Richard Steele has been in boxing for 40 years, first as a fighter and then arguably, boxing’s most famous and finest referee.
He grew up in Los Angeles, California, and began his boxing career while he was in the United States Marine Corps. In 1963 and 1964 he was “All Marine Corps Champion” and competed in the 1964 Olympic Trials. One of his teammates on the Marine Corps team was Ken Norton, who went on to become World Heavy Weight Champion. Richard Steele had an amateur record of 21-4 and a professional record of 16-4-12KO’s.
Richard Steele began refereeing fights in the 1970’s, and he went on to referee in 167 world title fights around the globe, more than any current or past referee. In 1983, he refereed his first major fight, when Aaron Pryor knocked out Alexis Arguello in ten rounds in their rematch. Richard Steele also refereed the epic battles of Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns, Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Meldrick Taylor I, and the fight where Sugar Ray Leonard made his comeback after a three year lay-off in 1987 to beat Hagler. In addition, Richard Steele refereed five title bouts with former World Heavy Weight Champion, Mike Tyson. After retiring from his illustrious career, Richard Steele was inducted in the World Boxing Hall of Fame in the fall of 2000.
After retiring from his memorable career as a referee and with experience unparalleled in the industry, Richard Steele made a natural transition and burst onto the scene as a promoter and matchmaker and in the process formed Richard Steele Promotions, Inc. In addition to working with established fighters, Richard Steele Promotions, Inc., is developing a stable of young, exciting fighters, ones with the potential to grow into the champions of the future. Richard Steele has been promoting shows in California, New Mexico and Tijuana, Mexico and in 2003, he began promoting shows in Las Vegas, Nevada where he became a boxing legend.
Outside the ring, Richard Steele has also made a name for himself as a community conscious person, when he opened up the Richard Steele Gym in North Las Vegas and served as manager of sports and fitness programs. This modern establishment had 7,000 sq ft and provided fitness, boxing and computer skills to troubled youth in the Las Vegas area. The facility also had a job placement center, placing youths in productive, meaningful jobs. Due to the success of this program, Richard Steele has since moved his gym and amateur club to a larger and spacious 32,000 sq ft complex also in Las Vegas, named Richard Steele Boxing Club. Richard Steele also helps out with Salvation Army charities and is on the Board of Directors of the United States Amateur Boxing Association – Nevada Chapter. Richard Steele’s own boxing team has traveled the world competing in amateur boxing exhibitions.
Richard Steele has received numerous awards and recognition throughout the years, but he is particularly proud of being honored in 1999 by South Africa’s Prime Minister Nelson Mandela for his refusal to referee boxing matches there while the country was governed by the rules of apartheid.
Richard Steele and his wife, Gladys, live in Henderson, Nevada and have four children.