Buster Mathis Jr., was born March 25, 1970 in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. His father, Buster Mathis, was a successful heavyweight boxer during the 1960s leaving his son a great legacy, as he was invited to the Olympics and was a contender with the great Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
In his youth, Mathis Jr. was a heavy man and took up
boxing because he was bullied as a child. At the age of 14 he began rigorous training under his father’s close supervision. Mathis Jr. turned pro in 1991 and quickly put together 12 wins. Mathis Jr. was small for a heavyweight at around 220 lbs., but skilled enough to beat respected fighters like Levi Billups, Justin Fortune and Mike Dixon very early in his career.
In 1994 Mathis contested the USBA belt, winning an impressive 12 round decision over ex-Olympic champion Tyrell Biggs (27-7). In August of that year Mathis was brought in as the comeback opponent for former undisputed champion Riddick Bowe.
In 1995 Mathis retained his USBA belt with a point win over contender Alex Garcia, thus setting up a fight with Mike Tyson. Mathis Sr. did not see his son’s fight with Tyson; his final battle was health problems of diabetes and kidney issues. Mathis Sr. died a few weeks before the Tyson fight. In the third round, Tyson knocked Mathis out with a right uppercut. Many believed that if Mathis Sr. had been alive that Buster could have won the fight.
In November 1996 Mathis lost his USBA belt to undefeated Lou Savarese.
Mathis retired at the age of 26 with a 21-2 (7 KO’s) record, and 3 no contests. He currently resided in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Buster Mathis Foundation was founded by Buster Mathis Jr. in honor of his father.