The Atomic Bull Rides Again

By Socrates Palmer Jr


The Atomic Bull Rides Again

On Saturday June 16th Oliver McCall defeated Sinan Samil Sam in Ankara, Turkey. By earning his 51st pro victory, via unanimous decision, the former WBC heavyweight champion of the world put himself inline for one more title opportunity. At age 42 the man known as the “Atomic Bull” believes that not only will he recapture the WBC crown, but he will bring the quartet of heavyweight hardware back to the United States. McCall tells Boxingtalk, that his victory was just the first step in his quest to win the same title that he once owned back in 1994.

“Obviously it was an important win for me on Saturday. I felt in control throughout the whole fight and I probably could have knocked him out, but I did not want to get careless. I was in command using my jab and I just really dictated things in there all night,” McCall.

The main reason McCall’s mind was at ease despite not scoring a knockout and facing Sam in front of a partial Turkish home crowd was the presence of “Open Scoring.” Judges: Massimo Barrovecchio (114-113), Daniel Van de Wiele (115-112) and Alan Krebs (115-112), had their scores in full display. With open scoring being utililized, McCall had no reservations of having the fight go the distance. McCall had no doubts of being able to receive a fair decision, even though he was fighting on foreign soil.

“I love open scoring, I think it should always be used. In the 8th round one judge had him (Sam) up and it was hard to believe. But it was cool because it made me turn it up a notch. Open scoring benefits everyone, besides putting the onus on the judges to give a correct decision. But also the fans get to see which fighter really wants it more, you can tell which fighter is out there just to simply survive and who wants to come out and actually win. It’s important for fighters to know where they stand, so that way there is no excuses,” McCall.

McCall’s take on Sam was that his foe had an amateurish style, and that at no point during the contest did he see Sam as a threat. According to McCall, Sam was content in volume rather than connecting punches with real conviction. McCall said that the real proof was his on his face, which was unblemished after their 12 rounds. So why after a clear cut win, would he want to exercise a contractual re-match clause?

“Why a re-match? Because, they will pay good money for a re-match. That’s just looking at it, from a business stand point. I look at it like this; I’m now the mandatory after Maskaev and Peter take care of business. Then they have Vitali Klitchko in the mix, so I am going to need a fight in between me getting my title shot, so why not a rematch. Why take a tougher fight for less money? When I can take a fight with a guy who I know can’t beat me, who is not a threat and is basically an easy fight for good money,” McCall.

Along with his victory McCall said that he enjoyed his time in Turkey. McCall is said to have earned $200,000 for the bout against Sam. In a rematch, McCalls thinks he could take home double or triple since the fight was such a successful promotion. McCall stated that the atmosphere was great and that the Turkish fans were very passionate about their man. However McCall said he was not impressed with the aforementioned Sam and expected more from the former #2 ranked contender.

“He had no ring generalship like they said he had. He had no real power either. He was tough in the sense that he kept coming and took a beating, but he was not as strong as he was made out to be,” McCall.

McCall who now calls Florida home is promotionally represented by the Seminole Warriors Boxing group. This in turn gives McCall optimism at having his goal of unification fulfilled. Warriors also promote current WBO titlist Sultan Ibragamov. While many including myself originally scoffed at the notion of McCall being a major player in the heavyweight division. Some might have said that it truly shows how sad a state the division finds itself in. The former champion has yet to shake his most embarrassing defeat, the rematch with Lennox Lewis. In 1997 McCall suffered a breakdown in the ring against Lennox Lewis and lost a 5th round TKO. McCall says that it’s unfair to only remember that one dark night in his career.

“A lot of people still remember what happened 10 years ago and if they want to that’s fine. That’s way behind me. To me that’s why God gets all the glory. Who would think that 10 years later I would be standing here today at the brink of being world champion again? After television analyst and writers said I should never be allowed to fight again, etc. well I am here before you and only God deserves the credit”, McCall.

He says that if you look at the body of his work since then, he has more than earned his right to stake claim to a championship. McCall has only one loss since 1997, while maintaining a steady work rate during these past 10 years. In fact McCall owns a knockout victory over current WBC world champion Oleg Maskaev.

“There is no heavyweight out there who has done what I’ve done. Lennox, Maskaev, Akinwandee and Bruce Seldon, I was the 1st one to stop these guys when they were undefeated. In 1988 I dropped Mike Tyson with .18oz gloves, while he was getting ready to fight Spinks (Michael). You can ask Angelo Dundee he was there. I was the first man to stop Lennox Lewis in England. I’ve fought more world champions in my career than anyone out there. Joe Louis, Ali, Tyson, Lennox, none of them did what I’m doing at the age of 40. Only Foreman (George) and Larry Holmes that’s it have been able to sustain themselves at a high level at this age. How many 42 year olds were ever ranked #1 in the world,” McCall.

McCall says that he can’t be criticized if the division is “weak.” “Don’t knock where I am or what I’m doing. I can’t control the caliber fighters out there, I can only control what I do in the ring. That’s why I want to fight these Russians who are seen as the best. I’ll fight them anywhere. I’ll go to Germany, Russia wherever. I’ve been to the mountain top and now I just want to cement my legacy and bring the world championship back to America. I want my place in history to be as the man who brought the heavyweight championship back to America. Certain writers write and talk a lot of garbage and it helps me. Because fighters read that and they sleep on me and that’s a good thing, like Sinan”, McCall.


Send questions and comments to: