Help make a doc about a West Philly legend

Posted on 21 October 2013


Tyrell Biggs (in the white t-shirt) still schools young Philly boxers in the finer points of the sweet science at a gym in the basement of the Shepard Recreation Center near 57th and Haverford.


Tyrell Biggs was one of those dudes who may have hit his prime too early.

He was a starting forward on that legendary West Philadelphia High School basketball team that won a state record 68 straight games on its way to Public League and City titles in 1976-1978.

A few years later, as an amateur boxer, he won gold at the U.S. National Boxing Championships. In 1982 he won the amateur World Championships in Munich. Two years later his path to professional boxing was clear after he won gold in the super heavyweight division at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, beating future champ Lennox Lewis on his way to the title. He won his first 15 pro fights and got a shot at the title in 1987 but lost in a seventh-round TKO to Mike Tyson.

All by age 27.

For Tyrell Biggs boxing was a way up in life, as it still is for many kids in the city. But like many young people who get a lot of money at a young age, Biggs battled drug and alcohol addiction during much of his adult life. He is the subject of a feature documentary that you can help make happen called Whatever Happened to Tyrell Biggs? (see video below).

Here’s the plot outline for the documentary, which is being produced by Lunchbox Communications (the crew that made Digital Dharma):

“In 1984, US Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Tyrell Biggs is hailed as the second coming of Muhammad Ali. What should have been the dream launch of an international boxing legend in reality, marked the beginning of a long period of misfortunes, both in and out of the ring. This feature biopic explores one man’s fall from grace into the depths of despair that pushes him to vanish. Living in that territory in between fame and failure, Biggs confronts a struggle that lives within us all.” A good chunk of the production of this film is already complete, but the production team needs some help getting this important story about someone born and raised in West Philly.


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