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Sunday Punch: Michael Nunn stuns Sumbu Kalambay in KO of the Year

The hallmark moment of Michael Nunn’s boxing career.

Former world boxing champion Michael Nunn beat Pat Miletich in a kickboxing match on Saturday. That’s a hell of a sentence to type yet so typical of combat sports and befitting of 2020.

In happier times, Nunn was the undefeated IBF middleweight champion when he took on Sumbu Kalambay in March of 1989. Kalambay was a masterful boxer who notably defeated Mike McCallum, Herol Graham, and Iran Barkley as the WBA middleweight champion. This was not a unification bout due to Kalambay not taking on their mandatory challenger, so Sumbu was stripped, but this was clearly a battle of two of the best 160 lbs boxers in the world.

Nunn wasn’t a powerless puncher and indeed he was coming off a KO of Juan Roland in his last bout, but he was not known as a big puncher. Kalambay was slick and hard to hit cleanly, let alone hurt.

All the more reason that this was one of boxing’s more shocking outcomes in a high-profile title bout. Nunn flattened Kalambay with a huge left hand and Sumbu would not beat the count. It was all over in 90 seconds and there isn’t an honest soul in the world who could’ve foreseen that result.

Watch the video at the top of the page.

This was Kalambay’s only KO loss of his career. He retired with a record of 57-6-1 (33 KOs) and he’s certainly one of the more underrated names of his era. Nunn (58-4, 37 KOs) eventually lost his belt to James Toney in 1991. He did win the WBA super middleweight title and defended that a few times before losing to Steve Little in 1994. Nunn retired in 2002 and unfortunately spent well over a decade in prison on drug trafficking charges. He was released from federal prison in 2019, and now he can say he’s beaten Pat Miletich in a kickboxing match.