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Heavyweights Lead the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2015

January 11, 2015 - 6:00pm

The Florida Boxing Hall of Fame announced this years inductees over the weekend with some of the biggest men in the sport -- the heavyweights -- taking center stage.

Former IBF heavyweight champion Tony TNT" Tucker, the Vero Beach fighter who lost to Mike Tyson in the final bout of the heavyweight title unification tournament back in 1987, is part of the class of 2015. While he came up short against Tyson and other heavyweight champions like Lennox Lewis, Herbie Hide and Bruce Seldon, Tucker put together an impressive career including wins over some of the best heavyweights of his generation like Buster Douglas and Orlin Norris. Tucker finished with a record of 57 wins -- 47 by knockout -- seven losses and one no-contest.

Phil Jackson, from Miami Beach, was, like Tucker, also an active heavyweight in the 1980s and 1990s. Jackson won 44 fights -- 38 by knockout -- with 13 losses. While he came up short against Lewis for the heavyweight title, Jackson did score some quality wins over the likes of Alex Stewart, Jeff Simms and Olian Alexander.

Originally from Jamaica, though he fought out of Florida, Uriah Grant never made the impact in the heavyweight division that Tucker and Jackson did, but he was a force at cruiserweight, winning the IBF title in a fight in Tampa back in 1997 against Adolfo Washington. Grant also scored an upset win over the legendary Thomas the Hitman Hearns in 2000. Retiring in 2004, Grant won 30 fights -- 28 by knockout -- but lost 21.

Other fighters in the 2015 class include Tony Licata, a middleweight contender who fought out of Tampa in the 1970s; two-time welterweight champion Benny "the Kid" Paret whose death in a title fight against Emile Griffith in a 1962 fight caused national controversy about the sport; and Nick and Pete Spanakos, two amateur stars from the 1950s who both went into education.

Other inductees include Mac Goodman, Chuck Talhami and Harold Wilen in the trainer/manager category, promoters Julio Martinez and W.H. Peeples; and Telemundos Jorge Hidalgo and HBOs Harold Lederman from the media. Other inducteers include Ed Gersh, Leon Margules, Jimmy Resnick, Mike Ross, Frank Santore, Francisco Paco Valcarcel with special awards going to Shea Bailey and Arcadio Castro.

The inductions will take place at the Tampa Holiday Inn Westshore over the June 19-21 weekend.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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