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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Rob Calloway
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FEATURE   Photo: Former World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion Rob Calloway. 

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.


While it would be a few years still before he took on the ring-name, Rob Calloway decided in 1992 to become the “All-American Prizefighter”, after forty amateur bouts and winning the Kansas City Golden Gloves three times, turning professional as a Light Heavyweight at the age of twenty-three.

Charles Robert Michael Calloway was born in the summer of ´69 (so must be younger than Bryan Adams), and took up boxing relatively late as a seventeen year old, when he was inspired by watching Mike Tyson beating Trevor Berbick on TV in November 1986.

Six years later he got paid to beat Kenny Brown (12-12), a former welterweight from Fort Wayne, Indiana, by unanimous decision, on a small show consisting of five four-rounders at the Mid America All Indian Center in Wichita, Kansas.

It is not out of line to say that Calloway was moved up the ranks quite carefully. Some would say too carefully, as the debut-victory over Brown was arguably his best victory until he stopped an over-the-hill Frank Minton (28-28) three-and-a-half years later.

Calloway beat some decent opponents between 1996 and 1998, mainly headlining cards in his home-town Saint Joseph, including Ray Domenge (21-7), Tyler Huges (14-3-1), Lonnie Knowles (16-4) and Dominic Carter (26-6).

But his first real step-up in competition didn't come until April 3, 1999, when he had developed into a Cruiserweight, taking on Darrell Spinks (14-1), the son of former world heavyweight champion Leon Spinks, for the IBA Continental Americas title at Saint Joseph´s Civic Arena.

Calloway, 30-2 (23) at the time, handled tricky Saint Louis southpaw Spinks well, and won by unanimous decision, setting up a crack at IBA World Champion, and former WBF World Champion, Kenny Keene (46-3) later that year.

Obviously Keene, making his third title-defense, was on another level, and much more accomplished, than anyone Calloway had faced previously at that point, but the challenger did very well as he pushed the champion all the way before losing a close decision (113-115, 113-115, 112-116).

A few months later, Calloway won the IBA World title at Junior Heavyweight (also called Super Cruiserweight), a fledgling weight division between Cruiserweight and Heavyweight that have occasionally been used in recent years, stopping Troy Weida (36-5-2) in the opener.

Going full-fledged Heavyweight, he reeled off five more consecutive stoppages, including one over former contender James “Quick” Tillis (44-22-1), before traveling to Denmark in September 2001 for another Junior Heavyweight / Super Cruiserweight title fight (IBC), losing a close call to Tue Bjorn Thomsen (21-1).

Deciding to settle in at Heavyweight, Calloway returned with a third round victory over Marcus Rhode (26-20-1) in April of 2002, tuning up for a shot at the WBF Intercontinental Heavyweight title held by Otis Tisdale (20-6-1) two months later.

Tisdale had won nine straight, five inside the distance, so it was expected to be a tough assignment , even with the support of his Saint Joseph-fans at the Civic Arena. But in the eleventh round, Calloway send Tisdale down hard with a perfect right hand, prompting referee Laurence Cole to immediately wave it off.

Just over a year later Calloway defended the WBF title on points over 216 Cm. (7′ 1″) Julius Long (10-2), “The Towering Inferno”, back at the Civic Arena, and two months after that he retained it for a second time, in the same venue, stopping Jason Nicholson (17-18-1) in round three.

Over the cause of his next twenty-four bouts, only losing to Hasim Rahman (37-5-1), Ruslan Chagaev (18-0-1) and Jameel McCline (35-6-3) as he went 21-3 between 2003 and 2007, Calloway gradually, and quite unusually, made strides towards moving back down to Cruiserweight.

On October 6, 2007 he won the WBC Continental Americas, NABA and IBF International Cruiserweight titles, dismantling another Saint Joseph native, Galen “Bad Boy” Brown (29-4-1), in four one-sided rounds of what was naturally a big local attraction in the city.

Now world ranked at Cruiserweight. Calloway scored a few more respectable victories after Brown, but this was arguably his last significant win. He retained the WBC title with a draw against Max Alexander (14-2-1) in July of 2008, but two months later he was stopped in three by Alexander Alekseev (15-0) in Germany.

After Alekseev he continued to fight almost exclusively world-ranked opponents at both Cruiserweight and Heavyweight on away soil, doing his best but losing five more times to Grigory Drozd (30-1), Pawel Kolodziej (23-0), Shannon Briggs (50-5-1), Chauncy Welliver (49-5-5) and Mark De Mori (17-1-2).

Calloway retired after losing to De Mori in Australia in March of 2012, at the age of forty-two and after almost twenty years as a prizefighter. His final record stands at a very respectable 71-14-2 (57), with 4 No-Decisions.

(Note: Calloway´s record is occasionally listed as 76-14-2 (6), as some count his four No-Decision bouts as victories. He was declared winner in the ring, but for various reasons it had been decided before those bouts that they would enter the record-books as No-Decision bouts.

Also, some sources, including the 1994 American Boxing Record Book, have his October 23, 1993 bout with Ken McCurdy as a victory for Calloway, while BoxRec has it as a split decision loss with the Kansas City Star newspaper as source.)

Five years before hanging up his gloves, Calloway received a great honor when he was awarded the Key to Saint Joseph and a day in his honor by Mayor Ken Shearin in 2007, for his volunteer work in the community, and his accomplishments in the ring.

Married to Robin since 1991, they have two kids: Daughter Riley and son Chase. Chase followed in his fathers footsteps and has done well in the amateur ranks, with around 150 bouts and even representing the USA as a Light Heavyweight.

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  Part 71: Irma Sanchez
  Part 70: Moses James
  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
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  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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