very little energy was wasted with each punch and he knew where to strike to get the openings he wanted. Qawi also had the uncanny ability to lure his opponents into a situation where he made the best of his strikes. This was done either by leaving himself open and feigning exhaustion or damage or by taunting and trolling them into getting sloppy.
Qawi stared down a title shot at 15-1-1 against champion Matthew Saad Muhammad. His last ranking match was actually against mentor and an iron horse of a competitor James Scott, winning via unanimous decision. In December 1981, Qawi would defeat Muhammad via TKO in ten rounds for the WBC and The Ring titles. After defeating the popular Muhammad, he would convert to Islam and change his name from Dwight Braxton.
He held onto the titles until March 1983 following a loss to Michael Spinks.
Through his early career, Qawi found competing as a light heavyweight as stressful since he had to keep his weight down. He bulked up and joined the new cruiserweight, making his debut in the division in 1984.
For over a year, he stampeded through the competition before defeating Piet Crous for the WBA cruiserweight title. In the divi, ion Qawi would face off against several future legends of the boxing ring. He managed to defeat Leon Spinks in the first and only successful defense of his first reign.
He would lose the belt to Evander Holyfield as well as a title shot against him. While on the road back to the belt, he also lost to George Foreman. Late 1988 and 1989 proved to be turn around years for Qawi as he would win the vacant WBC Continental Americas Cruiserweight title.
The decade closed out with Qawi losing the title to Robert Daniels. He manages to rebound in late 1991, regaining the once again vacated Continental Americas Cruiserweight belt.
Final Years and Retirement
The following year was a mixed bag for the aging Qawi and he took a break from the ring. He would return for two victories in 1997 and lose his final match in 1999 at the age of 46. Since then he worked as a boxing trainer and has been involved in drug and alcohol rehabilitation in New Jersey. In 2004, Dwight Muhammad Qawi would be induced into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His record was 41 wins, 11 loses with 25 wins being knockouts.