In sad news, it has been reported by RingTV.com that Buster Drayton has passed away at age 70. No details have been announced regarding the cause of death. The warrior from the great fighting city of Philadelphia was born in March of 1952 and as a young man he joined the Marine Corp. As a boxer, Drayton won the IBF title at 154 pounds, this in June of 1986, with Buster making two retentions of the belt.
An incredibly gutsy fighter who was matched tough from the start, Drayton would fight anyone, any time, any place. Going pro in November of 1978, this with a draw with Charles Carey in Virginia Beach, Buster got to 7-0-1 before he began losing more often than he would have liked. Drayton was stopped by Kevin Perry and he was decisioned by both Mark Holmes and Mario Maldonado.
Drayton continued to work hard, often fighting in Atlantic City, New Jersey. 1982 saw Drayton pick up a good win over Duane Thomas, but he was beaten by Lindell holmes, and, in a fight that took place in Italy, by Sumbu Kalambay. By the end of 1983, Buster had eight losses on his record. Still, Drayton refused to give up on his goal of becoming a world champion.
1984 proved to be a good year for Drayton, who was now aged 32. A trip to London saw Buster stop Mark Kaylor and he won six fights in total that year. Aside from an April 1985 points loss to James Kinchen, Drayton retained his winning ways. Then, finally, in June of ’86, Drayton became champion, picking up a 15 round decision over Carlos Santos to win the IBF light-middleweight strap. Retentions over Davey Moore and Said Skouma followed, before Buster was dethroned by Matthew Hilton in June of 1987.
Drayton was not ready to call it quits. Buster took an astonishing amount of punishment in a July 1988 challenge of WBA 154 pound champ Julian Jackson, who stopped Drayton in three savage rounds. Drayton then extended Terry Norris in an NABF title challenge, losing on points. Drayton fought on, winning some, losing others, before he retired in June of 1995, when sporting a hard-earned 40-15-1(28) ledger. He was stopped just three times.
Drayton, who came up the hard way, being one of the great Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s chief sparring partners in Philly, earned every good thing that came his way. Our condolences go out to Buster’s family and friends at this sad time.