During his amateur career, Nielsen had 104 victories with only 7 losses. He won bronze medals in the super heavyweight division at the 1991 European Championships and the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona where he gained local popularity by goofing around during the bouts.
Brian Nielsen was sent to Svendborg, where Johnny Antonsen had arranged a match against the local hero Carsten Dahl. Nielsen easily beat Dahl, winning the bout by knockout in the second round. Dahl later got the opportunity for revenge, but again Nielsen won by knockout.
He was both Zealand champion and Danish champion for five consecutive years (1988-1992), and also won numerous international tournaments. His career as an amateur ended after the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992 where he won the bronze. In the semifinals he lost to the powerful Cuban Roberto Balado. Ballado won 15 to 1.
In total, Nielsen boxed 111 fights as an amateur and won 104. He only took a count once in amateur career, and only once was he stopped before time - during the 1989 European Championship bout, where he suffered a cut near one of his eyes. His opponent at this match was the Greek boxer George Tsachakis who attended the final.
After his win over 41-year-old ex-World Boxing Association champion James 'Bonecrusher' Smith in October 1994, Nielsen began to attract attention. He went on to hold the minor IBO belt during an unbeaten streak equaling that of legend Rocky Marciano. He later held the minor IBC belt.
On 13 October 2001, Nielsen fought Mike Tyson at the Parken Stadium in Denmark. After six rounds heavily in Tyson's favour, Nielsen quit on his stool citing an eye injury. Nielsen was knocked down once in the third round.
On February 8, 2010, Brian Nielsen told reporters that he was prepared to return to the ring, after 8 years of absence, and that a proposed fight against Evander Holyfield had been met with interest by both sides. Though originally thought unrealistic by former promoter Mogens Palle, due to Nielsen's bad knee, Nielsen's comeback was confirmed by Nielsen's promoter Sauerland Event on June 1, 2010.
Nielsen met Holyfield on May 7, 2011 in a World Boxing Federation (WBF) title bout, in Copenhagen. Holyfield won the fight, knocking Nielsen down in the 3rd with a left hook and stopping him by TKO in the 10th.
This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. (October 2013)
At a press conference prior to the Mike Tyson fight, Nielsen called Tyson an "abekat" which was erroneously translated as "monkey". The Tyson camp took great offense at this supposed racial slur, and Tyson himself declared, "This will make me punish him even more than I had planned." The controversy over the remark calmed down when the expression was clarified to the media by Danish linguists as having no racial connotations and simply meaning "brat" in Danish.
Controversy arose in early 2004, when journeyman heavyweight Thomas Williams stated that he had been bribed to throw his fight against Nielsen in March, 2000. Along with promoter Robert Mitchell, Williams was indicted by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada for match fixing in order to promote the career of white heavyweight hope Richie Melito, and it was during the FBI's investigation of that case that Williams admitted to intentionally losing to Nielsen. The fix was arranged by promoter Robert Mittleman, a frequent associate of Nielsen's promoter Mogens Palle, who later confessed that he had been paid $1,000, while Williams had received "up to $40,000" from Palle in order to lose the fight. Williams, Mitchell and Mittleman were all found guilty of sports bribery by the court in November and December, 2004.
The Nielsen vs. Williams fight was the 57th of Nielsen's career and was one of the fights leading to his meeting with Tyson. Both Nielsen and Mogens Palle denied any knowledge of match fixing in media statements, and the findings of the American case did not lead to criminal proceedings in Denmark, and Nielsen was not accused of any wrongdoing.
|Professional record summary|
|67 fights||64 wins||3 losses|
|Loss||64–3||Evander Holyfield||TKO||10 (12)||2011-05-07||Koncerthuset, Copenhagen, Denmark||WBF Heavyweight title on the line, only for Evander Holyfield; it was Holyfield's last fight|
|Win||64–2||Uriah Grant||UD||8||2002-04-19||Falconer Centret, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Win||63–2||Ken Murphy||UD||8||2001-11-16||Roskilde Hallerne, Roskilde, Denmark|
|Loss||62–2||Mike Tyson||RTD||6 (10)||2001-10-13||Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark||Lost IBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||62–1||Orlin Norris||UD||12||2001-06-16||Brøndby Hallen, Brøndby, Denmark||Retained IBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||61–1||Benji Baker||TKO||6 (8)||2001-04-27||Aalborg Hallen, Aalborg, Denmark||Retained IBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||60–1||Dicky Ryan||UD||8||2000-12-01||Viborg Stadionhal, Viborg, Denmark||Retained IBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||59–1||Andy Sample||TKO||2 (8)||2000-11-03||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark||Retained IBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||58–1||Kevin Cook||KO||1 (8)||2000-10-06||Næstved Hallen, Næstved, Denmark||Retained IBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||57–1||Jeremy Williams||TKO||5 (12)||2000-04-28||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark||Retained IBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||56–1||Thomas Williams||KO||3 (8)||2000-03-31||Esbjerg Stadionhal, Esbjerg, Denmark||Retained IBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||55–1||Jeff Pegues||KO||3 (8)||2000-02-18||Aalborg Hallen, Aalborg, Denmark||Retained IBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||54–1||Troy Weida||KO||8 (12)||2000-01-14||Kolding Hallen, Kolding, Denmark||Won vacant IBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||53–1||Frank Wood||KO||2 (8)||1999-11-26||Viborg, Denmark|
|Win||52–1||Don Normand||KO||1 (8)||1999-10-29||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Win||51–1||Dale Crowe||UD||8||1999-10-01||Randers Hallen, Randers, Denmark|
|Win||50–1||Shane Sutcliffe||KO||5 (8)||1999-09-03||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Loss||49–1||Dicky Ryan||TKO||10 (10)||1999-06-18||Idrættens Hus, Vejle, Denmark|
|Win||49–0||Tim Witherspoon||TKO||4 (10)||1999-04-16||K.B. Hallen, Frederiksberg, Denmark|
|Win||48–0||Paul Phillips||KO||2 (8)||1999-03-19||Falconer Centret, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Win||47–0||Peter McNeeley||KO||3 (8)||1999-02-12||Falconer Centret, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Win||46–0||Dan Murphy||TKO||2 (8)||1998-11-27||Vejlby-Risskov Hallen, Aarhus, Denmark|
|Win||45–0||Lionel Butler||KO||1 (12)||1998-11-06||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark||Retained IBO Heavyweight title|
|Win||44–0||Garing Lane||KO||2 (8)||1998-09-18||Aalborg Hallen, Aalborg, Denmark|
|Win||43–0||Terry Ray||TKO||5 (8)||1998-09-04||Sundbyøster Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Win||42–0||George Linberger||TKO||2 (8)||1998-09-04||Kolding Hallen, Kolding, Denmark|
|Win||41–0||Joey Guy||UD||8||1998-02-27||Storebælthallen, Korsør, Denmark|
|Win||40–0||Donnell Wingfield||KO||1 (8)||1997-12-05||Aalborg Hallen, Aalborg, Denmark|
|Win||39–0||Don Steele||KO||2 (12)||1997-11-14||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark||Retained IBO Heavyweight title|
|Win||38–0||Crawford Grimsley||TKO||6 (8)||1997-10-03||Østre Gasværk, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Win||37–0||Bruce Douglas||KO||1 (8)||1997-09-12||Kolding Hallen, Kolding, Denmark|
|Win||36–0||Marcos Gonzales||TKO||4 (8)||1997-07-12||Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, United States|
|Win||35–0||James Pritchard||KO||3 (8)||1997-06-13||Antvorskovhallen, Slagelse, Denmark|
|Win||34–0||Damon Reed||UD||8||1997-05-02||Randers Hallen, Randers, Denmark|
|Win||33–0||Pedro Daniel Franco||UD||8||1997-03-14||Odense Idrætshal, Odense, Denmark|
|Win||32–0||Larry Holmes||SD||12||1997-01-24||Brøndby Hallen, Brøndby, Denmark||Retained IBO Heavyweight title|
|Win||31–0||Marcus Rhode||TKO||2 (8)||1996-11-30||Nova Arena, Wiener Neustadt, Austria|
|Win||30–0||Andrew Maynard||TKO||6 (8)||1996-10-18||Idrættens Hus, Vejle, Denmark|
|Win||29–0||Jerry Halstead||KO||2 (8)||1996-09-13||Teater & Kongrescenter, Ringsted, Denmark|
|Win||28–0||Mike Hunter||TKO||5 (12)||1996-05-31||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark||Retained IBO Heavyweight title|
|Win||27–0||Salvador Maciel||TKO||3 (8)||1996-04-26||Aalborg Hallen, Aalborg, Denmark|
|Win||26–0||Phil Jackson||TKO||6 (12)||1996-03-29||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark||Retained IBO Heavyweight title|
|Win||25–0||Jeff Lally||TKO||2 (8)||1996-02-16||Lillebæltshallen, Middelfart, Denmark|
|Win||24–0||Tony LaRosa||TKO||2 (12)||1996-01-12||Falconer Centret, Copenhagen, Denmark||Won vacant IBO Heavyweight title|
|Win||23–0||Carlos De Leon||TKO||3 (8)||1995-11-24||Randers Hallen, Randers, Denmark|
|Win||22–0||Tony Tubbs||TKO||4 (10)||1995-10-20||Cirkusbygningen, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Win||21–0||Terry Davis||UD||8||1995-09-08||Aalborg Hallen, Aalborg, Denmark|
|Win||20–0||Jim Huffman||DQ||6 (8)||1995-06-09||Kolding Hallen, Kolding, Denmark|
|Win||19–0||Jason Waller||TKO||2 (8)||1995-02-18||Randers Hallen, Randers, Denmark|
|Win||18–0||Tim Noble||UD||8||1995-03-17||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Win||17–0||Doug Davis||TKO||6 (8)||1995-03-11||MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||16–0||Matt Green||KO||1 (8)||1995-02-18||Bath & West Country Showground, Somerset, United Kingdom|
|Win||15–0||Jeff Lampkin||UD||8||1995-01-13||Aalborg Hallen, Aalborg, Denmark|
|Win||14–0||Terry Anderson||KO||5 (8)||1994-11-11||Randers Hallen, Randers, Denmark|
|Win||13–0||James Smith||TKO||5 (8)||1994-10-07||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Win||12–0||George Stephens||KO||1 (8)||1994-06-12||Kolding Hallen, Kolding, Denmark|
|Win||11–0||Ken Merritt||KO||8 (8)||1994-04-22||Aalborg Hallen, Aalborg, Denmark|
|Win||10–0||Ron Gullette||KO||3 (8)||1994-03-25||Aakirkeby Hallerne, Aakirkeby, Denmark|
|Win||9–0||Ross Puritty||UD||4||1994-03-05||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, United States|
|Win||8–0||Mike Acey||KO||2 (8)||1994-02-18||Randers Hallen, Randers, Denmark|
|Win||7–0||Mike Dixon||UD||8||1993-12-05||Randers Hallen, Randers, Denmark|
|Win||6–0||Jean Chanet||UD||6||1993-10-29||Storebælthallen, Korsør, Denmark|
|Win||5–0||Roger McKenzie||UD||6||1993-09-17||Cirkusbygningen, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Win||4–0||Jean Weiss||UD||6||1993-06-11||Randers Hallen, Randers, Denmark|
|Win||3–0||Carl Gaffney||UD||6||1993-02-12||Randers Hallen, Randers, Denmark|
|Win||2–0||Steve Gee||UD||6||1992-11-27||Randers Hallen, Randers, Denmark|
|Win||1–0||Terry Armstrong||UD||6||1992-09-04||Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark||Professional debut|
|IBO Heavyweight Champion
12 January 1996 – September 1999
Title last held byMichael Grant
|IBC Heavyweight Champion
14 January 2000 – 13 October 2001