Europe’s Greatest Ever Boxers by Country

By Cain Bradley on May 23, 2017
Europe’s Greatest Ever Boxers by Country
The lanky Cornishman became the first three-weight champion in the history of boxing.

Europe may not have the historical precedence that Latin America or the United States have but still many great champions have been produced…

Europe may not have the historical precedence for great boxers that Latin America or the United States have but still many great champions have been produced. In this we will look at the best boxer produced by each country and a current boxer who could challenge for that award.

Albania: Kreshnik Qato 30(5)-9

British fans are very familiar with Qato who boxed mainly in England. The Eagle lost six of his first eleven bouts but bounced back to win the WBA Inter-Continental title. He won the WBF title and finishing off with the English title.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Nuri Seferi could argue he deserves it right now having been in the ring with Herbie Hide, Marco Huck, Firat Arslan and Krzysztof Glowacki. He held the WBO European belt and there was nothing to choose between him and Qato.

Austria: Charley Weinert 41(27)-10-1

The Austrian born in 1895 had a career which involved fighting many of the top heavyweights from his time. His biggest fight came when opposing Harry Greb, a fight which saw him front cover on the Ring magazine. He also had losses to Jack Dillon, Battling Levinsky, Billy Miske and Gene Tunney.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Leo Levani looks the active boxer most likely to achieve success but it would probably be a stretch for him to get past European level. Instead the best prediction is nobody active will crack this list.

Belarus: Siarhei Liakhovich 26(16)-7

Not a very strong field for a relatively new nation, Liakhovich is the obvious candidate. Despite being from a poor era for heavyweights he has some impressive wins including winning a world title by beating Lamon Brewster. He has shared the ring with Briggs, Helenius, Valuev, Jennings and Wilder, all losses but an impressive resume.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Belarus has three boxers who could challenge Liakhovich in my mind. Kiryl Relikh has a chance of a big win against Rances Barthélemy. Dzmitry Asanau is an amateur, who won bronze in the 2015 World Championships. He is only young and has time to grow but the pick has to be Ivan Baranchyk. He is 15-0 and has beaten unbeatable ten fighters in four of his last six bouts. His technical ability and patience is easy to see and he could definitely contend for world titles.

Belgium: Jean-Marc Renard 40(24)-4-1

It is a tough choice for a country that had no world champions. Renard edged out Jean Sneyers. Early losses came against future legend Barry McGuigan and Steve Sims. His first attempt at the European title came against Pat Coldwell which he lost by close decision. He beat Marco Gallo to win the belt and then when he stepped up in weight, after a few successful defenses, he beat Farid Benredjeb for the title. He stepped up to fight dangerous world champion Antonio Esparragoza, in what turned out to be his final fight, as he was stopped.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Given the low ceiling needed to top this list Ryad Merhy has a strong chance. The chiselled cruiserweight is a power puncher with 19 stoppages in 22 bouts. He is the WBA Inter-Continental champion and will be positioning himself for a shot at the real belt.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Alexander Petkovic 50(27)-4-4

Petkovic suffered many early draws in his career but was still unbeaten when he became WBC International Champion and got a chance to take on Johnny Nelson. He lost a majority decision to the world champion before losing three of his next seven including one to Firat Arslan. He also won the WBA International title before retiring.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Damir Beljo came very close to topping the list already. He has 23 wins with 19 stoppages and is the current WBO European champion.

Bulgaria: Kubrat Pulev 25(13)-1

Pulev is a currently active boxer but his résumé is unmatched in what is a relatively small field. His only loss came by stoppage to dominant champion, Wladimir Klitschko. He has dominated the European ranks with wins over Dereck Chisora, Alexander Dimitrenko and Tony Thompson. He has put himself in position for another world title challenge although may top out as a contender.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Daniel Asenov turns 20 in May of this year. The young boxer is an impressive amateur with an aggressive style. He has already had impressive results including winning a European Championship at 17. He lost to a double world championship medalist at the Olympics and by 2020 should be a real contender.

Croatia: Mate Pavlov 24(12)-3-2

The Croatian southpaw was a dominant amateur, winning the Olympics and World Championships. He lost an early bout to future world champion, Matthew Saad Muhammad but came back to win the European title and beating Miguel Angel Cuello for the WBC title. He defeated John Conteh but lost his belt to Marvin Johnson.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Filip Hrgovic has announced his intention to turn professional this year. He won a bronze at the 2016 Olympics, only losing a split decision to eventual winner Tony Yoka. His WSB record is an impressive 25-4 suggesting he will adapt well to the pro game.

Czech Republic: Lukas Konecny 50(23)-5

Konecny is the obvious choice here. He came closest to becoming the first Czech world champion, losing to Serhiy Dzinziruk by majority decision, Zaurbek Baysangurov and Peter Quillin. Throughout his career he also held European titles and beat Matthew Hall by stoppage.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Konecny and Rudolf Kraj, a fringe contender for the crown, have both lamented the state of Czech boxing. A lot of money has left the sport and with that, the Czech Republic is another country for whom nobody seems capable of matching the relatively low bar reached by Konecny.

Denmark: Battling Nelson 59(40)-19-22

The Durable Dane was born in the 19th century and had his first fight at 14. He was a twice lightweight world champion. He had wins over Jimmy Britt, Terry McGovern and Joe Gans twice.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Micki Nielsen and Patrick Nielsen are both strong contenders, on the fringe world level who have a loss. They are impressive but Mikkel Kessler recently announced his return to the ring. He is a four time world champion but has lost most of his big fights - to Ward, Froch and Calzaghe. If he wins a world title on his return this becomes a serious debate.

England: Bob Fitzsimmons 68(59)-8-4

The Cornishman became the first three-weight champion in the history of boxing. He is the lightest heavyweight champion of all time beating James J Corbett. He has wins over some of the great boxers of the time.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Anthony Joshua has the casual appeal that not many boxers can manage. He may already be the best heavyweight in the world and seems to be after big bouts to enhance his legacy.

Estonia: Anton Raadik 35(24)-24-1

Raadik was an impressive amateur, winning the European Championship. After starting his professional career he moved to America. He took on and lost to legends including Jake LaMotta, Bobo Olson, Al Hostak and Marcel Cerdan. Despite losing to Cerdan he gave a great account of himself, dropping the French boxer three times and nearly stopping him late on.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Estonia is in a similar place to a few of these countries where there seems to be no prospects either in the professional ranks or coming through the amateur game so the answer is nobody.

Finland: Robert Helenius 24(15)-1

The Finnish crop all seems to top out at European title level. Helenius has held the European, IBF International, WBA Inter-Continental and WBO Inter-Continental titles. He has a bunch of impressive wins that just give him the edge. Lamon Brewster, Sam Peter, Siarhei Liakhovich, Dereck Chisora and Konstantin Airich have all been beat by Helenius.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Finland has enjoyed a bit of a boxing renaissance over the last 15 years and Edis Tatli should take over the top spot soon. He challenged Richard Abril for the world title and lost a close decision. He currently holds the European title and is an impressive boxer. A few more wins and he gets the top spot. A contender from the amateur ranks is young Krenar Aliu.

France: Marcel Cerdan 113(66)-4

The middleweight just edges it over Georges Carpentier and Ray Famechon. He lost four bouts in his career, two disqualifications and then two of his last six. One was avenged against Cyrille Delannoit, which was part of many years he had dominating the European title. The final loss came to all-time great Jake LaMotta. In between those he won a world title beating Tony Zale and Dick Turpin.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Given the brilliance of Cerdan, this has to be a boxer with real star potential. None of the current best French professionals seem to have that ability, instead I will look at Tony Yoka. The 2016 Super Heavyweight Olympic Champion has the appeal and potential to be a star. I personally feel he may struggle to translate as well to the pros but his potential is incredible.

Germany: Max Schmeling 56(40)-10-4

The Black Uhlan of the Rhine is one of the more famous European boxers. His best win no doubt came against Joe Louis. However, it was the second bout when he was seen as representing the Nazi Empire which is more widely remembered. He lost but have Louis a tough battle. He had also beaten Jack Sharkey before losing to him the second time.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Marco Huck is probably the man most likely to break the hold of Schmeling. He has been a one of the best cruiserweights in the world for around eight years. Major wins include Victor Emilio Ramirez, Denis Lebedev and three times over Ola Afolabi. Some losses have harmed him and he looks past his best but a few big wins could change the narrative.

Greece: Anton Christoforidis 55(13)-15-8

An easy choice for greatest Greek boxer of all time. His first 46 fights came in Europe. He split series with Kid Tunero, Victor Janas and Edouard Tenet and beat Lou Brouillard before heading over to America. He split two fights wit Jimmy Bivins, becoming the first man to beat the all-time great. He defeated Melio Bettina for the NBA title and also beat Ceferino Garcia. He stepped in the ring but lost to Ezzard Charles, Lloyd Marshall and Gus Lesnevich. 

Boxer most likely to challenge: Greek boxing is in a real bad way, which is also true historically. Nobody looks capable right now of getting near the level of Christoforidis.

Hungary: Zsolt Erdei 34(18)-1

Erdei is here despite the competition of unbeaten Laszlo Papp thanks to his world titles. He was unbeaten in world title fights, winning belts at light heavyweight and cruiserweight. Giacobbe Fragomeni, Julio Cesar Gonzalez and Hugo Hernan Garay twice.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Zsolt Daranyi Jr. is nicknamed the phenom and his talent is evident for all to see. He is signed to Top Rank after an impressive amateur career and has won every bout by knockout. He is a big light middleweight with an incredible reach and if he gets his jab firing he ascend up this list.

Iceland: Gunnar Kolbein Kristinsson 9-0*

The worst of the bunch. Iceland has one active boxer in Kristinsson. They have three all time boxers listed on BoxRec. Kristinsson gets is as the competition is so weak. Iceland have had professional boxing banned since 1956 and it shows.

Boxer who will challenge: Erm, nobody.

Ireland: Peter Maher 142(107)-28-6-1

Maher would dominate domestically winning the Irish Heavyweight and Middleweight Titles before heading to America. Aged twenty six he became world champion before losing to Bob Fitzsimmons.

Boxer who will challenge: Jason Quigley is one of the best prospects in world boxing. The 2013 World Championship silver medalist is signed to Golden Boy and has impressively made his way through contenders, beating Glen Tapia last time.

Italy: Nino Benvenuti 82(35)-7-1

The star boxer of the Rome Olympics, would delight in equal measures as a Professional. He first won a world light-middleweight title beating domestic rival Sandro Mazzinghi. He would also win the middleweight title after he moved up division. He has some of the biggest wins in the 60s including Don Fullmer, Emile Griffith twice and Luis Manuel Rodriguez. He lost once to Griffith in an epic trilogy as well as Dick Tiger and Carlos Monzon.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Italian boxing in a bad way. No real prospects to speak of and the current best boxer is Leonard Bundu. He is a tough boxer but seems to top out about European level. So, to be frank Italian boxing currently has nobody of the standard

Latvia: Mairis Breidis 22(18)-0

The first active boxer on this list, Breidis is undoubtedly the option. He recently defeated Marco Huck to become WBC Champion with ease. He also has a win over Manuel Charr and given the level in the cruiserweight division currently, he could go on to be a European great.

Boxer likely to challenge: Breidis is a trailblazer for Latvian boxing so there is currently nobody to follow him. Maybe after his career we will see more Latvian boxers.

Lithuania: Egidijus Kavaliauskas 15(12)-0*

This unbeaten pro is still on his way to reaching his potential but his amateur résumé and performances so far put him at the top of this list. He won a bronze medal in the 2011 World Championships, stopping Fred Evans viciously. As a pro he has shown impressive accuracy, timing and power. Robert Garcia called him the hardest puncher he has ever worked with and he should be a world champion in time.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Eimintas Stanionis has only had one professional fight but his potential is great. The 2015 European champion signed with Richard Schaefer after going 141-19 as an amateur, losing at the Olympics to eventual silver medalist Shakhram Giyasov.

Luxembourg: Clement Tshinza 50(23)-21-6

Best of another bad bunch, Tshinza was born in Belgium but boxed out of Luxembourg. His record is not great but he has good wins over men with winning records which helps him stand out.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Luxembourg has four professional boxers, three of whom have losing records. Amilcar de Jesus Monteiro Tavares has a win in his only fight but at 31 does not look likely to be of that quality so we will go with nobody.

Macedonia: Sasha Mitreski 15(7)-3-1

This was difficult, a poor field. Mitreski experienced more success on an international level than any other Macedonian boxer. He was the WBF and WBA International champion before losing to Silvio Branco and Nuri Seferi to end his career. The only other option was Redzep Redzepovski who won an Olympic silver medal in 1984.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Fatlum Zhuta is the only active Macedonia boxer and has won three of his five contests with a draw and a no contest. He does not have the ability to reach that level so in my opinion the answer is nobody.

Malta: Steve Martin 13(11)-4-1*

The most famous Maltese boxer is arguably Vince Bongailas who entered Eurovision. His boxing record leaves a lot to be desired at 0-2. Martin, on the other hand has impressed especially lately. His five blemishes came in his first six bouts before turning his career around. He won the WBF title when defeating Graham Earl.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Malik Zinad is 23 and recently won the WBF International title. He is unbeaten and has a big clash coming up against unbeaten Welshman Morgan Jones. 

Montenegro: Dejan Zlaticanin 22(15)-1*

The only Montenegrin to be world champion, Zlaticanin has defeated Ricky Burns and Ivan Redkach before stopping Franklin Mamani for the WBA title. He was stopped last time out by a superb Mikey Garcia but is still a difficult opponent.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Zlaticanin is blazing his own path as a Montenegran and at the moment nobody looks capabale of matching what he has done.

Netherlands: Regilio Tuur 46(30)-4-1

Tuur tops this list as the only Dutch world champion. He was a good amateur, winning a bronze at the 1987 European Champions. His star turn came at the 1988 Olympics where he knocked out reigning World Champion Kelcie Banks in the first round. He did not medal, losing the eventual silver medalist, Daniel Dumitrescu. A few losses early in his career did not hinder him as he went on to become the WBO super featherweight champion defeating Eugene Speed. He made six successful defenses before retiring and vacating his title. He controversially returned five years later losing to Orlando Salido. His style was incredibly fun, super aggressive with power.

Boxer most likely to challenge: The Netherlands is struggling to produce boxers with more athletes pushed towards kickboxing or MMA. The boxer who has the most potential is kickboxing convert—Tyrone Sprong. He is heavy-handed and starts his career 7-0 with seven stoppages.

Northern Ireland: Barry McGuigan 32(28)-3

Some wins over some of the biggest featherweight names, such as Juan Laporte and Eusebio Pedroza. He was an exciting boxer who even won Sports Personality at the height of his fame. His title loss came to Steve Cruz in the dehydrating heat of Texas.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Carl Frampton can only be a couple of wins away. He is a two-weight world champion and at both weights has beaten top ranked opposition in Scott Quigg and Leo Santa Cruz. Any more quality wins will take him ahead of McGuigan and you would not put it past him.

Norway: Pete Sanstol 96(27)-6-8

Part of the golden age of bantamweight boxing, he became world champion when defeating Archie Bell. He split bouts with Panama Al Brown and lost to Sixto Escobar. His stamina and aggression made him a fan favorite despite his power.

Boxer most likely to challenge: A 33-year ban on professional boxing was only lifted in 2014. This has unsurprisingly had a bad effect on the quality of Norwegian boxing. The only name that kept appearing in all my searches was Cecilia Braekhus. The “First Lady” of women’s boxing, she was the only female professional boxer I could name prior to Rio 2016. She is the undisputed, undefeated welterweight champion and utterly dominant. She has to be a contender here!

Poland: Dariusz Michalczewski 48(38)-2

More a case of talent than a résumé. He was seen as a typical European talent with many defenses but not willing to chase out the best worldwide in his division. He was a two-weight world champion although best at light heavyweight where he held the WBO belt for nine years. He did beat Virgil Hill to unify but was stripped of the belts which perhaps cost fans the chance of bigger bouts.  Stanley Ketchel, Tony Zale and Teddy Yarosz are all of Polish origin but boxed under other flags.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Most of the Polish boxers around seem to be past their best or limited, such as Adamek, Fonfara, Glowacki and Szpilka. Maciej Sulecki is an unbeaten middleweight rated in the top ten. It is a tough division and he may struggle to take the step but a big couple of wins in the division make him the most likely.

Portugal: Jose Santa 69(48)-20-4

This was a poor competition, Portugal is not known for its boxers for good reason. Known as Santa Camarao, he gets the edge. Santa was absolutely massive for his time, being 6’9”. He shared the ring with two greats in Max Baer and Primo Carnera and in a poor competition that gives him the vote.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Three Portuguese boxers with more than one bout are unbeaten. Looking at the résumé’s none looked especially impressive while there was no tape on any of them. The best and most experienced is Bruno Tavarez. He has the best competition, partially due to having the most bouts I am sure but has only one mark against him, a technical draw with Daniel Heinze when Heinze’s mouth guard split. He had impressed against a higher ranked opponent before the early stoppage. I don’t imagine he will make World level but even getting to European level makes him a contender.

Romania: Leonard Dorin 22(8)-1-1

The Romanian took up boxing at 14 and won five national senior titles. His amateur highlights came in international tournaments with two bronze medals in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics as well as winning the 1995 World Championships. He signed to Interbox and would make his way to a world title shot after 19 wins including a victory over Emmanuel Augustus. He won a thrilling split decision over Raul Horacio Balbi to win a WBA title before winning more comfortably in the rematch. A unification with IBF champion Paul Spadafora was organized which was scored a draw. Dorin surprised Spafadora with his workrate and deserved a victory. He lost his title on the scales after announcing it would be his final bout. As that bout was cancelled he instead moved up to take on Arturo Gatti who stopped him in two.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Lucian Bute is the obvious choice. He looks to be a win away at the moment but he could provide it. He won the IBF super middleweight title in 2007 defending it successfully nine times. His losses cost him here as he has lost to every top fighter he has fought; Eleider Alvarez, Carl Froch, Jean Pascal and James DeGale. His best wins have come over Bika, Johnson and Andrade.

Russia: Kostya Tszyu 31(25)-2

Tsyzu was a dominant amateur boxer who became amateur world champion in 1991. Turning professional he would be chucked in the deep end early. Wins over Juan Laporte, Sammy Fuentes and Livingstone Bramble were good names on the résumé. He became world champion in his fourteenth bout, defending it five times before being shocked by Vince Phillips. He would win a world title back and dominate the division for years beating Chavez, Tackie, Judah and Mitchell before losing to Ricky Hatton in his final bout.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Sergey Kovalev cannot be far behind. He has dominated the light heavyweight division with crushing victories over Nathan Cleverly, Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal. He recently lost a controversial decision to Andre Ward but a win in a rematch and a couple of other big wins would push him to be top of the pile.

Scotland: Benny Lynch 88(34)-14-17

Ranked by Nat Fleischer as the number 5 flyweight of all time, Lynch was brilliant around the 1930s. He won the world flyweight title against Small Montana. Drinking and weight issues meant his late career was not as strong as it should be.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Ricky Burns is a contender but probably needs another world title or world-class win. I feel he got very lucky with timing to be a three-weight world champion. Instead let’s go with Josh Taylor who has the potential to be a world superstar.

Serbia: Slobodan Kacar 22(12)-2

Kacar was an incredible amateur who amassed a record of 241-9 winning an Olympic gold in 1980 after his bronze at the 1978 World Championship. He won the IBF world championship in Italy when winning a split decision over Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. He lost it next time out to Bobby Czyz when stopped in the fifth round.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Enad Licina has age against him. None of the Serbian prospects look like being able to become a world champion so we have to go with nobody.

Slovakia: Tamas Kovacs 27(16)-2

This is bad. There really has not been a great Slovak boxer. Kovacs gets is by virtue of clashing Beibut Shumenov for a world title in 2013.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Both Robert Racz and Viktor Biscak are unbeaten but the quality of opposition means they are basically unknown quantities. Martin Parlagi has only lost twice; to Ben Jones and Marco McCullough. He has dominated the domestic crowd and got a draw in his last fight when challenging Oleg Yefimovych for the WBA Continental title.

Slovenia: Jan Zaveck 35(19)-4

Zaveck had a good career where he was always a dangerous floater and opponent for top opposition. He lost a split decision to Rafal Jackiewicz which he later avenged. He had two world titles shots, being stopped by Andre Berto and Erislandy Lara as well as a defeat to Keith Thurman.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Nobody has to be the answer. BoxRec only lists three active boxers. One of whom has no wins whilst another is past his best and not near to Zaveck. Labinot Xhoxhaj has three stoppage wins at heavyweight including two over men with winning records but predicting him to be a world title contender is steep.

Spain: Javier Castillejo 62(48)-8-1-1

Spain has no real interest in boxing and it shows in the real lack of quality. Castillejo almost wins this by virtue of being a world champion. He beat Keith Mullings to become WBC light middleweight champion and made it two world titles when defeating Felix Sturm with a shock knockout to win a middleweight title. He has losses against a few of the biggest names in boxing—Fernando Vargas and Oscar De La Hoya.

Boxer most likely to challenge: The lack of quality Spanish boxers is also present in active boxers. Kiko Martinez is maybe another world title away from being recognized here. He was a world champion who defended his belt twice, including a victory over Hozumi Hazegawa. He has lost to some of the better boxers of today such as Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton.

Sweden: Ingemar Johansson 26(17)-2

An interesting character who eventually received the silver medal from the 1952 Olympics. He was underrated heading into his defining trilogy against Floyd Patterson due to his unconventional training methods despite defeating Henry Cooper and Joe Erksine. He stopped Patterson in the first bout to become heavyweight champion but Patterson would return the favor, inflicting his only two defeats in the rematches.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Three boxers here have the potential to compete with Johansson. Anthony Yigit won the European title last time out dominating Lenny Daws and looked really good. Erik Skoglund is an unbeaten contender at light heavyweight but his resume is thin on impressive names. Instead it has to be Badou Jack. He was champion at super middleweight and fought out an excellent draw with James DeGale before moving up to light heavyweight. A title there would seal his place as the number one.

Switzerland: Frank Erne 30(14)-6-16

The Swiss man emigrated to the United States at seven. He was a great strategist with great ring generalship. He was a two weight world champion after beating George Dixon and Kid Lavigne. He also held an advantage over Joe Gans before an accidental head butt ended the fight.

Boxer most likely to challenge: The Swiss ranks look empty of boxers who can win a world title in both the amateur and professional ranks. Nobody, again.

Ukraine: Vitali Klitschko 45(41)-2

It has to be one of the brothers and Vitali, for me, has a similar level of wins and losses that do not look at bad. He lost to Chris Byrd and Lennox Lewis but impressed in both and has wins over Sanders, Peter, Briggs and Adamek.

Boxer most likely to challenge: Ukraine is one of the strongest nations in the world for boxing right now. Usyk, Gvozdyk and Derevyanchenko are candidates but it has to be Vasyl Lomachenko. He won a world title in his third bout and frankly looks phenomenal. He also has lots of big fights around his weight and along with his two Olympic gold medals, could go down as a legend.

Wales: Joe Calzaghe 46(32)-0

Joe Calzaghe goes down as one of the 100 greatest boxers of all time, mainly thanks to his late career run. His early career was a solid champion but he became a great with dominant performances over Jeff Lacy, Mikkel Kessler, Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr.

Boxer most likely to challenge: The Selby brothers and Liam Williams are bringing top class boxing back to Wales. The one with the most potential is Andrew Selby and if you put his potential as being a multi weight world champion then I would not disagree.

*Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City are all European nations but have no boxers.

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  1. tuxtucis 12:04am, 06/17/2017

    @Jack the Lad: I totally agree with you, told about before you. Calzaghe is historically a very poor choice.

  2. Jack the Lad 10:59pm, 06/16/2017

    Interesting article. But I must take exception to your rating of Calzaghe as the best boxer from Wales.  I’m a great Calzaghe fan, but is he greater than Jim Driscoll, Freddie Welsh or the man who Gene Tunney described as the best boxer he ever saw, Jimmy Wilde?  I think not.

  3. tuxtucis 01:36am, 05/27/2017

    I think maybe you could have done some honorable mentions after your first choice, at least for the bigger countries: Benvenuti is a good choice for Italy, but Loi would have been equally legitimate, same for France with Cerdan and Carpentier.  Carpentier now is very underrated, but he was a sort of French Pacquiao; he was national bantamweight champion and fought for the world heavy title, today would have had world titles in maybe 10 weight classes!

  4. Cain Bradley 05:00pm, 05/26/2017

    Wow thank you for all the comments and feedback
    - Mike: There were plenty of fighters I could have wrote a thousand words about but I felt like it would made it an impossible read. I tried to keep everyone a similar length.
    - Van Djik/Tuxtucis: Admittedly a different era with less world titles but Helenius and Luukonnen both European Champions and Helenius have more names I recognise (probably an unfair bias from me). For Belgium it also came down to Sneyers and Renard. Again just preferred the names on the Renard resume. There was about five Dutch names I coulda picked. I went for Tuur because he is the only world champion. Think that has to count for something
    - Spain for me came down to Duran and Castillejo, very similar resumes for me. I have never been the highest on Jimmy Wilde so just edge to Joe.
    - Nicolas/Juan Perez; I just think compared to the other big European nations, which I consider Spain to be, especially in a sporting sense, their boxing pedigree is not as impressive. They have had European champions but never anyone especially great when compared to Italy, GB, France and Germany.
    - Special thank you to Ted Sares for very kind comment.
    - Irish - Always interesting little titbits that I find out! Always been a much bigger fan of Vitali than Wladimir.
    - Alt Knight - Yeah Maske would be top five for sure. Ottke as well just on his longevity
    - Nicolas - I did the same with Kosta Tzyzu who I do not really consider Russian to be honest.

  5. Mike 11:26am, 05/26/2017

    Lucas McCain,

    Thanks for the info.  Turns out there is more on Cerdan on u tube than I thought.  What a left hooker.

  6. nicolas 11:21am, 05/26/2017

    Juan: You are absolutely correct. Back in the 60’s and 70’s, it is fair to say Spain was one of the top three. Italy I would say was number one, but where is that country now in boxing. Spain was pretty much neck and neck with Great Britain. But to see a great disparity in boxing in a country, one needs to really look at Korea, once perhaps the dominant power in Asia. into the 90’s, and probably early 2000’s. Now we can’t find a fighter from that country who is in any of the rankings. The last of any note was In Jin Chi. this is where promoters come in. People often look at countries and say they don’t have any great boxers. Sometimes this is due to better economics of a country, but it is also due to limited opportunities to become a good fighter, if there are no shows or other promotions. One French boxer, who was unbeaten and apparently promising left the sport for that very reason.

  7. Juan Pérez 11:04am, 05/26/2017

    Nicolas, now boxing is practically dead in Spain, but for decades was first sport after soccer. As you say, I’m talking about 60-70 decades… Then Spain was considered an European power.

  8. Lucas McCain 09:58am, 05/26/2017

    Mike,  He meant Dick, not Randy.  Dick was the older brother ( I think these brothers’ names carried the same double-meaning they have in American slang!).  Highlights of Dick’s loss to Cerdan, from youtube:

  9. Mike 12:15pm, 05/25/2017

    Cain Bradley passes a little too lightly over the great Marcel Cedan.  Yes he has him beating Tony Zale and Dick Turpin, (maybe he means Randy, I don’t know).  But he was at least fighting to a draw versus Jake LaMotta when his shoulder gave out and he had to quit. He was on his way back to the U.S. from France when the plane he was in crashed and he was killed.  Poor Marcel, and poor us boxing fans he was a boxing hell raiser who didn’t take steps back. He woulda given Jake all he wanted.  Check out u tube for what little they have on him.

  10. tuxtucis 12:06pm, 05/25/2017

    I disagree for Finland too (Luukkonen and Maeki better than Helenius) and maybe Netherlands (Van Klaveren) and Belgium (Sneyers)...

  11. tuxtucis 12:03pm, 05/25/2017

    I strongly disagree for Spain (there are a lot of boxers better than Castillejo) and, mostly, for Wales…Calzaghe better than Jimmy Wilde ???

  12. Nicolas 09:26am, 05/25/2017

    Juan Perez. Interesting point you made. I even question whether the boxer he lists as the best of all time is really the best Sanish fighter of all time. Right now the only boxer of note from Spain is Kiko Martinez. As far as some of the boxers you mention, many of them were from the 60’s and 70’s. Form what I have read, boxing in Spain took a big hit after the Franco years, as it for some reason was associated with that. It was certainly a bigger sport in Spain back then than now. Two countries in Europe also were it was a much bigger business in France and Italy. In the 60’s and early 70’s in fact Italy seemed to be the hotbed of European boxing. in the 90’s and 2000’s it appeared to be Germany, but I think that is now drying up. Only Great Britain does it seem to have a constant success through the years.

  13. Lucas McCain 08:33am, 05/25/2017

    Irish Frankie:  funny you should link Edith with Lupe Velez.  Lupe used to go to the fights with still unknown Clayton Moore long before his Lone Ranger days.  He was her big hunk/publicity escort at the time, and in his autobiography (I Was That Masked Man) Kemo Sabe describes her coming to the fights in furs, but only after the first round ended, so she could make a dramatic “entrance,” then screaming from ringside for the rest of the fight, a real fan.

  14. Juan Pérez 01:53am, 05/25/2017

    “Spain has no real interest in boxing and it shows in the real lack of quality”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Baltasar Sangchili, Pedro Carrasco, José Legra, Perico Fernández, José Durán, Miguel Velázquez, Uco Lastra… Look at the history please.

  15. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:14pm, 05/24/2017

    Plum as in plum puddin’!

  16. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:10pm, 05/24/2017

    If the “love of her life ” Marcel Cerdan had lived Piaf probably would have dumped him within a year or so. I’m betting petite Lupe Velez and 4’10” Edith were both tight as drums with juicy plumb like clits.

  17. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:47pm, 05/24/2017

    Christoforidis beating Bivins and Slobodan Kacar beating Eddie Mustafa Muhammad are very impressive wins indeed split decisions or not.

  18. nicolas 04:09pm, 05/24/2017

    VAN DIJK: I don’t think that Ruddi Koopmans would deserve to be the top boxer from the Netherlands, but agrees about Van Klavern since the boxers he beat were of a higher caliber than Tuur. But why do you call McCarnin a chicken shit? Yes he was at ringside when Van Klavern beat Ceferino Garcia, however he would loose two consecutive bouts Young Corbett, though the first was controversial, in a span of a month. Around that time McCarnin would lose also to Barney Ross. two years previously, Corbett had been knocked out in one by McClarnin. But thank you for bringing him up, and I think a strong case can be made for Van Klavern.

  19. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:51pm, 05/24/2017

    The things we learn in time little by little especially when others are doing the digging…. like Anton Raadik knocking down Cerdan three times and almost stopping him and still not getting the nod?! Maybe for the author but not for me….Badou Jack ain’t overtaking Ingo….not now…. not ever!

  20. Lucas McCain 12:21pm, 05/24/2017

    A terrifically able piece by Cain!  Good to see Cerdan up there.  Hard not to wonder how he would have done in a LaMotta rematch, and then would come Robinson-Cerdan, with Piaf and Nat Fleischer at ringside

  21. Koolz 10:53am, 05/24/2017

    pretty damn Awesome!

    goes to look up some fights.

  22. van dijk 09:27am, 05/24/2017

    What about RUDY KOOPMANS and BEP VAN KLAVEREN for Holland?
    Van Klaveren would have been worldchampion if chickenshit Mclarnin
    had offered him the challenge

  23. Alt Knight 08:00am, 05/24/2017

    Henry Maske for Germany? Kind of hard not to give it to Schmeling, but Maske might warrant a mention.

  24. Ted Sares 07:00am, 05/24/2017

    Any time you put up a list, it begs to be attacked. It’s the nature of the beast. But this one is one of the best I have seen in a very long time and reflects some very fine research on the part of the author. My kudos and props to Cain for a job well done.

  25. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:46am, 05/24/2017

    Ukraine: Offhand reference to the other “brother” who happens to be the one who dominated the Heavyweight Division for a decade, otherwise this article is well researched and very informative to say the least.

  26. nicolas 06:12am, 05/24/2017

    I have always found in strange to consider Bob Fitzsimmons a English boxer. First off his family moved From England to New Zealand when he was 10 years old to New Zealand, and it was there that his boxing started. He also never had a matching England. While he never to my knowledge had a pro fight in New Zealand, it is that country I would associate him with, and call him New Zealand’s greatest boxer. I think that the association with England for this boxing legend has more to do with the failure of fighters from England in the heavyweight division for so many years. this of course ended with the likes of Bruno, Lewis, Fury and Joshua. If New Zealand had produced a greater fighter than Fitzsimmons, then I would perhaps consider Fitzsimmons for that honor of England’s greatest, which is why I don’t have a problem with Erne and Nelson for those respective European countries. Marcel Cerdan would also have to be either Algerian or Moroccan, can’t remember which country as that greatest fighter, though the French really adopted him.

  27. Alt Knight 04:58pm, 05/23/2017

    Interesting article.

  28. Anonymous 04:24pm, 05/23/2017

    excellent stuff.

  29. peter 02:25pm, 05/23/2017

    I might not agree with your picks, but the concept of this article was excellent!

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