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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Yvan Mendy

Posted on January 6, 2016                                              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.


Former WBF Intercontinental Light Welterweight Champion Yvan Mendy (30) from France is an unusual edition to the series. He is still active and arguably in his prime, and recently scored the biggest victory of his career which is why he was chosen for this months feature.

Mendy turned professional to little fanfare in March 2006, on a small show in Soissons, France, stopping Faisal Bahache (0-8) in the second round. Although against very limited opposition, he had an active first year in the paid ranks, and entered 2007 at 7-0 (4) and ready for bigger challenges.

Nicknamed “The Lion”, his second year as a pro got off to an excellent start as Mendy stopped fellow prospect Akim Mehadji (5-1-1) in three, and he slowly but surely established himself near the top of the list of French prospects, and as someone to watch.

A No-Contest with Mourad Sabry El Malki (5-2-1) was the only blemish on his record after thirteen bouts, and when he received a spot on a big show televised by Eurosport in May of 2008, it was a major opportunity to get his name across to millions of viewers throughout Europe.

But things didn’t pan out quite as Mendy and his handlers had hoped. While journeyman Abdoulaye Soukouna (7-6-4) was coming off a draw with 20-1 former French champion Jean Nicolas Weigel, he was a foe that Mendy was expected to beat, and beat convincingly.

But it wasn’t to be, and the cagey Soukouna had too many tricks in his bag for Mendy and won a deserved unanimous decision. It was a major setback for “Le Lion”, and Soukouna would later prove to be a ghost that had his number and continued to haunt him.

Fortunately for Mendy there was still belief in his potential, and when he finally returned to the ring almost a year later he regained some of the lost momentum when he stopped former Bulgarian champion and European title-challenger Kirkor Kirkorov (28-22) inside two rounds.

He continued to rebuild with four more victories in 2009, and adding the solid scalps of tough Nicaraguan Bismarck Alfaro (11-9) and Georgian Beka Sadjaja (20-9-1) to start 2010, earned him a fight with always-tough and game Irishman Peter McDonagh (15-16) for the vacant WBF Intercontinental Light Welterweight crown.

McDonagh´s record was deceiving, to say the least, and in his previous outing he had defeated French Light Welterweight champion Christopher Sebire. His CV was a regular who’s-who of big names, and his only loss inside the distance came by injury in a fight for the EU title.

A two-division Southern Area champion and former Irish champion, McDonagh also held wins over former British champion Michael Gomez (32-6) and future British titlist Lee Purdy (9-0-1), and would go on to defeat Curtis Woodhouse (14-1) before the former pro footballer won the British championship.

And Mendy rose to the occasion, on June 4 2010 in Oise, France, putting on a disciplined performance to win his first title by unanimous decision with scores of 119-113 and 117-112 twice. Now the WBF Intercontinental champion, he had proved that the continued belief in him was not in vein, and the future looked brighter than ever.

Six months later he successfully defended the WBF title by out-scoring Ugandan Olympian and African champion Sam Rukundo (15-2-1) at the same venue, and when the opportunity to get revenge against his sole conqueror, Abdoulaye Soukouna (12-10-5), presented itself in early 2011, Mendy was again considered the favorite.

On April Fools Day the old rivals squared off for Soukouna´s French title, and, while he did better than the first time, Mendy didn’t come out on top. One judge scored it a near landslide (98-92) for the defending champion, and two judges had it even 95-95, making the fight a majority draw.

A rematch was quickly arranged for two months later, but again Soukouna proved to be all wrong for Mendy who lost a unanimous decision. But thankfully he had held on to his WBF title, and after one interim victory he got back on track with a second defense against Belgian Tarik Madni (15-2) the following December.

Mendy stopped Madni in four rounds to retain the WBF Intercontinental title, but it would turn out to be his last title-defense. He won his next three fights, before losing on points to future WBC world champion Viktor Postol (18-0) in Ukraine.

Obviously there was no shame in getting out-pointed by Postol, and Mendy came back strong after he moved down to Lightweight and won the French title by dethroning Marvin Petit (13-0-1) in June of 2013. Four defenses of that belt put him in line for a crack at the European crown, but he lost on points to Edis Tatli (24-1) in April 2015.

After wins over journeymen Felix Lora (18-15-5) and Reynaldo Mora (7-5-1), Mendy was picked as nothing more than a tough but beatable challenge for 2012 Olympic champion, and defending WBC International Lightweight ruler, Luke Campbell (12-0) in December of 2015, but the Frenchman didn’t read the script.

A determined Mendy came out strong from the start and used his superior physique to, at times, manhandle the highly rated and skilled Campbell. A knock-down in round five eventually proved to seal the deal for the underdog, who deservedly won a split decision by scores of 115-112, 115-113 and 113-115.

With a record of 33-4-1 (16), and with his most impressive victory clear in memory, Yvan Mendy could be in line for many big fights in the future. A rematch with Campbell or even a shot at world glory is undoubtedly strong possibilities, and now everybody will know how good the man from Pont-Sainte-Maxence is.

  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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