Buster Mathis, Jr.

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Buster Mathis Jr., (actually Buster DAmato Mathis- not a Jr.) born March 25, 1970 in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, is an American former professional boxer in the heavyweight division.

The son of Buster Mathis, a heavyweight boxer from the 1960s, who left his son a great legacy, being invited to the Olympics, and was a contender with the great Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Mathis Jr. was a heavy man and took up boxing because he was bullied as a child until the age of 14, and also for the benefit of losing extra weight.

Mathis Jr. turned pro in 1991 and quickly put together 12 wins. A busy, crowding fighter, Mathis was small for a heavyweight at around 220 lbs but skilled enough to beat fairly respected fighters like Levi Billups, Justin Fortune and Mike Dixon very early in his career. Buster Mathis encouraged his son to fewer higher paying fights, using the Mathis name to his advantage. He was considered a weak puncher (3 KO's in those 12 fights) but his opposition was above average.

In 1993 he challenged Mike 'The Bounty' Hunter (23-3) for his USBA heavyweight belt. Hunter won a close decision over Mathis. The loss however was soon voided after Hunter later tested positive for cocaine.

In 1994 Mathis again contested the USBA belt (stripped from Hunter), this time winning an impressive 12 round decision over ex-Olympic champion Tyrell Biggs (27-7).

In August of that year Mathis was brought in as the comeback opponent for former undisputed champion Riddick Bowe. After a good effort bobbing and weaving out of the way of Bowe's best shots, Mathis began to fall behind and took a knee in the fourth. Bowe knocked Mathis out while he was on the floor, yet instead of being disqualified, referee Arthur Mercante Sr and New Jersey commission boss Larry Hazzard agreed to void the contest.

In 1995 Mathis retained his USBA belt with a point win over contender Alex Garcia, thus setting up a fight with Mike Tyson. This was Tyson's second fight since being released from prison earlier in the year.

Mathis Sr did not see his son's fight with Tyson, his final battle was health problems of diabetes and kidney issues. Mathis Sr. died a few weeks before the Tyson fight. In the third round Tyson knocked Mathis out with a right uppercut. Many believed that if Mathis Sr had been alive that Buster could have won the fight. Ten days after the Tyson fight Buster Jr's trainer and long time friend Joey Fariello died, and Buster quickly lost his spark for the sport.

A 1996 fight with prospect Obed Sullivan ended with a no contest in the 5th round, after Sullivan was badly cut in a clash of heads. This was the third no contest in Mathis's relatively brief career.

In November 1996 Mathis lost his USBA belt to undefeated Lou Savarese.

Mathis retired at the age of 26 with a 21-2 (7 KO's) record, and 3 no contests.

After his boxing career he studied education receiving a bachelors degree from the University of Miami. He currently resides in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan and spends his free time speaking to youth to encourage and motivate them, signing autographs and speaking to foster children. Buster Mathis is now the vice president of a non-profit, Buster Mathis Inc. (www.thebullybuster.org) and offers elementary children the Bully Buster Prevention Program through a boxing technique called the 'peek-a-boo'. Buster Mathis is single and has no children at this time.

Professional boxing record[edit]

21 Wins (7 knockouts, 14 decisions), 2 Losses (2 knockouts), 3 No Contests [1]
ResultRecordOpponentTypeRoundDateLocationNotes
Loss35-0United States Lou SavareseTKO71 Nov 1996United States Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, CaliforniaIBF USBA Heavyweight Title.
No Contest17-1-1United States Obed SullivanNC520 Apr 1996United States Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks, North DakotaIBF Intercontinental Heavyweight Title.
Win13-6United States Ken SmithKO427 Feb 1996South Africa Morula Sun Casino, Mabopane, North West
Loss42-1United States Mike TysonKO316 Dec 1995United States Core State Spectrum, Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaMathis knocked out at 2:32 of the third round.
Win10-10-1United States Mike AcklieTKO15 Aug 1995United States New Mexico State Fair, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Win37-4-1United States Alex GarciaUD1218 Apr 1995United States The Aladdin, Las Vegas, NevadaIBF USBA Heavyweight Title.
Win10-2United States Ken SmithUD104 Feb 1995United States Silver Nugget, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win12-12-1United States Garing LaneTKO93 Dec 1994United States Harlingen, Texas
Win12-1-1United States Lyle McDowellTKO55 Nov 1994United States Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, NevadaIBF USBA Heavyweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 0:46 of the fifth round.
Win11-11United States Mike Lee FaulknerUD101 Oct 1994United States The Roxy, Boston, Massachusetts100-88, 100-88, 100-90.
No Contest34-1United States Riddick BoweNC413 Aug 1994United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New JerseyReferee stopped the bout at 2:11 of the fourth round when Bowe knocked out Mathis while he was down.
Win14-1United States Sherman GriffinMD102 Apr 1994Japan Tokyo
Win27-7United States Tyrell BiggsUD125 Feb 1994United States The Aladdin, Las Vegas, NevadaIBF USBA Heavyweight Title. 117-110, 117-111, 115-112.
No Contest22-3-2United States Mike "The Bounty" HunterND124 Dec 1993United States USS Lexington Museum, Corpus Christi, TexasIBF USBA Heavyweight Title. Decision awarded to Hunter was vacated when he tested positive for drugs.
Win13-9United States Mike "The Duke" DixonUD102 Oct 1993United States Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey100-91, 99-91, 98-92.
Win13-21-1United States Mark "The Storm" YoungUD107 Aug 1993United States Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win18-6United States Levi BillupsPTS1010 Jul 1993United States Fernwood Resort, Bushkill, Pennsylvania
Win13-12United States Carl "Little Truth" WilliamsTKO515 Jun 1993United States The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Win7-0-1Australia Justin FortuneTKO814 Feb 1993United States Las Vegas, Nevada
Win6-0United States Ty EvansPTS622 Sep 1992United States The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Win1-25-2United States Jordan KeepersPTS624 Apr 1992United States Beloit, Wisconsin
Win6-5United States Tim MartinTKO521 Apr 1992United States The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Win0-1United States Luis TorresPTS421 Mar 1992United States Cleveland, Ohio
Win6-9United States Tracy ThomasPTS43 Mar 1992United States Livonia, Michigan
Win2-0United States Rusty WilliamsPTS48 Feb 1992United States Lansing, Michigan
Win1-31United States Ahmad GihadPTS49 Dec 1991United States Waukesha, Wisconsin

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