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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Roger Turner

Posted on March 4 2015                                              Bookmark and Share
By: Clive Baum



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.

From Lansing, Michigan, Roger “Stingray” Turner was born on July 9 1963 and had a solid amateur career after starting boxing at an early age.


He turned to professional boxing relatively late, at 25 years of age, after winning the 1987 National Golden Gloves championships at Welterweight, the same year that fellow future WBF champions Carl Daniels and Roy Jones Jr. were crowned champions in their weight classes.

Turner made his paid debut on October 8 1988 on a small show in Jonesville, Arkansas, knocking out in two rounds an opponent reportedly named Tommy Jeans with an abysmal record of 0-23.

Jeans, or whoever he really was, was discovered to fight under many names, sometimes more than once in one day, so his record is almost impossible to verify, but no matter what its safe to say that he wasn’t a contender in the making, and on BoxRec his final tally stands at 3-54.

Never the less, Roger Turner did what he had to do, and was on his way. His next eight opponents were not of a much higher quality than Jeans, and after a year as a pro, and at 9-0 (7), Turner´s opposition had a combined win-loss-draw record of 8-79-3.

So when he was pitted against another undefeated prospect, the 5-0 Gary Williamson, on October 26 1989 at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, he was still very much an unproven professional fighter. But he passed his first real test with flying colors, and stopped Williamson in the second round.

In the following year Turner won another seven fights, against appropriately better opponents than in the year before, including his first ten-rounder, a unanimous decision over Anthony Williams (8-4-2) in front of his hometown fans in Lansing.

Six weeks after the Williams victory, and now with a perfect 17-0 (11) record, Turner was given a big opportunity to add a known name to his record, when he was matched with former contender Floyd Mayweather (SENIOR!). Mayweather brought a 28-5-1 ledger, and had fought Sugar Ray Leonard and Marlon Starling (twice).

They squared off at the Grand Center Walsh Auditorium in Grand Rapids on November 3 1990, and while Mayweather had seen better days, he was still considered the biggest test so far for Turner, by a mile, having fought and defeated much better adversaries.

As the main event of a show staged by a company called Packer Sports and Promotions, It turned out to be quite an ugly encounter. Mayweather was deducted two points for holding, while Turner had one point deducted for punching behind the head.

But Turner proved toughness in the fight, and was too quick and skilled for his 38-year-old opponent. After ten rounds of forgettable action, he had passed another big test and was awarded a deserved unanimous decision, setting up what would be his careers high point a few months later.

On February 8 1991, at the Civic Center in Lansing, Turner delighted his fans by defeating another former amateur stand-out in skilled southpaw Darryl Lattimore (15-4) from Washington D.C. to win the vacant WBF World Welterweight title.

Turner rose to the occasion, and was the sharper man on the night, winning a unanimous twelve round decision over a game but out-gunned Lattimore. Just over two years from his first paid fight, he was now a world champion and the future looked brighter than ever. However, he would never defend his WBF world championship.

After three more victories, over Dennis Johnson (14-17), future IBO world titlist Kenny Gould (20-1), and Tyrone Moore (30-11-2), his path towards the big mega-fights was blocked when he suffered his fist loss, in June of 1992, to Luis Ramon “Yory Boy” Campas (42-0) at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The loss to Campas was by close majority decision, and nothing to be ashamed of as the Mexican would later win the IBF world Super Welterweight title and take part in big fights against the likes of Felix Trinidad, Fernando Vargas and Oscar De La Hoya.

But the road back to the top would be long, and when he lost another majority decision to Anthony Jones (33-5-1) in April of 1994, after rebounding from the Campas set-back with four low-key victories, it looked like an almost impossible task.

But, amazingly, after closing out 1994 with three victories over opponents with rather horrible records, but ranked number 9 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), he was back at Caesars Palace on April 8 1995, signed by promoter Don King to challenge Puerto Rican legend Felix Trinidad (25-0) for the IBF world welterweight crown.

Fighting outdoors in a makeshift arena in front of the luxurious hotel, it was never a competitive fight. Trinidad, making his sixth title-defense, did as he pleased in the first round, before flooring Turner with a left hook in the second. Turner wan not able to recover, and referee Mitch Halpern stopped the onslaught shortly after.

Two more stoppage losses followed, to Brit Adrian Stone (14-1-1) the following November, and Denmark’s Mads Larsen (20-1) at Super Middleweight in 1997 after a two year lay-off, and that was it for the boxing career of Roger Turner.

A former NABF Welterweight Champion, and former WBF World Welterweight Champion, Roger Turner retired in 1997 at 34 years of age, and with a respectable final professional record of 29-5 (17).

  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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