Former Champ still fighting for Native youth

Tacoma WA The year was 1999 and the heavyweight boxing world was filled with rising stars, many of whom are well known and revered today. There were five recognized boxing entities at that time in the IBF, WBC, WBA, WBF and the WBO.

Names like Evander Holyfield, Lenox Lewis, Vladmir and Vitali Klitschko and Mike Tyson to single out just a few were making history. But there was another hard hitting heavyweight making his own history whose name most people may not know.

Joe “The Boss” Hipp, a Blackfoot from Browning Montana, won his name in history on July 25th, 1999 by winning the WBF heavyweight title to become the first Native American to win a Heavyweight title when he defeated journeyman boxer Everett “Big Foot” Martin.

The Boss has got a face of experience. (Courtesy Little Creek Casino Resort)

Along the way, he also won the WBF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship in 1991, the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) title in 1994, and the Western US Heavyweight Championship in 1996.

In 1995 he became the first Native American to fight for a world title when he took on Bruce Seldon for the WBA Heavyweight Championship at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The fight was stopped in the tenth round with Hipp’s face a bleeding mess, but he was still inflicting damage on Seldon.

Later, Hipp took on the late Tommy Morrison and lost, but was leading on the score cards when Morrison landed a huge right hand to put Hipp down in the 9th round. Until that punch, Morrison looked like he was losing the round with Hipp the obvious aggressor. That fight, which was broadcast on ABC Wild World of Sports is available on YouTube and stands as one of the most exciting 9 rounds of boxing you will ever see.

Hipp’s carreer ended after an in-ring knee injury with a professional record of 43 wins, 29 by knock-out, and seven losses.

As an amateur, Hipp won 119 fights and lost 9.

Although he left the ring after his knee injury, Hipp didn’t stop fighting, but this time for Native youth though the All Nations Foundation which he founded in 2008, based in Tacoma, Washington. The ANF is a non-profit charitable organization that encourages excellence in sports, academics, health and fitness; preserves Native sports heritage and builds pride and positive lifestyles in the spirit of Native American culture.

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