Over the years there has been much debate where the best boxers come from in the world? There are in fact many countries that have developed world champions from all walks of life which this list will show you.
There are also countries you would never expect to be on this list, but they have all developed world champions in multiple weight divisions at some point in boxing’s existence.
Which country has the most world champions?
Here is a great example by JD sports who put together this really fascinating graph a couple of years ago. Here is list of the countries with the most world champion:
There are the most obvious countries at the top of this list, but countries such as Colombia and South Korea might be a surprise for many.
As you can also see the USA has the most world champions by far, and no doubt due to their rich history or prize fighting throughout the 20th century that put them on the map.
Below I will now go to each country and give you a brief overview, including notable fighter and their traditional boxing style. I have not ordered them in any particular order. I have also based this list on things such as world champions and Olympic medals. So please don’t get offended if I have missed a country out that you feel should be on this list.
The US by far have created the most world champions of 450+ to date. The US has always traditionally been the biggest boxing nation creating some of the greatest ever fighters since boxing’s existence. This includes the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Willie Pep, Joe Louis, Floyd Maywether Jr to just name a few!
Through the decades their is no doubt that it is the American boxers that have led the way innovating the way boxers fight all over the world, from aggressive pressure fighters to a defensive geniuses. The USA has developed fighters of all styles and backgrounds which is unrivalled.
Although, the likes of mixed martial arts and UFC have started to compete with boxing in recent years. Boxing still has a lot of popularity despite this, mainly thanks to its rich history of boxing and prize fighting through the decades of producing the world’s best.
Mexico has also some of the greatest fighters that have graced the sport. Known for their come forward ‘Mexican style’ aggressive pressure fighting. Everyone loves when the Mexican fighter come to town!
In more recent years Canelo Alvarez has been really flying the flag for Mexican boxing. But its fighters in the past generations that laid the foundations before him, which is endless.
The likes of Julio Cesar Chavez, Ruben Olivares, Salvador Sanchez and Juan Manuel Marquez are just some of the all time greats which I recommend you study.
The UK is the country that originally came up with the Marquess of Queensberry rules, which has very much influenced modern boxing to this day. British fighters much like the Mexicans have always been known for their more aggressive come forward style. However, in more recent years the UK has really started to develop some of the finest boxers in the world with a whole range of fighting styles.
The UK fan base is huge for the sport of boxing, making it a very popular go to option for those looking to get into a sport from a young age.
Some of the great fighters include Sir Henry Cooper, Lennox Lewis, Joe Calzage, Ricky Hatton and Naseem Hamed. In more recent years we have had some more legendary fighters taking the sport by storm including Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Josh Taylor.
Believe it or not, but Japan is the 4th most successful boxing nation in the world in terms of world champions made.
They tend to have always dominated the lower weight divisions with the average height of Japanese men being 5’6. It’s no wonder they have so many fighters in the lower divisions. Japanese boxers have also had never say die attitude and will always give their all to win.
In more recent years ‘The Monster’ Naoya Inoue has been the biggest star to come out of the country, but other notable fighters include the likes of Toshiaki Nishioka and ‘Fighting’ Harada.
5. Puerto Rico
Although Puerto Rico is not officially recognised as a country, (US Territory). I could not leave them out of this list due to the amount of success they have achieved throughout boxing history.
Puerto Rican boxers have always had a rich history of boxers who have dominated at one point in time. They have been known to have a boxer-puncher style with a good history of big KO artists. Some of the best fighters the island has produced include the likes of Felix Trinidad, Miguel Cotto, Wilfred Benitez and Hector Camacho.
The island has also been allowed to compete at the Olympic Games since 1948 where it has been able to put itself on the world map for boxing. They have won 6 medals of which one has been silver and five other bronze medals.
The Russian have always been known for their tremendous amateur system and have developed countless Olympic medallists. Before in the old Soviet Union, they had won 51 medals, with Russia still catching up to this number today.
However, despite not having Olympic bragging rights they once had in the old Soviet Union. They have started to create many top professionals that have competed and won multiple world championships. The Russian have always been known to be tough, but have a very technical eastern European boxing style of using a solid stance, high guard and mostly straight punches.
Some notable Russian boxers include Alexander Povetkin, Sergey Kovlev, Dmitry Bivol and Niolai Valuev.
Now the Ukrainian are traditionally much like the above Russian’s with their boxing style with the eastern European influence. This was the boxing style the Klitschko brothers became heavyweight world champions dominating the division for over 10 years putting Ukraine on the map for boxing.
Since then we have seen many more Ukrainian boxers come to light, set by the example of the Klitchsko’s dominating the amateur and even professional side of the sport. This of course includes Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk.
However both have very different styles that have helped them both reach the pinnacle of the sport. Some other notable Ukrainian boxers include Viktor Postol, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Volodymyr Sydorenko.
Often forgotten due to their very successful neighbour – you don’t need me to remind you who that is. Canada has produced some of the finest world champions in recent times, however most of these fighters are not even Canadian! Despite this, Canada still has been given the opportunity to develop these fighters to compete on the world stage.
Nevertheless, if you look deeper in the history books you will find some fantastic fighters including Tommy Burns, Jimmy McLarin and Sam Langford the “Greatest Fighter Nobody Knows” who I highly recommend you look into!
You could arguably say they have had one of the greatest heavyweight champions in Lennox Lewis. He moved to Canada from the UK when 12 and represented Canada in amateurs. However, he represented the UK as a professional. Some other notable names I can’t miss out include the likes of Arturo Gatti, George Chuvalo, Adonis Stevenson and Jean Pascal.
Now Ireland has always had a rich history of fighters, especially with a lot of the old North American champions from the 20th century having Irish heritage of some sort. The likes of the Great Jack Dempsey and Jimmy “Baby Face” McLarnin are regarded as just two of the very best.
The Irish boxers have always been known for their tough and usually aggressive pressure fighting, which has made fans rejoice around the world to watch a good Irish fighter. Nevertheless, we have seen some brilliant technical boxer punchers over the years and some big personalities to grace the sport.
Some of the modern greats I recommend you check out include Steve Collins, Barry McGuigan, Carl Frampton and Andy Lee.
The Germans have in fact produced many top class world class boxers that have competed with the very best in sport.
Mostly by using an Eastern European style of staying on the outside, a tight high guard, correct boxing stance and use of straight punches. This has regarded them as not the most exciting fighters in the world, however it is very efficient, just as the Germans like to be.
They have produced some truly exceptional fighters in opinion over the years who I recommend you look into. This includes the likes of Felix Strum, Steve Ottke, Juergen Braham, Arthur Abraham and heavyweight great Max Schmeling.
The Aussies are another nation that is known as a fighting nation that comes to fight! Yes they may not be known as having the worlds best, but they have produced some excellent fighter in the lower weight division in particular.
Kostya Tszyu (born in Russia) is still regarded as the best Australian fighter to lace up. Winning 3 world titles and dominating the light welterweight division between 1999 and 2004.
Some other notable Australian fighters include Lionel Rose, Johnny Famechon, Jeff Harding and Jeff Fenech.
When we think of the Philippines and boxing, there is only one man that comes to mind. This is of course Manny ‘PacMan’ Pacquiao! I like most, certainly regard him as one of the best professional boxers of all time, and is the only eight-division world champion.
He has inspired a whole nation to embrace boxing and since his dominant rise has helped to to develop more world champions including Joel Caimero, Jerwin Anacas and Nonito Donaire.
However, there has been other notable fighter before ‘PacMan‘ put them on the map. Including Pancho Villa, the first Asian boxing world champion and Gabriel ‘Flash’ Elorde (A name nickname Nonito Donaire used as inspiration)
The Phillipinos have always been known for their quick hand speed and knockout power, making them one of the most dangerous boxing nations.
A nation that has slickest, skilful and finest footwork throughout boxing history. The Cuban have mastered the amateur style of boxing being the second most successful Olympic boxing nation with over 60+ medals and 30+ Golds. For a small island that is something truly impressive to have a achieved and will no doubt continue to produce the greatest amateur boxers.
Unfortunately for many of these great amateurs, they could not go professional as it was banned and illegal from 1963-2013. However, that has not stopped some of these Cuban boxers following their dreams and turning pro by escaping and moving to America.
Some of the all time greats include Guillermo Rigondeux, Kid Chocolate, Kid Gavilan and Jose Napoles to name a few!
If you want to learn good boxing footwork, I highly recommend you watch the Cuban fighters.
The Argentine’s have always been known for their come forward aggressive boxing style much like the other Latino boxing nations for the most part. But they have also developed some top class unique fighters.
Two of their greatest boxers in fact had two very different boxing styles to each other. First up Carlos Monzon, the former undisputed middleweight champion was regarded as one the best ever. He was the perfect boxer puncher who would look to use 1-2-3 combinations to devastating effect. While he was also able to box on the outside, catching opponents off guard as they tried to close the gap.
The opposite to that was Nicoline Locche, who is cited as the greatest defensive boxer of all time. His reflexes were unbelievable and would often have his hands down by his side. Definitely a fighter you need to check out.
Some other notable Argentine boxers to mention include: Sergio Matinez, Marcos Maidana and Pascual Perez.
Very much of the old Soviet Eastern European style, the Kazakh’s have really started to rise up in the amateurs scene in recent years. Especially at the Olympic games where they are now in the top 10 list in terms of medals won.
The one fighter that comes to mind when we think of Kazakhstan however, is of course Gennedy Golovkin, who has really gone on to be one of the true middleweight greats with 20 world title defences.
This will no doubt inspire a new generation of Kazak boxers with Daniyar Yeleussinov and Janibek Alimkhanuly definitely ones to watch! Some other notable past fighters include Vassiliy Jivov who had his classic encounter with James Toney.
16. South Korea
Now this is probably one of the countries on the list you would least expect to see. Nevertheless, the South Koreans have a rich history of producing world boxing champions, in particular in the lower weight divisions. As you can see from the list at the top of this article, the South Koreans have over 40+ world champions.
Although they have fallen slightly in recent times, it was in the 1960-80s when they produced some of the finest fighters including Chang Jung koo, Kim Ki-soo, Yuh Myyung-woo. Moon – Sung-Kil.
Their close neighbours, Japan, have really taken over in recent years as in the best in east Asia, but maybe will see resurgence again of some more Korean greats.
Our second South American country on the list is Colombia and they have definitely developed some great fighters over the years. Just like the other Latin countries, they often come to fight with hard punching, swarmer and slugger boxing styles.
Most of their greatest fighters have come from the 70-90s, including Antonio Cervantes aka ‘Kid Pambele‘ who defeated the great Argentine defensive boxer Nicoline Locche (mentioned above).
Although they may not have created as many champions in recent years they have continued to develop top class contenders, who I’m sure at one point will break through again to the top!
Final mention on this list is Thailand, now they are of course known more for Muay Thai or “Thai Boxing”. But due to closeness in nature, it is no wonder that Thailand has been able to create many traditional boxing champions over the years.
Just like it’s other east Asian neighbours, Thailand has really made most of its impact in the lower weight divisions from minimum weight to light welterweight over the years with 46 world champions.
The Thai’s have always been known for their quick speed, toughness and inside fighting.
Obviously there are other countries that have developed some world class fighters including the likes of Italy, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Spain, New Zealand, Poland, France, South Africa .
Although it’s nice to have bragging rights in which country is the best, sometimes it’s nice for a boxer from a non-traditional boxing nation to rise to the top.
To find out more about the different type of boxing styles read my blog here.
Comment below if you would like me to expand on these countries in the future.
As always, thanks reading and hope you enjoyed finding out about where the top boxers in the world come from.
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