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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Moses James
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FEATURE   Photo: Former World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental Light Welterweight Champion Moses James. 

Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the Champions Of The Past Series we take a closer look at some of the boxers who held WBF titles in years gone by, from lesser known champions to world renowned fighters, legends of the sport and current or future Hall of Famers.


Moses Opute James was born in Nigeria during the summer of 1968. As a child he excelled at football (soccer), but at some point he fell in love with boxing, and eventually chose to focus on “The Noble Art”.

James quickly proved very talented as a boxer too, and after only a few bouts he was selected for the Nigerian national team.

In the unpaid code he achieved more than most, as he won the African championships, bronze at the 1991 world championships, where he was eliminated by future Hall-of-Famer Kostya Tszyu, and went to the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

With an outstanding amateur record reportedly 102-3, James decided it was time to make some money from his boxing, and in 1993 he moved to Canada to turn professional.

While three of his first pro bouts took place in the USA, James was based in Toronto where he, already in his second outing, continued to show his potential when he out-pointed undefeated American Anthony Johnson (3-0) on June 29, 1993, only seventeen days after stopping Mark Harden (0-0) in his debut.

At twenty-five years of age, Moses was a bit older than most blue-chip prospects starting out in the professionals, so he was moved quicker than is usually the norm. So it came with the territory that he had to settle for a draw against Marlon “Trouble Man” Thomas (8-2) in his fourth fight.

Not ideally, a year of inactivity followed, but when he returned, in October of 1994, he was matched with Keith Thomas (8-4-1) from Guyana over eight rounds at the Curzon Health Club in Etobicoke, Ontario. A tough test, but James passed and won a unanimous decision.

In 1995 James made up for the lost year, scoring three significant victories. First off, back at the Curzon Health Club, he inflicted the first defeat on the record of another tough Guyanese in Dillon Carew (7-0-1), who had stopped six of his seven victims, and gone twelve rounds to win his country´s national title.

James beat Carew on points, and set up a clash with American Mike “The Hammer” Griffith (11-3) three months later in what would be his first outing in his adopted home-town, Toronto. Again James won on points, but Grifith went on to challenge for the IBF World title against Paul Spadafora five years later.

Beating Carew and Griffith paved the way for a big fight for James in Canada, as he was pitted against future WBF Intercontinental Welterweight Champion Fitz Vanderpool (11-1-1) for the vacant Canadian Light Welterweight title on June 8.

Co-Headlining a card at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto, sharing top-billing with Billy Irwin vs. Amado Cabato for the IBO World Lightweight crown, James and Vanderpool fought tooth and nails for ten rounds, none of them willing to take a backwards step.

James knocked Vanderpool down in the eight round, and, when the dust settled, was awarded the victory by close split decision. Besides capturing his first championship, James gained invaluable experience and credibility.

The tough outing against Vanderpool demanded a long rest for James, who went nine months without a fight before stopping durable journeyman Ron Pasek (4-3-2) on cuts in the seventh round in March, 1996. Next up, he would find himself in the biggest fight of his career to date.

On April 16, 1996 James was the main event at Royal York Hotel in Toronto, fighting for the vacant WBF Intercontinental Light Welterweight title against hugely experienced Filipino Amado Cabato (44-25-8), the man who had given Billy Irwin a run for his money for the IBO world title the previous year.

It was a big ask for James, in only his tenth professional fight, but he rose to the occasion and won a wide unanimous decision over twelve rounds by scores of 118-110, 118-108 and 118-106.

James followed the big win up, and kept climbing the world rankings, taking nice scalps such as Alejandro Jesus Benitez (9-1), former IBF world title-challenger Mark Fernandez (31-12-1), Paris Alexander (21-11-2) and Mexican contender Ramon Marchena (54-14-2).

This run landed him a main event assignment in the USA, as he was matched with former IBF and WBO World Champion John John Molina (43-4) on November 11, 1997 at the Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

It was a massive opportunity for James, to make a break-through not only in Canada but also on the larger scene in the USA, against a big name. Unfortunately Molina had too much for him on the night, and won by unanimous decision.

James had however done well enough that he would fight exclusively in the USA for the remainder of his career, and rebounded eight months later, winning the UBF title by stopping Eduardo Perez (19-10-2) in eight rounds.

He became a house-name at the Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella, California, and had another good run with victories over decent opponents Tialano Tovar (18-14-2), Daniel Lujan (13-6-2), Simon Gonzalez (25-6-2) and Javier Carmona (21-4).

On February 22, 2000 he lost a split decision to future WBF World Welterweight Champion Cosme Rivera (19-5-1), and it would turn out to be his last fight. A former Canadian, UBF and WBF Intercontinental Champion, His final ledger stands at 18-2-1 (8).

After the Rivera loss, and before starting his own Fitness and boxing gym, James kept himself busy by working as a sparring partner for super-stars Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, another testament to the high quality of boxer he was.

A registered coach and official with USA Boxing, the official amateur boxing body in the USA, James remains enthusiastic about the sport and takes pride in preparing young boxers for the Olympics and potential professional careers.

  Part 69: Cornelius Carr
  Part 68: Zolani Marali
  Part 67: Nicky Bentz
  Part 66: James Hare
  Part 65: Anne Sophie Mathis
  Part 64: Earl Butler
  Part 63: Dave Russell
  Part 62: Tony Dodson
  Part 61: Pete Taliaferro
  Part 60: Fredrik Alvarez
  Part 59: Ajose Olusegun
  Part 58: Chevelle Hallback
  Part 57: Evander Holyfield
  Part 56: Peter Culshaw
  Part 55: Rolando Toyogon
  Part 54: Joaquin Velasquez
  Part 53: Steve Molitor
  Part 52: Nadya Hokmi
  Part 51: Bert Cooper
  Part 50: Alfred Kotey
  Part 49: Yosuke Nishijima
  Part 48: Wayne Rigby
  Part 47: Jesus Chong
  Part 46: Renata Szebeledi
  Part 45: Lester Ellis
  Part 44: Patrick Vungbo
  Part 43: Patrick Washington
  Part 42: Ric Siodora
  Part 41: Guy Waters
  Part 40: Natascha Ragosina
  Part 39: Nicky Cook
  Part 38: Fahprakorb Rakkiatgym
  Part 37: Felix Camacho
  Part 36: Homer Gibbins
  Part 35: Joe Bugner
  Part 34: Myriam Lamare
  Part 33: Darrin Morris
  Part 32: Suwito Lagola
  Part 31: Aaron Zarate
  Part 30: Tommy Small
  Part 29: Matthew Charleston
  Part 28: Jane Couch
  Part 27: Fahlan Sakkreerin
  Part 26: Kenny Keene
  Part 25: Yvan Mendy
  Part 24: Ronnie Magramo
  Part 23: Randall Yonker
  Part 22: Holly Holm
  Part 21: Vinnie Curto
  Part 20: Robin Reid
  Part 19: Lionel Butler
  Part 18: Mads Larsen
  Part 17: Ken Sigurani
  Part 16: Orlando Fernandez
  Part 15: Roger Turner
  Part 14: Roy Jones Jr.
  Part 13: Fitz Vanderpool
  Part 12: Steve Roberts
  Part 11: Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga
  Part 10: Junior Witter
  Part 9: Jimmy Thunder
  Part 8: Juan Lazcano
  Part 7: Jeff Malcolm
  Part 6: Ricky Parkey
  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
  Part 3: Samson Dutch Boy Gym
  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson

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