Remembering Frank Tate 84’ Olympic Gold and IBF MW Champ!
By Ken Hissner: In making contact with Frank Tate, thanks to his manager Bob Spagnola I got his opinion on his trainer Jesse Reid whom I am doing an article on. I asked Frank to take part in one on him since there was so much to write about being the 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist and later the IBF World Middleweight champion.
This writer gets most information from www.boxrec.com, and it lists Tate at 18-1 in the amateurs his last 19 fights before turning professional.
He had major wins over in the U.S vs. Russia meet defeating Aleksandr Koshkin in February of 1983; in the 1983 Golden Gloves quarterfinal defeating Michael Nunn in the first of their three meetings, losing the other two; in March of 1983, winning the Golden Gloves defeating Danny Trujillo; defeating Canada’s Shawn O’Sullivan in 1984 for the AIBA title; defeating future WBA Middle and IBF Light Heavy titles in the Olympic titles and again defeating O’Sullivan in August of 84’ winning the Olympic Gold medalist in L.A. He had defeated fighters from Sweden, Italy, Zambia, and West Germany to get to the finals.
In December of 1984, Tate turned professional with the HBA group out of Houston, Texas, that Josephine Abercrombe formed with help from Spagnola.
BOB SPAGNOLA: He was my first world champion, and he will always have a place in my heart. He turned pro and became USBA champ and was a 3-1 underdog when he fought for Hagler’s vacant title. He moved down from Detroit to Houston with his family. He’s a special person to me. We went up with HBA to fight in Atlantic City. NBC picked up Frank after he had about half a dozen fights. He was a world champion fighting all over the globe and winning as a road warrior. Against Andrew Maynard, it pitted two Gold Medalists against one another for the NABF light heavyweight title stopping him in eleven.
In Tate’s eighth fight, all wins, he defeated Thomas Smith, 17-2. He would go on to defeat three Philadelphia boxers, including Jerry Williams, 8-1, Curtis Parker, 28-7, and Marvin Mack, 15-5-1. After the Parker fight, he fought Kevin “Killer” Watts in Atlantic City. “It was one of my tougher fights in AC along with against the Philly fighters,” said Tate.
In July of 1987, Tate won the USBA title defeating Troy Darrell, 22-1, in Atlantic City, NJ, earning him a world title fight. In October, he won the vacant IBF World Middleweight title defeating Michael “The Silk” Olajide, 23-0, by a lopsided decision 146-135, 148-134, and 147-136, in Las Vegas, NV.
In Tate’s first defense, he traveled to the UK, where he knocked out the Commonwealth champion and two-time world challenger Tony “Sibbo” Sibson, 55-6-1, in the tenth round. Gate-crashers were throwing tear gas canisters prior to the event. Upon entering the ring, they jeered Tate, but when introduced, there were some cheers.
In the first two rounds, Sibson was effective. In the fourth round, Tate hurt Sibson with a right halfway through the round. By the eighth round, Sibson was bleeding from the nose and his left eye almost closing. With a minute remaining in round ten, Tate hurt Sibson with a right on the chin. A crushing right from Tate on the chin and down went Sibson. Lying on his back, he spit out his mouthpiece and beat the count but was in no condition to continue forcing referee Frank Cappaccino to wave it off.
In Tate’s next defense in July, he met his old nemesis Nunn, 30-0, and was stopped by Nunn in nine rounds in Las Vegas. He was 23-0 going into that fight. He would move up to super middleweight after this match fighting for the vacant IBF title losing a majority decision to Lindell Holmes, 40-5, in January of 1990 in New Orleans.
Not able to get a rematch with Holmes, Tate moved up to light heavyweight, winning the vacant IBF Inter-Continental light heavyweight title defeating Uriah “Bossman” Grant, 19-8, in Atlantic City, NJ, in February of 1981, in Atlantic City.
In Tate’s first defense, he traveled to Italy, defeating Uganda’s Yawe Davis, 27-7-2, fighting out of Italy, by split decision in August of 1991. In his next match in January of 1992, he stopped former 1988 Olympic Gold medalist Andrew “Boxing” Maynard, 18-1, for the NABF title at the Paramount Theatre in New York.
In September of 1992, fighting for the vacant WBA world title, Tate lost to former teammate from the 1984 Olympic team Silver medalist Virgil “Quicksilver” Hill, 38-1, in the latter’s hometown of Bismarck, North Dakota by decision. He would go on to win four fights before getting a rematch with Hill again in North Dakota in July of 1994, losing again.
After winning his next five fights in August of 1997, Tate won the WBU light heavyweight title by split decision over Germany’s Norbert Nieroba, 11-0, in Berlin, Germany.
Two more wins, and in Tate’s final match, he lost to David Telesco, 1992, losing in the fourth round. He retired with a 41-5 record with 24 stoppages.
KEN HISSNER: How did you go about signing Frank with the HBA group turning professional?
BOB SPAGNOLA: I knew him from our training camp, and he was a young kid about 20. His international record was 18-1. He still comes to my house and sometimes we go fishing. His two brothers moved out here.
KEN HISSNER: What was it like with Frank winning the IBF world middleweight title?
BOB SPAGNOLA: It’s a book in itself. The Garden tried to get the fight there. Michael Olajide was the No. 1 contender and was a good kid who we fought and were a 3-1 underdog. Frank just owned him. He had him down twice, and it was a hard 15 round fight.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank both of you for taking the time to answer these questions, and like your trainer Jesse Reid I hope the two of you will be inducted into the IBHOF.
BOB SPAGNOLA: Thanks Ken and I appreciate it.
FRANK TATE: Thanks, Ken.
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