Coming from a stellar amateur career, Michael “The Force” Watson would move into the professional ranks of boxing. His career would run between 1984 and 1991 with him being a regular, legit threat to World Titles.
Born March 15, 1965, Michael Watson began boxing at 14 years old and trained out of the Crown and Manor Club in London. Racking up a strong record of 20 wins and 2 loses, he would season his skills at Colvestone. This proved to be a great move for his amateur career as he won the 1983/1984 National competition in the under 75kg division.
Following the National competition went on to the London Amateur Boxing Association championships in 1984. There he won in a bout between national champions in convincing fashion. The win put him on the stage as an Olympic hopeful, but Watson’s opportunity was taken by another boxer instead.
Early Professional Ranks
Following this, Michael Watson would enter the professional ranks at 19 years old. He won six of his first seven bouts by knockout in the middleweight division. He would suffer his first loss to James Cook in May 1986 but quickly rebounded with a string of 11 wins.
Facing more seasoned, veteran competition his wins showed both his punch power and his technique to pick up definite victories and point victories.
Vs. The Dark Destroyer: The British Commonwealth Middleweight Title
As he rolled through 1988 and into 1989, he looked like a true competitor to the Commonwealth Middleweight belt held by “The Dark Destroyer” Nigel Benn, a fearsome pugilist with devastating knockout power.
Michael Watson would hand Benn his first career win ending the streak at 22-1 via TKO in the sixth round. Up until that time Benn bulldozed through competition with a streak of KO victories. On that night in May 1989, Watson revealed a flaw in Benn’s style: long game stamina.
There were three prior bouts when Benn had to hunker in to defeat his opponent: a KO victory in May 1987, another that September, and a third that December. These bouts went to the 4th of 8, 3rd of 6, and 7th of 10 respectively. Beyond that, the other 19 bouts went no further than the opening minutes of the second round.
While he lost, the Dark Destroyer would enter the world title stage and become the WBO champion a year later. Meanwhile, as Commonwealth champion, Watson’s championship career would be marked by two particularly tough world champions.
-Knockout Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N99rvmDHD2U
-vs. Nigel Benn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLZshsoSB84