WEMBLEY, England - Lennox Lewis called Oliver McCall just a sparring partner.
Now he can call him champion.
McCall pulled a stunning upset early this morning when he knocked down Lewis with a crunching right hand counter to the jaw and stopped the British boxer 31 seconds into the second round to win the WBC heavyweight title.
The punch dropped Lewis. The champion struggled up, but referee Lupe Garcia of Mexico made a standing 8-count then wrapped his hands around Lewis and stopped the fight.
"I was totally robbed," Lewis said. "I was cleared to fight on."
He did, however, appear to be badly hurt. "It was a counter right hand dead on the nose," a jubilant McCall said.
The previously unbeaten Lewis, the only British boxer to hold a piece of the heavyweight title this century, threw a couple of punches and started a hook when McCall, a 5 1/2-1 underdog, came over the top with a right hook that dropped him.
"It was a lucky shot," a dejected Lewis said. "I can't believe it. The referee asked me if I was OK - and it was over. I thought it was an awfully fast count."
The stunning victory knocked Lewis out of a megabuck defense against Riddick Bowe, the former undisputed champion, that was being talked about for March.
It also put promoter Don King back into the heavyweight picture. King is McCall's personal promoter, and now former champion Mike Tyson might get a shot at the title when Tyson gets out of prison sometime next year.
"I am absolutely sure of what I did," referee Garcia said. "Lennox Lewis was knocked out. To allow more punches to Lennox Lewis would have fatal consequences."
McCall, who was supposed to make $1 million, improved to 25-5 with 18 knockouts. Lewis, whose purse was $3.5 million, now has a 25-1 record with 21 knockouts.