Won First Professional Title
In 1992, Lewis defeated Donovan Ruddock, making him the best challenger for a world heavyweight champion. Lewis had been an underdog in the fight, but Lewis knocked Ruddock down once in the first round and twice in round two. While Lewis did become a champion, he did not have to fight for it.
In December 1992, World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe (who defeated Evander Holyfield to win the belt) refused to fight Lewis, except for what the Lewis camp considered an absurdly low amount of money, and had the WBC belt taken from him—Bowe did retain the WBA and IBF (International Boxing Federation) titles. Bowe literally threw the belt in the trash in a media spectacle. Though Lewis obtained the championship in an unconventional matter, he became a national hero in Great Britain. The last British heavyweight champion was Ruby Robert Fitzsimmons in 1897. Lewis then signed a four-fight deal with Time Warner Sports.
In May 1993, Lewis had his first fight in defense of his WBC tile. He defeated Tony Tucker by unanimous decision after knocking him down twice in twelve rounds. Later that year he also knocked out fellow Brit Frank Bruno in the seventh round in another defense of his title. In 1994, Lewis defeated Phil Jackson by technical knockout in the eighth round. Despite these victories, Lewis still did not have much professional respect among fighters, especially in the United States, and he found it hard to get Americans to fight him.