The Best Boxers from Africa
Africa, as a continent, has produced a huge amount of high quality boxers. Of course, not every single country merits its own top 5 list. So while you’ll find represented countries such as Ghana which warrant its own list, the rest of Africa will be handled in one spot. Check out the top 5 boxers from Africa not including the likes of Ghana and South Africa.
- Dick Tiger (Career: 1952-1970): The picture of perseverance, Tiger took a lot of knocks on the way up before hitting his stride. Wins over future champs Terry Downes, Joey Giardello, and top contenders Florentino Fernandez and Henry Hank led to title-winning triumph of Middleweight Champion Gene Fullmer. Defended twice against Fullmer via draw and TKO, before losing the belt to old rival Giardello. A win over Hurricane Carter led to another rematch with Giardello, which saw Tiger regain his belt. Lost belt to Emile Griffith, before moving up and shocking Jose Torres for the Light Heavyweight Title. Repeated win over Torres, before running into Bob Foster. On his way out, beat 78-2-1 Nino Benvenuti, before losing to Emile Griffith again in his final bout in 1970.
- Sumbu Kalambay (Career: 1980-1993): Unfairly remembered and judged for a disastrous first-round knockout loss to Michael Nunn in his biggest fight, Kalambay still put together a resume that inspires envy and respect. Before that, strung together a series of wins over 38-0 Herol Graham, Iran Barkley, and undefeated future Hall of Famer Mike McCallum. The Congo-born boxer also beat Steve Collins at age 36.
- Ayub Kalule (Career: 1976-1986): Classy left-handed Ugandan won the WBA Junior Middleweight crown and made 4 defenses before losing to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1981. Went on to also defeat future titlists Lindell Holmes and Sumbu Kalambay.
- Cornelius Boza-Edwards (Career: 1976-1987): Vegas-based Ugandan had a baptism by fire, losing to legend Alexis Arguello in his first foray into world-class action. A few fights later, he set his sights on a glorious group of early-80’s junior lightweights, winning a title against Bazooka Limon and stopping Bobby Chacon in 14. Unheralded powerpunching Filipino Rolando Navarrete took his title in his 3rd defense. Came back with some big wins over ranking fighters, before losing another classic with Bobby Chacon in 1983.
- John Mugabi (Career: 1980-1999): The Beast was just that, scoring 26 straight knockouts to begin his career, blowing out normally sturdy contenders like Curtis Parker, Hard Rock Green, Vampire Johnson, and Frank “The Animal” Fletcher. Fell in the 11th round against Hagler, but gave one of the greatest middleweights ever perhaps his most demanding fight. A thumb in the eye cost him in a WBC 154-pound title try against Duane Thomas, but he finally won that same belt against Rene Jacquot in 1989, before Terry Norris effectively ended his run at the top. The Ugandan was one of the most exciting fighters ever.
The list of the best boxers from Africa is certainly a strong one. Hopefully you enjoyed the top 5, and if you have any additions or arguments, leave them in the comments below.