Known as “Bomber,” Herol Graham is retired British boxer who has many championships to his name. The one title that eluded this three-weight class pugilist is the World Championship.
Following a strong amateur boxing career where he won championships in the welterweight and middleweight ranks, Graham made his pro debut in 1978. For the bulk of his active career, he was shown to be a fighter who could end the match quickly or go the distance on points. His first pro title victory came 17 bouts into a 38 bout winning streak when he took the British Light Middleweight title from Pat Thomas. Six months later in November 1981, he would win the Commonwealth Light Middleweight belt from Kenny Bristol.
Herol Graham would take his last light middleweight title in May 1983 when he defeated Clement Tshinza for the vacant European title. He held on to the three belts until moving up in class in 1984. Not long after he did, the British Middleweight title was in his grasp following a first-round KO on Jimmy Price in April 1985. The following year saw him win the European Middleweight belt.
Bomber would eventually lose the European title to Sumbu Kalambay in May 1987. This would mark the end of his winning streak in his 39th contest.
World Title Pursuit
His wins throughout Europe eventually brought him to the attention of the world governing bodies. By the time he finally got his shot at the WBA World title, the competition had become stiff and his opponent in 1989 was the “Bodysnatcher” Mike McCallum. The title was vacant and it was expected that McCallum would walk out of the match as the champion with little resistance.
Expectations were turned on their head when Graham took McCallum to the limit in 12 rounds of action. Unfortunately, his performance wasn’t enough to clinch the victory. A similar outcome occurred in late 1990 when “The Hawk” Julian Jackson met “Bomber.” In this instance, Graham was down on the canvas in the fourth round.
Towards the end of his career, Herol Graham would scoop up the international WBC Super Lightweight. Still a globally recognized title was what he sought. In his final match, in March 1998, Bomber was given a shot at IBF Super Lightweight title. He would fall short after 10 rounds of action.
After hanging up the gloves and trunks, Herol Graham fought his toughest opponent in depression. Business failures after boxing began to mount and drove him to attempt to take his own life. With the help of a loved one, he managed rebound and went on to train other boxers.
Among boxing historians, he is considered one of the best boxers to have never been crowned World Champion.