View Full Version : Johnny Bumphus

05-26-2010, 10:53 AM
TSS Where Are They Now? Johnny Bumphus
By Shawn Murphy from Sweet Science

Nicknamed "Bump City", Johnny Bumphus began boxing at the Tacoma (Wa.) Boxing Club. After amassing a 341-16 record as an amateur he turned pro in 1980. In 1984 he won the vacant WBA Light Welterweight Title with a Jan. 22, 1984 decision over Lorenzo Luis Garcia. His title reign was short-lived as he lost a few months later to Gene Hatcher in a fight which featured a strange ending. "Bump City" would get another shot at a world title in 1987 against Lloyd Honeyghan but was beaten by TKO in the 2nd round. Bumphus retired after that 1987 bout with a record of 29-2.

SM: Johnny let me ask you how it all started in the ring.

JB: I started in 1968, I was 8 years old. My friends like Rocky
Lockridge were all winning trophies and I decided I wanted one so I started boxing. I signed up at the Tacoma Boxing Club under Joe Clough. Before you knew it I was winning all kinds of tournaments. In 1972 we had a guy from our team make the Olympics, Sugar Ray Seales. When he got the gold medal and I saw all the recognition and notoriety he got, I told myself that I would have a gold medal too someday. I kept winning and in 1976 I wasn't old enough to go. So I continued and waited for the 1980 Olympics. By then I had won five national championships and was already on the Olympic team. I think I was 23-3 in international competition. But of course we couldn't compete because of Jimmy Carter. That dumb-butt wouldnít let our Olympians go because of the Russians in Afghanistan. To this day I hate him for it because it didnít accomplish anything. We ended up having a gathering at the White House later and the President gave us all gold medals.

SM: How did the boycott affect your career?
JB: I think it did definitely. I was so against that boycott and so hurt
that I didnít get to compete because I had already beaten the top
guys. When we fought in Germany prior to the boycott I was the
only boxer to win all three of his fights. I had beat the top
German, Russian, all the guys that placed in the Olympics. The
Olympic gold could have been worth millions in the future.

SM: The plane crash in 1980 when members of the US Olympic
team were killed. A real tragedy huh?

JB: Yeah it was. The plane I just got off of was the plane that crashed
12 hours later on its way to Poland. That was bad, real bad.

SM: Who were some of the tougher opponents, before you won the
the title?

JB: One guy I remember was Rocky Lockridge. I fought him in the
amateurs in 1970 and 1976. He was tough.

SM: Tell me about the Lorenzo Luis Garcia fight.

JB: I was disappointed in my performance. He wouldnít fight for like
the first 6 or 7 rounds. He was running and I was chasing. I did
have an exciting moment in the fourth round because he knocked
me down. It was more of me being off balance than a clean
punch. That's when I really started chasing him. The fight
picked up in the 8th through 12th rounds. When I won the title
you fought 15 rounds. He tried to pick it up in the later rounds
but I was too far ahead anyway by then. I just couldnít get to
him and won by decision.

SM: You lost your title a few months later to Gene Hatcher, what

JB: Gene Hatcher was one of the luckiest guys in the world, with a
lucky punch and a referee that wouldnít let the fight continue.
By the 11th round I had already won 9 of those. I was getting
real weak because it was so hard for me to make that weight.
After that fight I knew I would have to move up to welterweight.
My trainer George Benton and manager Lou Duva saw how
hard it was for me to make weight. I think that was the biggest
factor. After I made weight I really wasn't thinking about the
fight. I'm not taking away from Hatcher's ability
to fight. In the 11th round he caught me with a left hook and I
went down. The referee jumped in and I got up and tried to
balance myself on Hatcher. I lost my balance and fell down
and the fight was stopped. I was in good shape for the fight but
making the weight hurt me a lot. I really felt I could continue.
But they stopped it.

SM: Tell me about the Honeyghan fight.

JB: Honeyghan ran across the ring at me and hit me before the bell
even rang. He should have been disqualified. The referee
never gave me a fair shake. Watch the tape of that fight. He
should have been disqualified and I should have fought
someone else for the title or be given a rematch. A big factor
though was that my legs were gone. I did so much running in
the previous years that I just killed my legs. As far as boxing
ability though I should have beaten him.

SM: Why did you quit at a young age of 27?

JB: Lou Duva sent me to a specialist in Los Angeles because he
was concerned with my ability to stand. I had some stumbling
problems. I would get knocked down and I wouldn't even be
hurt, but just couldnít get up. I was diagnosed with an
equilibrium problem. In boxing, if you have problems like that
you're not going to win. You better quit boxing before you get

SM: Was it brain damage?

JB: The doctor really didnít know much when we got there. He said
it could have been a number of things. It was the first time
according to the doctor that he made such a diagnosis on
anyone, of equilibrium being off.

SM: What was the first thing you did after you retired?

JB: Turn to drugs, thatís what I did.

SM: How are things today with you?

JB: I'm disabled now due to my problems walking. I moved back to
Nashville after I retired and thatís when I became a drug addict.
Crack cocaine. I went through treatment and my wife stood by
me. About a year later I went back to drugs and she left me. It
happened because of me and my drug use. She raised my son
well and she was always looking out for me. Even today her
family consider me a member of their family.

SM: Any final words?

JB: I just want to thank all the fans out there that watched my career.
Especially those in the Atlantic City area. Whenever I fought
there I always had a good turnout. To all the boxing fans
throughout the world, thanks not only for supporting me but
all the fighters out there.

05-26-2010, 11:41 PM
When was this written. Last i saw of johnny bumphas, he was training guys down in florida.

05-27-2010, 04:31 PM
It was published this week by the Sweet Science website.


05-30-2010, 09:19 PM
"SM: The plane crash in 1980 when members of the US Olympic
team were killed. A real tragedy huh?"

Ya think?