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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Tamas Kovacs
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FEATURE   Photo: Former World Boxing Federation (WBF) International and World Champion Tamas Kovacs from Slovakia. 

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.


Tamas “Tomi Kid” Kovacs, from Galanta in Slovakia where he was born in June of 1977, is the son of Pavol Kovacs, a former national amateur champion of what was then known as Czechoslovakia.

After a successful amateur career with more than 200 bouts, representing his country all over the world, Kovacs turned professional at the late age of 30 in 2008, winning in relative obscurity at the Krudy Gyula Gymnasium in Gyor, Hungary.

Signed to a Hungarian manager, Kovacs would fight in both Slovakia and Hungary, but it was in his home-town he won his first ten-rounder, in May of 2009, defeating decent Hungarian Zoltan Kiss Jr, (13-6-3), bringing his record to 9-0 (5) just over a year after entering the paid curcuit.

In his next four bouts, Kovacs would defeat undefeated opponents in all. Granted, two of them were debutants, but stopping Norbert Nagy (3-0) in three rounds, and Zoltan Czekus (7-0-1) in six, were good results.

On October 24, 2009 at the Anhalt Arena in Dessau, Germany, Kovacs won the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) International Light Heavyweight title, with a third round elimination of Gyula Gaspar (7-4-1), who brought a mediocre record but had won his last six outings.

Promoted by 2009 WBF Promoter of the Year Ulf Steinforth, the fight was part of a WBF Championship triple-header, with Frans Botha vs. Pedro Carrion (World Heavyweight) and Kreshnik Quato vs. Fabio Liggieri (World Middleweight) the two co-main events.

Now 14-0 (10), Kovacs was stepped up further in his next fight, as he was matched with skilled and hard-punching Kenyan Samson “The Hammer” Onyango (19-4), who had competed at a far higher level than Kovacs.

On the line was the vacant WBF World Light Heavyweight title, with a loud and enthusiastic crowd backing the home-man at the Galanta Sports Hall.

Onyango gave Kovacs plenty to think about throughout, but Kovacs was the busier man in most rounds, and deservedly won a unanimous decision with scores of 116-114, 117-112 and 117-112 to become the new WBF World Champion.

Unfortunately Kovacs would never defend the WBF World title. Due to various complications he was eventually stripped of the title, but continued to defeat decent opponents such as Hamza Wandera (12-1-2) for the WBO European title. Yes, an African opponent for a European title… (!)

In 2013 he landed a shot at the WBA and IBA World Light Heavyweight titles, on a show promoted by Golden Boy Promotions at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, USA, headlined by Marcos Maidana vs. Adrien Broner.

In the opposite corner stood Beibut Shumenov (13-1), from Kazakhstan but based in Las Vegas, and it quickly became clear that it was not going to be Kovacs day. He suffered a knockdown in the first round, and never really recovered before getting floored again in the second and stopped in the third.

Experiencing his first defeat prompted Kovacs to move up to Cruiserweight in search of glory at a higher weight. In his first fight back, he stopped 1992 Olympic Bronze medalist-turned-journeyman Zoltan Beres (44-49-3), lining up a fight for the vacant WBF International Cruiserweight title in October of 2014.

Hamza Wandera (now 18-7-3), whom Kovacs had narrowly beaten by split decision three-and-a-half years earlier, was brought in for a deserved rematch. This time he had less trouble with the Ugandan, winning by wide unanimous decision to claim his third WBF belt.

Instead of building towards a crack at a Cruiserweight world title, Kovacs decided to make his way back towards Light Heavyweight. He won two low-profile bouts in 2015, but then suffered a shock defeat to Georgian Giorgi Beroshvili (6-12-2), and decided to retire soon after.

His final record 27-2 (16), Tamas Kovacs now uses his fame as one of the most successful professional boxers of all time from Slovakia to help other people, especially youth, through various projects that involves boxing.  

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  Part 77: John Scully
  Part 76: Joseph Agbeko
  Part 75: Jenifer Salinas
  Part 74: Sven Hamer
  Part 73: Rob Calloway
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  Part 51: Bert Cooper
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