5 greatest African boxers of all time who will be remembered long after they left the ring

5 greatest African boxers of all time who rained terror on the ring. (Ghanaweb)
  • With an epic history as old as civilization itself, and a set of rules that ensures its purity, boxing remains one of the most beautiful sports in the world today. 
  • While some see boxing as barbaric or brutal, boxers and boxing fans know that this sport is a dance and an art, differing very little from an art form like ballet. 
  • Here are some of the greatest African boxing legends who will be remembered long after they left the ring.

‘Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee' said the great Mohammed Ali, perfectly capturing what boxing is all about.

With an epic history as old as civilization itself, and a set of rules that ensures its purity, boxing remains one of the most beautiful sports in the world today. 

While some see boxing as barbaric or brutal, boxers and boxing fans know that this sport is a dance and an art, differing very little from an art form like ballet. 

However, the sport continues to be riddled with many challenges especially in Africa. Faced with little and sometimes non-existent budget to promote and develop the sport, lack of enough gyms and training facilities to develop young players, few and far between boxing boats, the great sport has taken a battery.

Newly elected Kenya Professional Boxing Commission chairman Reuben Ndolo now wants to change all that and has promised to help the country rediscover its lost glory in the bare-chested game.

Ndolo says his key priority in the next four years will be to bring the boxing world to Kenya.

“We don’t have to take our boxers outside for title fights because they end up being punching bags for foreigners. Let the world come to Kenya and this will truly boost the sport immensely. We want to clean the house and groom young boxers to take up the sport of pro boxing. We have the goodwill, connection and as you all know pro boxing is business,” he said.

Considering that here are some of the greatest African boxing legends who will be remembered long after they left the ring.

Azumah Nelson

Ghanaian boxer Azumah is arguably the greatest African boxer of all time.

During his near-20-year career, Nelson won world titles at featherweight and junior lightweight and fought many of the best fighters of his generation, including Salvador Sanchez, Wilfredo Gomez and Pernell Whitaker.

In Ghana, Nelson is revered like Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines, Felix Trinidad in Puerto Rico and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. in Mexico.

During his long career he had total 47 fights of which he won 39 and drew 2.

Dick Tiger 

Dick Tiger born as Richard Ihetu is another African great boxing legend whose fame in the ring continues to date.

He was the winner of the world middleweight championship in 1962. During his boxing career which spanned from 1952-1970 he had a total 82 fights comprising of 60 wins and 3 draws.

The fighter died of liver cancer in 1971.

Brian Mitchell

Mitchell is considered to be the best South African boxer of all time and it is not hard to see why.

He defended his title a record 12 times. Brian Mitchell turned pro in 1981 and won his first title in 1986 at the WBA Junior Lightweight Title.

He had a total 49 fights of which he won 45 and drew 3.

John Mugabi

Mugabi is one of the best boxers Africa has ever produced. Fondly referred to as “The Beast” by fans and experts alike, the Ugandan boxer won a silver medal at the 1980s Summer Olympics in Moscow.

He turned professional on December 5th, 1980 and went on to have an inspiring professional career.

He had a total 50 fights of which he won 42 and 1 draws.

Francois Botha

Nicknamed as “The White Buffalo”, Botha is one of South Africa’s greatest heavyweight boxers.

He is perhaps best known for winning the IBF heavyweight title against Axel Schulz in 1995, but was later stripped after failing a drug test.

In boxing he competed from 1990 to 2014. He had a total 65 fights comprising of 48 wins and 3 draws.

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