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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: John Scully
POSTED ON MAY 6, 2020.
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FEATURE   Photo: Former World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental Super Middleweight Champion "Iceman" John Scully. 

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.


Born on July 28, 1967 in Hartford, Connecticut, former World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental Super Middleweight Champion “Iceman” John Scully started boxing in 1982, and was an accomplished amateur before turning professional in 1988.

As a Middleweight, Scully won seven Golden Gloves tournaments between 1985 and 1988, and captured bronze at the 1988 US Olympic trials before deciding it was time to enter the paid ranks in September of that same year after compiling a 57-13 amateur ledger.

Scully had an incredibly busy start to his pro campaign, winning his first thirteen bouts in exactly nine months. During this period he spend time in training camp with Sugar Ray Leonard, who still had legendary fights with Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran in his future.

Twelve of Scully´s first thirteen victories came inside the distance, but none of his opponents were anywhere near his level. So when he stepped up in class on July 11, 1989 at the Showboat Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, he lost his first ten-round main event fight by unanimous decision to Brett Lally (22-4).

What was supposed to be something of a “coming out party”, against a decent but not exactly formidable opponent, ended up being a disappointing set-back.

Two victories over the same man, Victor King (2-10), in August and September eased Scully back on the right track, and on September 29, 1989, at the Civic Center in his home-town of Hartford, he beat Tony Daley (5-1) over ten rounds to win the New England Middleweight title.

He then announced himself as a bona-fide contender in his next two outings, defeating former amateur stand-out Alphonso Bailey (13-3) and undefeated hope Billy Bridges (16-0), both on points, in televised bouts before the year was out. Now 18-1 (13), it appeared to be time for the next step in his career.

Unfortunately Scully´s new momentum ended in his first fight of 1990, when Kevin Watts (19-5-1), coming off a victory over Dwight Davison (42-5) to win the NABF Middleweight crown, out-scored him in Atlantic City on March 18.

The loss to Watts was followed by a seven-month lay-off, unusual for Scully who had had his twenty fights in only eighteen months. He returned on October 23 with a win over eight rounds against journeyman Jose Vera (7-17), but was then inactive again for eleven months, and it appeared that his career had stalled.

But 1991 finished on a high note, as Scully scored unanimous decisions over capable opponents in Randy Smith (22-20-1) and Willie Kemp (13-6) in main event fights, before starting 1992 with another stay-busy decision over former foe Jose Vera the following February.

After four straight victories, it was announced that Scully would fight Floridian Darryll Fromm (17-9) for the vacant WBF Intercontinental Super Middleweight title on May 22, but when Fromm pulled out on short notice Scully ended up squaring off with Melvin Wynn (12-8).

Scully versus Wynn made for a good and entertaining fight, but Hartford got a new champion as betting favorite Scully pulled away in the second half and finished strongly to become WBF Intercontinental Champion with a unanimous decision.

After another four more wins, Scully was pitted against undefeated fellow contender Tim Littles (19-0) on the Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield heavyweight super-fight promotion on November 13, 1992 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Had he won this fight, it is not a far stretch to say that Scully would have been on a short list of boxers most deserving of a crack at a world super middleweight championship. But the very talented Littles had too much for him that night, and won a clear decision and the USBA title.

Four months on Scully found himself in another big fight, headlining at the legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia against absolute world class Tony Thornton (32-5-1). Thornton won a clear decision, and Scully decided it was time to move up to Light Heavyweight.

Scully won eight straight in his new weight class, including a second round stoppage of faded former IBO World Super Middleweight Champion Willie Ball (16-11), putting himself in position for another huge opportunity.

But ironically, the huge opportunity came back at Super Middleweight, a division he had not boxed in for almost three years, when he took on former IBF and WBA World Champion Michael Nunn (47-3) for the WBO NABO title.

On December 8, 1995, Scully again came up short at the highest level, as Nunn somewhat controversially won a unanimous decision on a show promoted by Top Rank at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket. The scores were wide (118-110, 119-109, 120-108), but they really didn't tell an accurate story of the fight.

In fact, Scully out-punched Nunn and had a higher overall percentage of punches connected. Many, including the ESPN television commentators, saw it as being very close, and it could be argued that Scully deserved the victory. He certainly put on one of his best performances, if not the best!

After getting back in the win-column the following March, Scully was rewarded for his impressive performance against Nunn, when he was picked to challenge German icon Henry Maske (29-0) for the IBF World Light Heavyweight title in May of 1996. Again he lost a spirited effort on points.

Scully was as tough as they come, but in reality he wasn't quite on par with the elite of his generation. There was no shame in that, and he was among the best of a very good second tier.

His professionalism, skills, grit and endurance made him highly respected, and earned him assignments as an important sparring-partner for the likes of Maske and Irish hero Steve Collins, and super-stars Mike McCallum, Roy Jones Jr., James Toney and Vinny Pazienza.

In 1997 Scully was out-pointed by former IBF and future WBC world champion Graciano Rocchigiani (38-4-1), and perennial contender Ernest “M-16” Mateen (23-7-1), before ending the year with a sixth round stoppage of Scott Lopeck (13-7-1).

In August of 1998 he challenged Drake Thadzi (29-8-1) for the IBO World Light Heavyweight title. Thadzi had surprisingly defeated the great James Toney to become champion, and continued his streak by stopping a weight-drained Scully in seven. This was the first and only time Scully lost inside the distance.

Scully had clearly seen better days in the ring, and he went on to lose to Sam Ahmad (11-0-2) and a rematch against Mateen, before going out on a winning note when he edged Cleveland Nelson (13-1) by split decision in Canada in June of 2001.

His final record stands at 38-11 (21), and being a former WBF Intercontinental Champion who twice challenged for world honors, having fought numerous times on television and on some major shows against excellent opponents, he has plenty to be proud about.

In retirement, Scully has very much stayed involved with boxing, working as a respected trainer and TV analyst. He is also known as an advocate for retired boxers, and makes various efforts to collect money for former fighters in need.

Author of his autobiography titled “Iceman Diaries, he was inducted into the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010.

  Part 76: Joseph Agbeko
  Part 75: Jenifer Salinas
  Part 74: Sven Hamer
  Part 73: Rob Calloway
  Part 72: Nedal Hussein
  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
  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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