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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Ricky Parkey

Posted on June 11 2014
By: Clive Baum  
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Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the previous five segments of the series we profiled former WBF Champions Johnny Nelson, Greg Haugen, Samson Dutch Boy Gym, Angel Manfredy and Carl Daniels.

Now we take a look at the up-and-down career of Ricky Parkey, a tough and heavy-handed fighter who fought some of the all-time greats, and won the WBF World Cruiserweight title in 1990, riding high before finishing his career as a virtual journeyman.


From Morristown, Tennessee, a small town with a population of less than 30.000 where legendary pioneer Davy Crockett grew up, Ricky Parkey was born on November 7 1956. After a decent amateur campaign, he turned professional in his hometown in 1981, stopping Phil Clinard in two rounds.

While its no wonder that his local celebrity status is surpassed by the likes of Crockett, his accomplishments in the ring were not even the most remarkable by a Morristown boxer, as three-time world champion Frankie Randall also grew up there, but the Clinard-victory was never the less the beginning of a very admirable career.

Parkey showed tremendous punching-power and deservedly earned the monicker “The Hammer”. But he could also be outboxed and lost his third pro fight to an 0-1 upstart by the name of James Smith, who would go on to be known as “Bonecrusher” and win a portion of the world heavyweight championship.


By the summer of 1984 he had compiled a 13-2 (9) record, including decent victories over Stanley Ross (8-4) and Pat Cuillo (24-7), and found himself facing Bernard Benton (15-1-1) for the USBA title that September.

Benton had a few too many tricks up his sleeve for Parkey, and won a unanimous decision, but in hindsight the loss was nothing to be ashamed of, it could even be considered a measuring stick of his potential, as Benton went on to win the WBC world title a year later.

Parkey rebounded impressively in October at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, giving away more than thirteen kilos (29 Lbs.) but winning a split decision over heavyweight contender Renaldo Snipes (23-4-1), who famously almost knocked out Larry Holmes in a 1981 world title-challenge.

In December of 1984, Parkey returned to the same venue and further added to his resume by knocking out, and essentially retiring, Broderick Mason (18-5) in astonishingly quick fashion: 8 seconds! At the time it was the quickest recorded knockout in boxing history, a record that would stand until 2008.

Four months later he took his time, and let 51 seconds pass before Bobby Craptree (20-4-1) was defeated. In June of 1985 he was matched against the biggest name of his career at that point in Eddie Mustafa Muhammad (46-6-1), but the former world Light Heavyweight Champion still had too much for Parkey to handle and won a competitive decision.

Showing his true colors, Parkey didn’t let the losses at world class level to Muhammad and Benton discourage him, and in his next two bouts he convincingly defeated Michael A rms (9-1) for a regional title, and fellow contender Carlos Hernandez (17-1-1).

At this point Parkey was being guided by legendary all-round fight-man Don Elbaum, who secured his boxer a shot at the IBF World title held by undefeated Chicagoan Lee Roy Murphy (24-0). In October 1986, in Italy of all places, Parkey seized the opportunity, and build a big lead on the scorecards before knocking Murphy out in round ten.

Five years and one day after turning pro, Parkey was now a world champion and a bit of a name in Italy. He was invited back to defend five months later against Germany-based Zambian Chisanda Mutti (24-6-2), who had lost by twelfth round stoppage in a previous challenge against Murphy.

Parkey emulated Murphy´s accomplishment and stopped Mutti in round twelve, but it had been a close fight until then with one judge scoring it even, one having Parkey ahead by just one point and the third voting in favor of the champion by three points.

With three more rounds to go of the scheduled fifteen rounder, it was a bit too close for comfort for Parkey, who already had a unification bout with WBA counterpart Evander Holyfield (14-0) lined up for six weeks later in Las Vegas.

The signs were there that if Mutti could trouble Parkey, the stand-out Holyfield would likely be too much for him, and on May 15 1987 at Ceasars Palace, televised live by ABC, the 1984 Olympic Bronze medalist, and future undisputed and WBF World Heavyweight Champion, stopped Parkey in three rounds.

After losing to Holyfield, Parkey decided to cash in on his status as a former world champion and took fights against undefeated Heavyweights Johnny Du Plooy (16-0) and Gary Mason (24-0) in South Africa and United Kingdom. He lost both fights clearly, giving away 22,3 kilos (49 Lbs.!!!) to Mason, and wisely opted to fight Cruiserweights again.

His road back to contention came on August 12 1988 in the form of a clash with another former world champion in Alfonzo Ratliff (24-7), who had taken the WBC title from Carlos De Leon in 1985 and lost it only three months later to Bernard Benton.

Things didn’t pan out for Parkey, who was stopped in seven rounds by Ratliff. A long spell of inactivity followed, with plenty of time to ponder his future, and eventually he came to the conclusion that he wanted to give himself and his career another chance.

In November of 1990 Parkey returned to the ring against 4-15 journeyman Charles Dixon in Chattanooga, Tennessee, far away from the bright lights of Las Vegas and nationwide TV exposure. He looked decent enough in knocking out Dixon in five rounds, but not good enough to make him anything but a “name” for his next opponent.

Just three weeks after his comeback victory, Parkey was matched with former two-time world title-challenger Eddie Taylor (32-9-1), AKA Young Joe Louis, at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At stake would be the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Cruiserweight title.

From Chicago, Taylor had fought, and won his last three bouts in Minneapolis, including a victory over former WBC titlist Marvin Camel, and promoter Chuck Daszkiewicz figured a victory over Parkey would further boost his fighters credentials, and finally make him a world champion after losses to Ossie Ocasio (WBA, 1982) and Lee Roy Murphy (IBF, 1984).

But “The Hammer” had not read the script, and had one last great performance in him! A stunned crowd watched as Parkey became a two-time world champion by stopping Taylor in six rounds, and improved his professional boxing record to 22-8 (16).

Eleven months later Parkey took on yet another former world champion, when he squared off with “The Camden Buzzsaw”, Dwight Muhammad Qawi (36-8-1), at the Grand Hyatt in Washington. Parkey was forced to withdraw after the eight round due to a broken nose, and his downward spiral had started.

The Eddie Taylor fight, and winning the WBF world title, would literally be his last great performance, and his last victory. Five months after the Quawi fight, on April 4 1992, he was knocked out by reigning WBC world champion Anaclet Wamba (34-2) in a non title-bout in France, effectively ending his campaign as a world class boxer.

In a day and age where record-keeping and communication between boxing commissions was at a lower level than it is today, Parkey was incredibly back in the ring just six days after the knockout loss in France, and was stopped in ten rounds by undefeated Russian Heavyweight Alexander Zolkin (9-0) in Columbus, Ohio.

Over the next two years he fought nine more times, mostly at heavyweight, and lost every time, extending his losing streak to twelve straight. His last fight was in May 1994, getting stopped in four by French Heavyweight Champion Christophe Bizot (9-1).

Ricky Parkey retired at 37 years of age, and with a mediocre record of 22-20 (16), but few can boast of achieving what he did in the ring, winning two world championships and fighting a slew of contenders, former and future world champions, including legends such as Holyfield, Mustafa Muhammad and Quawi.

  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
  Part 3: Samson Dutch Boy Gym
  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson
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