Boxing is a sport with a long and storied history, and the heavyweight division is perhaps the most famous and prestigious weight class in the sport. Heavyweight champions are some of the most recognizable athletes in the world, and their fights are often the most eagerly anticipated events in boxing.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most famous heavyweight boxing champions of all time. We’ll start with perhaps the most iconic figure in boxing history, Muhammad Ali, and then move on to some of the other greats who have held the heavyweight title over the years. So without further ado, let’s get started!
Who is the Heavyweight Champion of the World Boxing
The heavyweight champion of the world boxing is the athlete who wins the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO title fights. The current heavyweight champion is Tyson Fury, who is also the lineal champion.
Joe Frazier (January 12, 1944 – November 7, 2011), nicknamed “Smokin’ Joe”, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1965 to 1981. He was world heavyweight champion and clinched an Olympic gold medal in 1964.
Frazier’s career peaked when he defeated Muhammad Ali by unanimous decision in the “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden in 1971. Two years later, Frazier lost his title when he was defeated by George Foreman in their highly anticipated rematch called the “Sunshine Showdown”. Frazier recovered to win his final world heavyweight championship in 1974, and defended it twice before losing it for good against Ali in their rubber match in the “Thrilla in Manila” 14 months later. He retired from boxing following a final defeat against up-and-coming heavyweight boxer Renaldo Snipes during a ten-round bout on November 7, 1981. By winning the fight against Ali (which some boxing analysts consider as one of the greatest fights of all time), Frazier became the only person to defeat both Ali and Foreman while being champion himself.
Frazier was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. His legacy as an amateur boxer more than three decades earlier remains important because he did much to establish boxing’s popularity among black people; author Joyce Carol Oates wrote that part of Frazier’s importance as a black athlete lies with his achievement as “a working-class everyman” during times when that image was under particular pressure from within and without America’s black community.
Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) was an American boxer who is widely considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time. He held the world heavyweight championship title three times and was the first fighter to be named The Ring magazine’s Fighter of the Year on multiple occasions. He is also notable for his political activism, championing racial and religious equality.
George Edward Foreman (born January 10, 1949) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1969 to 1977, and again from 1987 to 1997. Nicknamed “Big George”, he is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. Outside the sport of boxing, he is also known for his endeavors in entrepreneurship and television.
Larry Holmes (born November 3, 1949) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1973 to 2002. He grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania, which gave birth to his nickname of the “Easton Assassin”.
Holmes was the WBC heavyweight champion from 1978 to 1983, The Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight champion from 1980 to 1985, and the inaugural IBF heavyweight champion in 1983. He made 20 successful title defenses of his WBC crown, which still stands as a division record. Holmes is ranked by The Ring Magazine as the seventh greatest heavyweight boxer of all time; ESPN ranked him the eighth greatest and Boxing Illustrated ranked him ninth. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008.
Mike Tyson (born June 30, 1966) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2005. He reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title at
20 years, 4 months and 22 days old. Tyson won his first 19 professional fights by knockout or TKO; 12 of them occurred in the first round. He won the WBC title in 1986 after stopping Trevor Berbick in two rounds, and added the WBA and IBF titles after defeating James Smith and Tony Tucker in 1987. This made Tyson the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles, and the only heavyweight to successively unify them.
There can be no doubt that the most famous heavyweight boxing champions in history are Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano and Floyd Patterson. All three of these men were considered the best in their respective eras and were loved by millions of fans around the world. Each one of them had their own unique style and persona that made them stand out from the rest.