Evander Holyfield heads the 2018 class of the Alabama Boxing Hall of Fame. Holyfield, born in Atmore, will be inducted in the Pro Boxer category for his incredible career, which included unifying the cruiserweight belts and winning multiple titles as a heavyweight while engaging in some of history’s biggest fights against the likes of Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe.
Joining Holyfield is Ozark’s Byron Mitchell. Mitchell is the inductee in the Amateur Boxer Category. He won a National Golden Gloves title and competed on an international level.
In the Old Timer category (last fight before 1950), the late Eugene Tillman of Mobile got the nod. Tillman was the patriarch of Alabama’s royal boxing family, competing in more than 100 professional bouts. His son Jack became a world-ranked welterweight and his son Jerry managed and promoted through the 80’s and 90’s.
The late Bill Irby of Sylacauga won in the Manager/Trainer/Promoter category. Irby, a former amateur and professional boxer, founded Sylacauga’s Boy’s club and started a boxing program. He put on many shows and had multiple state and regional champions.
Flynn Gerald of Chelsea won in the Support Personnel category. This category is the largest, including referees, judges, media, doctors, commissioners, matchmakers and officials. Gerald, known as the “Iron Ref” has refereed more bouts than all the other refs in Alabama history combined! Active since the 1960’s, Gerald still referees today, even as he approaches his 80th Birthday!
The induction ceremony will take place as part of a professional fight card, which will take place in early 2018. No date or venue has been set.