Boxing legend George Foreman is fighting back against claims he sexually abused two California women in the 1970s while they were teenagers.
The women filed separate lawsuits Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to The New York Times. Both are now in their 60s.
The claims said the women met Foreman through their fathers, one of whom was described as a former sparring partner and the other as a manager.
Foreman, 73, strongly denied the allegations.
“Over the past six months, two women have been trying to extort millions of dollars each from me and my family. They are falsely claiming that I sexually abused them over 45 years ago in the 1970s. I adamantly and categorically deny these allegations,” he said in a statement Wednesday, according to CNN.
“The pride I take in my reputation means as much to me as my sports accomplishments, and I will not be intimidated by baseless threats and lies. I am, and always will be, guided by my faith and trust in God,” Foreman said.
“I will work with my lawyers to fully and truthfully expose my accusers’ scheme and defend myself in court. I don’t pick fights, but I don’t run away from them either,” he said.
One plaintiff — identified as Denise of Los Angeles — claimed Foreman began grooming her when she was 8 years old.
She said Foreman had sex with her when she was 15, including one instance in a San Francisco hotel room, according to ESPN.
Denise further claimed she told a person named in the lawsuit as Ron about the alleged abuse and Ron told her another person had been abused as well, according to ABC News.
She said Foreman was confronted about the alleged abuse and did not deny it.
The second lawsuit was filed by a woman identified as Gwen who now lives in Nevada.
She claimed she met Foreman when she was 9 years old and he raped her at the age of 15 and again at the age of 16, once at a Beverly Hills apartment.
Gwen said the boxer threatened her father’s job.
The two claims were filed under a California law that gave victims of child sex abuse a two-year window that ends in December to file civil lawsuits for past abuse.
Foreman’s career was a roller-coaster in which he won an Olympic gold medal in 1968, defeated Joe Frazier to win the heavyweight crown in 1973 and was defeated the next year by Muhammad Ali.
To many, Foreman is best known as a pitchman for his grills and other products.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.