George Foreman was born on January 10th, 1949 in Marshall, Texas. As a student he loved football but gave it up in favour of boxing.
Foreman’s record as an amateur resulted in 22 wins and 4 losses and climaxed with his gold medal in the heavyweight division at the Mexico Olympics in 1968. He then turned professional in 1969.
As a professional he was unstoppable and by the end of 1971 had amassed a 32 – 0 record, including 29 knockouts, and was now the number one challenger for the WBA and WBC world titles. However, he would have to wait until 1973 for his first attempt at the title when he faced Joe Frazier in the Sunshine Showdown in Kingston, Jamaica. Foreman dominated the fight, knocking Frazier down six times before the referee put an end to the carnage.
Foreman successfully defended his title twice before coming up against the self-proclaimed ‘greatest, Muhammad Ali at the infamous Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire during the summer of 1974. In round eight the referee stopped the fight and Ali took over the world title.
Over the next few years Foreman mounted a comeback including a second victory over Joe Frazier, but which ended suddenly after a defeat by Jimmy Young in 1977. This defeat proved to be a life-changing event for Foreman. After the fight he became ill and turned to God to save him. Foreman recovered and felt that God wanted him to change his life, so he became a born again Christian and dedicated the next ten years of his life to God.
In 1987, after ten years away from the sport, George Foreman shocked the boxing world by announcing a comeback at the age of 38. To start with he was overweight and out of shape. But with each fight and each victory he gradually slimmed down and got back to his former self. He put a lot of this improvement down to his relaxed style and healthy eating. It was the latter than was to have a profound effect on his later life following his 1989 decision to sell his name and face to promote a number of products including grills.
By 1991 Foreman had proven himself enough to get another shot at the title, but lost over twelve rounds to a much younger and fitter Evander Holyfield. Undeterred, Foreman continued to prove himself a genuine contender and was rewarded with another crack at the IBF and WBA titles in 1994 against Michael Moorer. In the tenth round Foreman once again surprised the boxing world by knocking Moorer out and regaining the title at the grand old age of 45.
Unfortunately, Foreman was stripped of his WBA title when he refused to defend it against Tony Tucker, and then lost his IBF belt after reusing a rematch against Axel Schultz from Germany. After a few more fights, Foreman retired once again at age 48.
But there was no quiet retirement for Foreman. His decision to endorse the indoor grill manufactured by Russell Hobbs, (known as Salton at the time) turned out to be an inspired one. The indoor electric grill known as the George Foreman Grill or the Lean Mean Grilling Machine went on to sell over 100 million units worldwide. A lot of the popularity of the grills can be put down to a combination of Foreman’s smiling affable personality in the infomercials as well as the unique features of the grill itself.
Like Foreman, the grills have changed over the years, constantly introducing new innovative features such as removable drip trays and detachable non-stick plates.
Although never confirmed, it is know that Salton paid Foreman $137 million in 1999 in order to buy out the right to use his name. Before that he was being paid 40% of the profits on each grill sold!
George Foreman. Professional boxer, two-time heavyweight champ, Olympic gold medal winner, Baptist minister, author, and very successful entrepreneur.