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The Lewis vs. Vitali Oil Painting

By John Murawski, Artist in Residence

For about the last two years, I’ve been keeping myself busy painting professional boxers for fight fans all over the world. In an attempt to further promote my artwork, I decided to take a trip this past June, 2009 to The International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York. The weekend that we went was for the Inductions of the new Hall of Fame members. They have a huge Boxing Memorabilia Show in the High School at Canastota and I thought it would be good exposure to put on display a group of my boxing paintings for all the fans in attendance.

The only problem was, the show was drawing near and I only had a few paintings from my collection to exhibit. I had to come up with some new paintings and quickly. When I discovered that Lennox Lewis was to be inducted, there was no question in my mind that he definitely was going to be my next subject.

When trying to decide on a composition to paint, many times the options are numerous, but there is always that special image that stands out from all the rest. After seeing this image of Lennox in his epic battle with Vitali Klitschko, my search was complete and it was time to begin the painting process all over again.

It was about a four-hour ride from our home in New Jersey to the IBHOF. After arriving, I asked someone what special events are scheduled and he told us that in one hour, at 3pm, Lennox Lewis would make an appearance to have a cast made of his fist. I thought it would be really special to meet Lennox and how great it would be to have him sign my painting.

By talking with a lot of people there, I found out the inductees were staying at a hotel right across the street from the Hall. It was getting close to 3pm, so I got the painting out of my car and stood near the entrance to the hotel, along with a large group of excited boxing fans. Security tried to keep me back, but I kept moving closer. When Lennox appeared, I held the painting over my head and I could hear him say, “Oh, that’s a nice one!” As he got within reach, I showed him a Sharpie pen and he was gracious enough to sign the painting for me…on the back, of course.

All in all, it was a great time and we look forward to going back the summer of 2010 during Induction weekend. I’ll never forget sitting in world famous Graziano’s Restaurant yucking it up with Bert Sugar as we watched boxing stars from past and present milling their way through the establishment.

You can see more of John Murawski’s work at

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