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Rob Blakeman: It is 1992 at the European Kick Boxing Championships in Bulgaria. A little known British fighter called Pele Reid was taking on big favourite Vitali Klitschko in the final of what had been an exhausting tournament. The crowd gathered as the smaller Reid was brought out like a sacrificial lamb to face the huge Ukrainian fighter.
The fight began predictably with Reid moving faster and evading Klitschko’s attacks while punching and kicking on the back foot. Even so, not many thought Reid could stay out of trouble much longer but he made it to the end of the first round fairly unscathed. The second round began with Reid now moving in earnest, bouncing around energetically in front of the fairly flat footed and plodding Klitschko.
Klitschko’s overconfidence seemed to get the better of him as he stood well in range of Reid’s fast hands and feet, poking out stiff jabs as he leant in to get closure on what seemed an inevitable outcome. Suddenly Reid produced a lightening fast roundhouse kick straight out of a martial arts movie that exploded on the side of Klitschko’s head!
Even though he was wearing the protective headgear used in sparring in regular boxing, Klitschko crashed to the canvas like he’d been shot. He bravely tried to lift his head and shoulders to return to his feet but his eyes were in orbit and he finally slumped back down to a prone position unmoving as officials surrounded him giving him medical attention, one of them lifting his feet and legs to increase the blood flow to his dazed skull.
Klitschko himself disputes this turn of events and claims in his profile on Wikipedia that it was a kick to his leg that ended the fight. Many people believe that this fight did not end in any knockdown or even that the fight took place. If it is just an urban myth then fine-but if it were true why would Klitschko deny this event? David Haye is heavy handed and if Vitali gets caught clean he will go-this fight proves it-if it happened. I know it did as I trained Pele Reid for a period and witnessed it myself. If only there was some film footage of this fight……