Ex-heavyweight boxer Julius Francis knocks reveller out cold while working as a bouncer
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The CEO and founder of Boxpark today defended former British heavyweight champion turned security guard Julius Francis after he knocked out a reveller at the venue in London.
Francis, who once fought Mike Tyson, was filmed in the altercation outside Boxpark near Wembley Stadium, which left a man unconscious on the ground.
The 57-year-old ex-heavyweight champion, who is working as a bouncer at the north London venue, was caught on camera intervening as a man hurled insults at staff.
In the video, one man, wearing a blue durag, can be heard yelling profanities in the direction of Francis, ‘I hope you have a heart attack, you fat ****’ before he then shoves a smaller security guard.
After trying to move the reveller away from the premises, Francis threw a punch which clipped the man’s head and knocked him out cold.
The Met Police have said they are investigating the incident and are yet to determine exactly when it took place.
Francis, now aged 57, hung up his boxing gloves in 2006 with a professional record of 23-24-1. In 2009, he was convicted of criminal damage and assault after a road rage incident which saw him punch a car window, causing the glass to shatter.
In response to the video, Boxpark CEO Roger Wade said the man who was punched had been part of a group who had been ‘abusing, spitting and hitting customers and staff’. Describing the former boxer as ‘one of the nicest people’ he had ever met, Mr Wade said he stood behind Julius Francis’ actions in a statement shared on social media.
Footage of the incident quickly went viral on social media with viewers split over whether the punch was a proportionate response.
But Mr Wade asked viewers to think about how they would react in a similar situation.
He said: ‘Woke up to a viral story about one of our security team. Julius Francis, is ex UK heavyweight boxing champion, he is one of the nicest people I have ever met and helps train young underprivileged kids boxing in his spare time.
Julius Francis, a former British heavyweight boxer who now works as a security guard, has been filmed knocking out a rowdy reveller with a single punch in front of shocked bystanders
Pictured: Former heavyweight boxer Julius Francis herds a group of rowdy revellers out of BOXPARK in Wembley (left) as one man, in the blue du-rag, gets confrontational (right)
The man was left unconscious after the right-hand blow from former champion Julius Francis
Roger Wade, the CEO and founder of Boxpark defended former British heavyweight champion turned security guard Julius Francis after he knocked out a reveller at the venue in London
Pictured: Julius Francis (left) and Mike Tyson exchange blows during the heavyweight contest at the Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester. Tyson won by a second round stoppage
‘My understanding is that Julius and our security team spent 15 minutes stopping this man and his friends from abusing, spitting and hitting our customers and staff.
‘They carefully escorted him from the premises under constant provocation and violence. Finally the person approached Julius in a confrontational manner and he defended himself.
‘Acts of violence or abuse to any staff members should never be tolerated. How would you react if someone approached you violently? What would you do next if you were in my shoes?’
It came after trouble started inside the venue and spilled onto the street outside as a group of men were seen arguing while the bouncers attempted to move them on.
The scuffle moves away from the front of the venue as the man wearing the blue du-rag continues to confront other revellers while onlookers can be heard shouting ‘chill’.
The man can be seen shoving multiple people and yelling obscenities as the incident appears to escalate.
As the man turns toward Francis and appears to raise his fist, the former pro boxer unleashes a right-hand punch to the man’s head.
Bystanders react with a mixture of shocked gasps and cheers as the stricken man’s friends rush to his aid.
The man falls to the ground unconscious as his friends confront Francis, who walked away from the incident, and ask why he punched him.
The man is then rolled into the recovery position as his friend can be heard saying: ‘There was no need, there was no need.’
The man appeared to raise a fist to Francis before he was floored by the former British champ
The former British heavyweight champion had notable bouts against four future or former World heavyweight Champions including John Ruiz in 1994 and Mike Tyson in 2000 – both of which he lost.
He famously lasted just four minutes with Tyson during their bout at the Manchester Evening News Arena.
Francis also fought Vitali Klitschko but was stopped in two rounds during their bout in 1998.
After he retired in 2006, he started a fitness company while working as a security guard.
In 2009, Francis was convicted of criminal damage and assault after a road rage incident which saw him punch a car window, causing the glass to shatter.
He was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £200 compensation to his victim after he was left with minor injuries to his face.
The condition of the man who was knocked unconscious at BOXPARK is unknown at this stage.
Former British boxer Julius Francis (left) squares up to Mike Tyson (right) ahead of their bout
A spokesman for the Met Police told MailOnline: ‘Police are aware of footage circulating on social media showing an incident involving security staff and a member of the public outside Boxpark in Wembley.
‘An investigation into the circumstances, including to establish the identity and welfare of those involved, is under way.
‘There have been no arrests and enquiries are ongoing.
‘Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or tweet @MetCC and quote CAD1194/14June.
‘You can also provide information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.’
A spokesperson for BoxPark added: ‘Our team are aware of footage being shared online.
‘This incident is currently under review and part of an ongoing police investigation, and therefore we are unable to comment further on the incident at this time.
‘We would like to stress that the safety and welfare of our customers and our staff is our number one priority.’
The boxer who honed his talent on the streets of South London: How Julius Francis went from stealing for food and being ‘stabbed eight times’ to heavyweight champ
Mike Tyson looks up to Julius Francis at the weigh in at the Midland hotel, Manchester in January 2000
By ADAM LUCK FOR MAILONLINE
Julius Francis was born in Peckham in 1965 to Caribbean parents.
Along with his three siblings, Francis was reduced to stealing for food from an early age as their mother descended into mental illness while their father worked away from home.
The four were put into care when Francis was 10 and placed with a white foster family that left the ‘skinny black runt’ struggling for a sense of identity and survival amid skinheads and the National Front in Woolwich.
Fending for himself on the streets at 16, Francis dealt drugs, and by his own admission became a full time criminal who used his anger and burgeoning fighting skills to earn a living.
He told MailOnline in 2020: ‘The 80s was a crazy time for me. I was stabbed 8 times, shot at and I used to fight a lot. My sister said to me ‘We saw you turn into this horrible person’It hurts me to think about it.’
But when Francis found himself on remand at Brixton prison for offences that, for once, he did not commit, he made a vow to himself.
‘I was told I was facing 10 years in prison. I said to myself ‘If I am convicted I will be the worst prisoner ever. I will die in prison.’
‘But if I not convicted, I thought ‘I am going to turn my life around.’
When he was acquitted, Francis took up amateur boxing and became the South East and London divisional champion, but he also moonlighted as an unlicensed professional fighter to make ends meet.
‘I was security at a an unlicensed bill in a Maidstone cow shed full of gypsies and fighting men but when the top of the bill was left with no fighter I was offered the chance to take to the apron for £500.’
When someone blew the whistle on his double life, Francis found himself kicked out of the ABA and little alternative but to turn professional in 1993 to support his growing family.
When he acquired the Commonwealth and British Heavyweight titles, and secured a Lonsdale Belt outright, Francis began to craft a career and a reputation.
In late 1999, Francis was offered the chance by his manager Frank Maloney to take on the disgraced former undisputed world champion Mike Tyson and took ‘two seconds’ to say yes.
Francis was paid £350,000. By contrast Tyson was paid £7m. Francis spent his money on a house, now long gone, a car for his girlfriend and for himself a £5000 gold and diamond necklace.
Two months later, Francis fought and lost to a boxer he had already beaten citing ‘mental and physical exhaustion’. It was the beginning of the end.
After a brief foray in MMA fighting, Francis began to mentor troubled children and eventually became a security guard, and father-of-five.