The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal
by Adeyinka Makinde

Dick Tiger was perhaps the greatest fighter to come out of the African continent. Emerging from an environment devoid of substantive traditions in boxing, he would overcome a litany of obstacles before becoming a two-time undisputed world middleweight titlist and an undisputed light heavyweight champion. ‘The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal,’ the first comprehensive biography of Dick Tiger, puts the man in the context of his times. A migrant fighter to Liverpool, the repository of West African born fighters who kept the British game alive during the industry wide recession of the 1950s, Tiger later moved to America where he established a marquee value seldom attained by non-American fighters and where he played a prominent role as an ‘in-house’ fighter at the ‘Mecca of Boxing,’ New York City’s Madison Square Garden. His life also personified the hopes, aspirations and the tragedy of the Igbo ethnic group. An avowed apostle of Biafran secession from Nigeria, Tiger’s support would cost him dearly. Here is Dick Tiger as never before explained: The ‘blue collar’ fighter, ageless ringman, commercial venturer, Nigerian patriot and Biafran rebel. From empty bottle trader to wealthy realtor, from Nigerian boxing booths to Madison Square Garden, from journeyman fighter to world championship fighter; ‘The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal’ is a compelling study of human dignity in triumph and in tragedy.

“Fight fans and journalists loved him, first, because he was indeed a Tiger: stately, noble and ferocious. Secondly, he was bright and articulate –the very example of the Greek ideal of sound body and sound mind” - Sam Toperoff, writer and television producer

“Compared with today’s show offs, small talents and loudmouths, he was the picture of competence and decorum. A man who with all the grace in the world did his job beautifully, but made no loud noise about it. In other words, the consummate professional.” - Novelist Jonathan Carroll

“They don’t make men like Richard Ihetu anymore” - Referee Ron Lipton, Tiger’s friend and sparring partner

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