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Boxing great George Foreman has been accused in twin civil suits of raping two women in the 1970s, when the alleged victims were underage.
The women, now in their 60s and identified in court papers as Denise F. and Gwen H., sued the 73-year-old pugilist-turned-pitchman separately Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Both say they met Foreman when they were young children because their fathers knew the fighter.
Foreman denied the claims.
“Over the past six months, two women have been trying to extort millions of dollars each from me and my family,” he said in a statement. “I don’t pick fights, but I don’t run away from them either.”
Two women who said former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman sexually abused them in the 1970s have filed lawsuits in a Los Angeles court.
Foreman has denied the allegations.
Content warning: This story includes details of sexual assault. https://t.co/nrBxvgnK1a
— ESPN (@espn) August 26, 2022
Foreman is not named in the court papers either but is identified as a professional boxer who defeated Joe Frazier in 1973 to become the heavyweight champion of the world before losing the title to Muhammad Ali the following year. That description conclusively refers to Foreman.
Denise, of Los Angeles, claims Foreman groomed her when she was just eight and had sex with her when she was 15 in a San Francisco hotel. Gwen, a Nevada resident, says she met Foreman when she was nine, and that he raped her in a Beverly Hills apartment when she was 15. She claims Foreman told her he would fire her father, who was part of his entourage, if she didn’t submit to his advances.
A 2020 California law extended the statute of limitations that previously had barred most victims of childhood sexual abuse from suing. Both women are seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.
Foreman, a native Texan, posted a 76-5 record over a professional career that spanned nearly 30 years. A 1968 Olympic gold medalist, he turned pro a year later and won the world heavyweight title in 1973 with a second-round knockout of Frazier. But three years after Ali took the title from him, Foreman retired following a loss to Jimmy Young and became a preacher.
Foreman announced an improbable comeback at age 45 in 1994 and won the heavyweight belt for the second time with a defeat of Michael Moorer to become the oldest heavyweight champ of all time.
While Foreman was seen as a brooding behemoth in his earlier career, he was beloved after his comeback. His newfound charm led to a host of lucrative endorsements, most notably the eponymous countertop cooker. Some estimates say he has made more than $200 million hawking the George Foreman grill.
Foreman has 12 children, including five boys who are all named George.