James Toney
Nickname: Lights Out

James Toney

Born Aug 24, 1968
Age 48
Height 5'10"
Reach 72"
Head Trainers
Stance Orthodox
Style boxer / in-fighter
Division Heavyweight
Years Active
Record 74 6 3
NC 0
KOs 45
KO% 54%


Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States


James Toney is an American heavyweight and former middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight world champion. A multiple division champion and future Hall of Famer, James Toney is known for his legendary "old-school" style, consisting of his shoulder roll (used to avoid punches), his ability to fight off the ropes, his slick body movements, and his in-fighting.

Pro career
A draw with Sanderline Williams was the first blemish on Toney's record, although he beat Williams by unanimous decision three months later. And in early 1991, Toney beat Merqui Sosa in a minor upset in a fight between two top-10-rated contenders. This win propelled Toney to a title shot at the IBF Middlewight Championship.

Middleweight Champion
Toney's unbeaten run landed him his coveted title shot at the IBF Middleweight title against the best of the title holders at the time - Michael "Second To" Nunn, in May 1991. Nunn dominated the relatively inexperienced Toney over the first 10 rounds but in the 11th and with time running out for the young Toney, he dropped Nunn with a hard combination. Nunn barely rose to his feet and was subsequently stopped moments later. 

Toney continued a regular fight program over the next 18 months at middleweight before outgrowing the division, where he made several successful defenses. He outpointed Dave Tiberi in a controversial split decision, outpointed Glenn Wolfe and defeated a tough, fast Reggie Johnson. In 1991, Toney drew with top-tier middleweight Mike "The Body Snatcher" McCallum but went on to win the rematch via a spilt decisionthe following year.

Super Middleweight champion
On February 13, 1993, Toney defeated Iran Barkley the IBF Super Middleweight title. After a dominating performance by Toney, the bout was stopped after 9 rounds by Barkley's trainer.

Roy Jones Jr
After several successful defenses, Toney engaged in a superfight with Roy Jones, Jr, who vacated his Middleweight belt to challenge Toney for the latter's Super Middleweight tiitle, November 18, 1994. The fight, one of the biggest and most anticipated of the year, was won by Jones via a lopsided decision.

Light Heavyweight
After the Jones fight, Toney moved up to light heavyweight and lost to WBU belt-holder Montel Griffin. After then winning a series of fights at light heavyweight, cruiserweight, and even heavyweight, he again faced Montel Griffin in December 1996 and once again lost a close, controversial decision.

'Lights Out' beat old foe Mike McCallum in February 1997, but then lost to journeyman Drake Thadzi in his next fight.

In August 2002, Toney beat Jason Robinson in an IBF Cruiserweight title elimination fight. This set up a fight between Toney and then champion, Vassiliy Jirov. As the underdog, knocked down Jirov in the 12th en route to a unanimous decision win. With the victory, Toney became a belt-holder of a major world title once again and earned designation as a three-weight world champion. For Toney's performance, he was awarded comeback of the year and named fighter of the year. Immediately afterward, Toney moved up to heavyweight.

Toney's good skills, handspeed, slick defense and exceptional counter-punching had enabled him to defeat physically better (but technically less-skilled) opponents. His October 2003, victory over aging former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield was Toney's entry into the heavyweight division.

On April 30, 2005, Toney defeated John Ruiz by a unanimous decision in a 12-round match for the World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight Championship. However, as of May 18, 2005, it was reported that Toney failed his post-fight drug test, testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol.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.

Sam Peter
Toney's next significant bouts were losses to Samuel Peter. The first fight was held in Los Angeles, California on Sept 2, 2006. Toney a hard-fought, entertaining, controversial split decision. The return bout was held in Hollywood, Florida, on January 6, 2007, and Toney once again lost to Peter, this time by unanimous decision. Both fights were WBC eliminator bouts for the belt held by Oleg Maskaev. 


Sharp combinations
Durable; Great chin
Overall Skills/Technique


Has fought in 5 weight classes (Middleweight to Heavyweight)

Earned major world titles as a middleweight, super middlweight and cruiserweight.


  All Divisions (Pro)  

Light Heavyweight
Super Middleweight

  Major World Titles  

IBF Cruiserweight - 2003
IBO Cruiserweight - 1997
IBO Cruiserweight - 1997
IBF Super Middleweight - 1993
IBF Middleweight - 1991

  Significant Wins  

SD 12 Draw Hasim Rahman - 2006
UD 12 Dominick Guinn - 2005
UD 12 Rydell Booker - 2004
TKO 9 Evander Holyfield - 2003
UD 12 Vassiliy Jirov - 2003
UD 12 Steve Little - 1997
KO 12 Charles Williams - 1994
TKO 4 Tim Littles - 1994
UD 12 Tony Thornton - 1993
RTD 9 Iran Barkley - 1993
MD 12 Mike McCallum - 1992
SD 12 Reggie Johnson - 1991
TKO 11 Michael Nunn - 1991
SD 12 Merqui Sosa - 1991

  Significant Loses  

UD 12 Denis Lebedev - 2011
UD 12 Samuel Peter - 2007
SD 12 Samuel Peter - 2006
UD 12 Montell Griffin - 1996
MD 12 Montell Griffin - 1995
UD 12 Roy Jones Jr - 1994

  Amateur Info  

33-2 (32 KO's)

  Article Sources  


  Fighter Video  

James Toney Highlights

  Latest Videos  

Related Stories   From the web    

comments powered by Disqus