Best Boxers from Germany in Boxing History
Over the course of boxing history, some of the sport’s biggest names have on occasion popped up from Germany. There is a strong boxing tradition in the country, and many boxing greats have stepped through the ropes representing the German homeland. Take a look at the top 5 best German boxers in history.
- Max Schmeling (Career: 1924-1948): The former Heavyweight Champion of the World was a great fighter, wielding a crushing right hand during a glorious career. List of wins reads like a who’s-who of heavyweight boxing in the 30’s. Triumphs include Johnny Risko, Paolino Uzcudun, Jack Sharkey, and Young Stribling established him as a championship-level fighter. Best win puts him on another level, as Schmeling was the only man to beat the “real” Joe Louis, handing the young “Brown Bomber” a 12th round knockout defeat in 1936. Was probably past his physical best by this point, pointing to his highly cerebral nature as a fighter.
- Henry Maske (Career: 1990-2007): One of the first Germans to experience wide success in over a half-century, Maske was an example that not all his countrymen followed—fighting a demanding list of opponents rather than milking his world title laurels. Built his career with solid wins, leading to a 1993 title winning effort against overlooked Prince Charles Williams—a champion since 1987. The tall and solid southpaw boxer went on to make 10 defenses in his reign, including wins over Anthony Hembrick, Iran Barkley, Egerton Marcus, and a pair of triumphs over excellent countryman Graciano Rocchigiani. His only loss was a 1996 split decision to Virgil Hill. Remarkably, over a decade later, he returned for a one-fight comeback and soundly defeated Hill, who was a cruiserweight titleholder just a year before.
- Dariusz Michaelczevski (Career: 1991-2005): WBO Light Heavyweight Champion from 1994-2003, making an incredible 25 defenses. Many of his challengers were rather anonymous and he was never considered the clear-cut best at 175, but his best wins prove his worth. Won the belt against an excellent and rising fighter in Leeonzer Barber, but defended against second raters time and again before beating Graciano Rocchigiani. He picked up some serious steam two fights later, joining Tommy Hearns as the only man to defeat Virgil Hill—in a 1997 unification match. Went on to defeat some good fighters like Drake Thadzi, Montell Griffin, and Rocchigiani (again), but could never get Roy Jones in the ring or really put a definitive stamp on his greatness, as he went on to lose his final two fights to former Jones victim Julio Gonzalez (L 12) and Fabrice Tiozzo (KO by 6).
- Arthur Abraham (Career: 2003-present): Some of the air has been taken out of Abraham’s career with his strong of losses, but at one time, he was a top 160-pounder with a path of destruction of which to boast. Built up nicely, with wins over 36-1 Nader Hamdan, 18-1 Ian Gardner, and 40-2 Howard Eastman paving the way to world-title contention. Stopped Kingsley Ikeke in 5 rounds to claim the vacant IBF Middleweight Title in 2005. Made solid defenses, including wins over tough Aussie Shannan Taylor, talented Kofi Jantuah, and undefeated Sebastian Demers. Really showed guts in fighting through a grotesquely-swollen busted jaw to hold off undefeated challenger Edison Miranda to win a unanimous decision. 4th-round TKO of Miranda in the rematch erased any doubts. Following a 12th-round knockout of former champion Jermain Taylor to open the Super Six Boxing Classic, everything was looking up for the 31-0 puncher—who was even favored by many to win the whole thing. However, a trio of tournament fight losses sent everything crashing down for Abraham, who now faces a difficult rebuilding task.
- Graciano Rocchigiani (Career: 1983-2003): Perhaps best known for securing a $31-million judgment against the WBC after being illegally stripped of his title, the German had a very productive pro career. Mustafa Hamsho was well spent by 1987, but icing him in 1:02 is still impressive. Won the vacant IBF 168-pound belt over top-rated American Vincent Boulware (KO 9), defending against hard-hitting Chris Reid and future titleholder Thulani Malinga. Inactivity and outside-of-the-ring problems led to some uneven spots in his career, before he beat Michael Nunn for the vacant WBC 175-pound belt in 1998, leading to his gigantic legal victory.
Hopefully you enjoyed our list of the best boxers from Germany in the history of the sport, if you care to debate, question or argue, then feel free to chime in with a comment below. Definitely some recent names on the list with room for some current fighters to move up or to squeak onto the top 5 as well.