By Patricia Page (Wife of Greg Page)
How will Greg Page be remembered? Raw natural Heavyweight Champ OR one of those boxers who didn’t know when to quit??
Greg Page burst on the scene in Louisville, KY at the ripe old age of 12. He was following in the footsteps of an older brother, Dennis. The Page family spawned several boxers, William, Asia, Albert (father to Dennis and Greg). He rose up fast in the amateur ranks, (fighting 110 amateur fights) state fairs, Silver Gloves, Golden Gloves and was even named Outstanding Boxer of the Year . He was often compared to Muhammad Ali. They expected mighty things from this youngster. Then the decision was made for him to turn pro. The US boycotted the Olympics so the decision turned out to be one of some merit.
He signed with Butch Lewis and started up through the heavyweight ranks. Then his father, and manager of his career became ill and in the midst of this, a decision that Greg would fight for Don King, the contract was signed and the road to controversy was begun. After a long litigated battle Between Page, Butch Lewis and Don King, Page’s career continued. Some say that Page was the only loser in that battle.
Page went on to become the USBA heavyweight champion on February 11th, 1980. He held that title until August 31st, 1984 when he lost it to David Bey. In December 1984, Page went to South Africa and defeated Gerrie Coetzee to become the WBA heavyweight champion. He lost that title a few months later to Tony Tubbs. Greg would finish with a professional career of 58 (48 KOs)-17-1.
His career would go on to have its ups and downs. He continued to fight and even trained fighters including 4 time title holder Marischa Sjauw (who now lives in Germany) and Oliver McCall.
On March 9th, 2001, in a bid to again hold the heavyweight title, Greg fought a young up-and-comer, Dale Crowe in a Ky Athletic Commission sanctioned fight, in Erlanger, Ky. However, a fight that Greg predicted would be over in a few rounds, went the distance with Greg being knocked down and out in the last seconds. Greg never recovered from this. He suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and slipped into a coma. There was no ambulance ringside, no oxygen, the “Ringside Physician” was not licensed to practice in the state, and was on probation in Ohio where he was licensed to practice. The MD had no medical malpractice insurance. The promoter did not have insurance. He eventually was taken to the hospital where continued the fight to simply live. To date, he struggles each day to maintain some quality of life. He is paralyzed on his left side and has severe cognitive and memory deficits.
On July 7th, after much lobbying and the establishment of a new authority, the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority (replacing the Kentucky Athletic Commission*in charge the night that Greg was critically injured) new regulations finally go on the books in the State of Ky. These regulations will among other things, make an ambulance, EMT’s and resuscitation equipment mandatory at all state sanctioned boxing matches. Additionally, these new regulations will require HIV and Hepatitis testing, as well as the establishment of a medial review board to advise the KWBA on medical matters. These new regulations will bring the State of Ky more in line with federal regulations. While these regulations will not help the state of affairs for Greg Page, it may prevent another boxer from suffering the same fate in then future. The legacy of Greg Page MAY NOT be for his efforts in the boxing ring but in the challenge to improve boxer safety throughout. However, if these efforts make a difference for even one person, well we are okay with that!!
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