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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Mads Larsen

Posted on June 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.

Danish southpaw Mads Larsen was considered a massive talent when promoter Mogens Palle signed him to a professional contract in 1993. Only twenty years old, he entered the paid ranks at the perfect time, and would soon capture the imagination of local boxing fans.


Larsen made his pro debut on October 29 1993, deep on the undercard of WBO World Super Flyweight champion Johnny Bredahl´s title defense against Puerto Rican Eduardo Nazario at Storebaelthallen in Korsoer, stopping Englishman Martin Jolly (9-3-1) in the third round of a scheduled four.

Larsen was kept relatively busy with twelve fights over the next thirty months, beating mostly the usual line-up of experienced trial-horses, but a knockout in four rounds over former Nigerian, African and WBC International champion Hunter Clay (38-16-1) in the Danes tenth outing in January of 1996 was a very good indicator of potential.

At 12-0 (10) Larsen went to London for some international experience in May 1995, and was very unlucky when stopped on a cut in the second round by experienced but limited Leicester journeyman Trevor Ambrose (10-18) at York Hall.

The cut was not even that bad, as Larsen was back in the ring less than three weeks later, getting back on track with a first round knockout of Welshman Lee Crocker (8-11-1) in Copenhagen. Four more convincing victories followed, and by May 1997, his record now standing at 17-1(14), he was awarded with his first title-shot.

On a big card featuring some of Scandinavia’s biggest stars at the time, Larsen stopped American Shannon “Sandman” Landberg (33-6-3) to lift the vacant IBO World Super Middleweight title at Randers Hallen in Randers, not far from his hometown of Aarhus.

Larsen was too fast and skilful for the man from West Lafayette, Indiana, and dominated the fight until referee Pat Russell had seen enough and waved it over in the fourth. A convincing and impressive display by the handsome Dane, who by now had been attached the often over-used “Golden Boy” moniker.

Three non title-fight victories followed, all by stoppage, over Melvin Wynn (17-27-1), Carl Jones (23-5-4), who two years earlier had challenged Mike McCallum for the WBC world Light Heavyweight crown, and former WBF world champion Roger Turner (29-4).

In November of 1997 Larsen made his first IBO title defense with a seventh round technical knockout over reigning South African champion Soon Botes (16-3), before starting 1998 with February triumphs over Ray Domenge (22-8), best known for dropping a unanimous decision to Roberto Duran in 1996, and Hugo Daniel Sclarandi (32-22-4).

In March he defended his title against Argentinean Bruno Ruben Godoy (36-14-6) by emphatic seventh round knockout, and then stayed busy with stoppages over Rob Bleakley (71-13) and Lee Fortune (23-12-2), before dispatching Brazilian Peter Venancio (38-2-1) in seven rounds in his third defense to round out the year.

Venancio had gone twelve hard rounds in a challenge for William Joppy´s WBA world Middleweight title the previous year, losing a very tight decision by only one, two and three points on the scorecards, so Larsen getting the stoppage raised his stock by miles, and he was now considered among the very best in his division.

Five months on, March 19 1999, Larsen further build on his resume when he took on WBF World Super Middleweight champion Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga (44-11) in a unification fight. The South African was in his third reign as world champion, having also held the WBC championship twice, and making his second defense of the WBF crown.

With victories over the likes of Nigel Benn and Robin Reid, a split decision loss to Chris Eubank, and tough encounters against Lindell Holmes and Roy Jones Jr., the only man to previously stop him, Malinga was considered a massive test, but a highly motivated Larsen did a number on him and won by tenth round knockout.

With his first WBF world title defense scheduled for November of 1999, Larsen tuned up with comprehensive wins over former IBF and WBC world titlist Simon Brown (47-10) and Roni Martinez (18-2), another former Roberto Duran victim, in October. Brown lasted six rounds, while Martinez was send packing in round one.

Headlining a star-studded card (by Danish standards), Larsen faced South American champion Omar Eduardo Gonzalez (22-1) in Viborg, and successfully retained his WBF world title in the sixth round. With a record of 32-1 (28), Mr. Larsen was making a strong claim to be the best Super Middleweight in the world.

Unfortunately he would be out of the ring for almost a year after the Gonzalez fight, and when he returned in October 2000 he was not ready to defend his WBF belt against Englishman Robin Reid, who won the vacant title a month later in London.

Larsen continued to be impressive though, winning his next twelve bouts, nine of them inside the distance, before getting a shot at the IBF and WBA world titles held by German icon Sven Ottke (31-0) in September 2003. Many felt that Larsen deserved to win the fight, but in the end it went to Ottke by majority decision (115-115, 113-115, 113-115).

Mads rebounded less than a month later, returning to Germany to face another undefeated local hero in Danilo Haussler (22-0) for the European title. This time there would be no doubt, as Larsen thoroughly schooled Haussler and won a clear unanimous decision.

After such a convincing victory, the future again looked bright for Larsen, and at only thirty years of age he still had time for another world title campaign. But unfortunately a dispute with promoter/manager Mogens Palle kept him inactive for almost four years, and basically put a stop to his time at world level.

When he did return to the ring, after signing with German promotional power-house Sauerland Event in early 2007, he was not the same. It appeared that he didn’t have the same drive and power, only managing to stop one of his next seven opponents.

In January of 2010 Larsen was beaten in seven rounds by Bryan Magee (32-3-1) in Aarhus, attempting to reclaim the vacant European title. In June 2012 he tried to make a comeback, but was halted in four rounds by nine-fight novice Luke Blackledge (9-0).

Mads Larsen was 39 years old when he retired with a 51-4 (38) record, and had a very nice career. But despite winning two world titles and the European title, he is one of those boxers you cant help feel could have achieved even more, with a bit of luck and perhaps some different choices.

  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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