Top 5 Best Italian Boxers
Published by: Scott Levinson
The Best Boxers from Italy in History:
Take a look at the top 5 boxers in history from Italy. Over the years, there have been some truly legendary Italian fighters to make their mark on the professional boxing landscape. See which Italian boxers make the cut and where they stand below.
- Nino Benvenuti (Career: 1961-1971): 1960 Gold medalist won the Val Barker Trophy as the best fighter in the games. Jumped out to an incredible 65-0 before suffering his first defeat. The crisp-boxing and elegant Italian won the WBA and WBC 154-pound crown against 40-1 Sandro Mazzinghi in 1965, repeating the win 6 months later. Won the Middleweight Title with a stirring win over Hall of Famer and champion Emile Griffith. Lost the title back to Griffith, before reclaiming the belt in the rubber match. Knocked out Hall of Famer Luis Rodriguez with a single left hook, before running into Carlos Monzon, who twice stopped Benvenuti to bring about an end to a great career.
- Duilio Loi (Career: 1948-1962): The 5’4” 140-pounder suffered only 3 defeats in 126 fights—and he avenged each one! No one ever got the last word in with Loi. Perhaps penalized historically for doing most of his work in Europe, the efficient and technically very sound Loi still managed an admirable body of quality wins, beating a slew of capable contenders and ex-champions. Incredibly, won 2 of 3 over legendary Carlos Ortiz and avenged a loss to another Hall of Famer in Eddie Perkins in his final fight. An overlooked great.
- Young Corbett III (Career: 1919-1940): Born Raffaele Giordano, Corbett III plied his trade in the U.S., where he moved to as a youngster. The former Welterweight World Champion also found success at middleweight. Defeated Welterweight Champion Jackie Fields in 1930 in a non-title bout and twice decisioned Ceferino Garcia, before beating Fields for the title. Upset in first defense by Jimmy McLarnin. The following year, defeated Mickey Walker and added a pair of wins over future light heavyweight champions Gus Lesnevich and Billy Conn before age and wear caught up with him.
- Johnny Dundee (Career: 1910-1932): With the now-politically incorrect sobriquet “The Scotch Wop,” Dundee was a forerunner to the Italian-American boxing heroes and a leading fighter during his era, reigning as Featherweight Champion and becoming the first champion at the junior lightweight limit. Fought on nearly even terms with esteemed champions Johnny Kilbane and Freddie Welsh. Dominated legend Benny Leonard in 1915 by newspaper decision, before dropping the rematch. Drew twice more with Leonard before adding another NWS decision in 1916. Added NWS decisions over Lew Tendler, Rocky Kansas, Willie Ritchie, and KO Chaney. Won the 130-pound crown with a DQ win over Chaney, and claimed Featherweight Title honors with a 15-round points win over champion Eugene Criqui. Lost to Tony Canzoneri in his final title fight in 1927.
- Bruno Arcari (Career: 1964-1978): His 70-2-1 record looks even better when considering he lost his pro debut and was 10-2 after a dozen pro outings. Mostly fought in Italy, beating names like Joe Brown and the best in Europe on his way up the ranks. Beat Pedro Adigue in 1970 for the WBC 140-pound crown, making nine defenses. Retired in 1978, having gone undefeated in the last dozen years of his pro career.
Think a different Italian boxer should have been on the list? Think they should be ranked differently? Let us know your thoughts on the best Italian boxers ever below.