Henry Wharton was described by ‘The Ring’ as a ‘perennial contender’ in a golden era of super middleweight boxing, dominated by the likes of Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Steve Collins, in the Nineties. Born in Leeds in 1967, Wharton was, at various points in his career, British, European and Commonwealth super middleweight champion. Between 1989 and 1998, he fought 31 professional bouts and retired with a record of 27-3-1, including 20 wins by knockout. All three defeats, all on points, came in world title fights, twice for the World Boxing Council (WBC) super middleweight title and once for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight title.
Wharton first attempted to win the WBC title against Nigel Benn at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London in February, 1994. The ‘Dark Destroyer’ dominated the contest and, although ending up on the canvas at the end of the fifth round, was pushed down by a blow to the back of his head, rather than knocked down; he went on to win by unanimous decision.
The following December, after two further wins, by knockout, Wharton tried again, against undefeated WBO super middleweight champion Chris ‘Simply The Best’ Eubank at the G-Mex Centre in Manchester. Wharton made Eubank work hard in what was his fifteenth title defence but, resdiscovering his best form, the champion comfortably outpointed the Yorkshire man, winning by unanimous decision.
Wharton confirmed his ‘nearly man’ status on his third and final attempt at winning a world title, against WBC super middleweight champion Robin Reid at Nynex Arena, Manchester in May, 1997.
Once again, Wharton went the full, 12-round distance, but fought the last four rounds with a suspected broken nose. Mexican judge Ray Solis controversially scored the fight 114-114, but the other judges scored it 118-111, 117-113 in favour of Reid, handing him a deserved majority decision.