In the majority of polls find Muhammed Ali listed as the greatest boxer of all time. Indeed, he wasn’t just loved by sporting experts and loyal boxing fans all over the world, but the camera adored him too; a fact most clearly illustrated by his inclusion in “the ten most photographed people of all time” exhibit.
Mike Tyson gets his fair share of praise, and Floyd Mayweather’s recent win against Conor McGregor at the ripe old age of 40 took his professional career statistics to 50-0. But the world isn’t completely dominated by the talents of British and American boxers. Other regions have their fair share of boxing champs and boxing triumphs to shout about, particularly Africa. Here’s a breakdown of Africa’s top ten boxers of all time.
Most of the top boxing names out of Africa come from South Africa. The first in line is Welcome Ncita, who was nicknamed “The Hawk” and became the International Boxing Federation Super Bantamweight Champion in 1990. A defender of the title six times over, he only ever lost three fights out of a total of 44 and won 21 of his matches through KO.
Corrie Sanders tops The Hawk’s figures by reaching a total of 31 KO’s throughout his 46-fight career. Sanders became the WBO heavyweight champion in 2003 and made the news when he was tragically shot in the stomach during a robbery in 2012.
With 65 fights to his name, Frans Botha is the South African boxer who’s spent the most amount of time in the ring on today’s list. He was nicknamed “The White Buffalo” and faced a number of heavyweight champions, including Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. In a controversial ruling, he was stripped of his IBF World Heavyweight Title when he was tested positive for steroids.
The last two boxers worth mentioning from South Africa are Vic Towel and Brian Mitchell. Towel goes down in history as being the first South African to hold a world boxing championship title in 1950. Strangely enough, he saw more success in his amateur boxing career with only two losses in almost 300 fights. Mitchell is considered by many boxing experts the best boxer to have ever emerged from South Africa, defending his WBA Junior Lightweight Title 12 times, which is in itself a record.
Cornelious Edwards, born in Uganda, got into the ring 53 times. He won 45 fights, 34 of which were KOs. John Mugabi was nicknamed “The Beast” and won a silver medal for his boxing skills in the 1980 Summer Olympics that were held in Moscow. His win by KO against Oemer Karadens in 1980 marked the beginning of his professional boxing career.
Ghana gave us Ike Quartey, who boxed a total of 42 fights during his professional career. He won 37 (31 of those by KO) and lost a mere four. He’s remembered for some of his greatest fights against world champion boxers, including Vernon Forrest and Fernando Vargas. Azumah Nelson’s professional boxing career is also pretty impressive. He’s a three-time world champion in not one, but two weight classes and will forever be remembered for taking the gold medal in the Featherweight category during the 1978 Commonwealth Games.
Finally, we turn our attention to the talents of Nigeria. An incredible champion, who stepped into the ring no less than 82 times, winning 60 of those encounters, is Nigeria’s favorite: Dick Tiger. He fought as a professional middleweight boxer and later worked as a guard, of all things, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
If there’s anything that can be said about Africa’s greatest boxers, it’s that they all seem to enjoy winning by KO. While we may have already witnessed a great deal of sporting talent come out of Africa over the past 50 years or so, we probably haven’t seen the last of it. Who knows? Perhaps the next international champion will be yet another star from the continent’s southernmost country…