Top 10 Greatest Cruiserweights Of All Time
Cruiserweight boxing has always been underrated and I believe that’s because the division is in the shadows of the heavyweight division who are just essentially bigger cruiserweights. The cruiserweight division looks different all the time with every year something changed. For example, Oleksandr Usyk had all four titles last year but this year he’s heading up to heavyweight and now we have three different champions and the WBC championship has no champ. But today we’re not looking at what cruiserweight boxing looks like today but who the greatest cruiserweight boxers are.
10) Vassily Jirov: 38-3-1
The boxer from Kazakhstan is tenth on our list, at one point he was 31-0 and IBF champion but that all changed when he lost to James Toney but even with that loss, he bounced back and still had a good career. He won the majority of his wins by stoppages and when he did lose, it was mostly decision with Jirov only being stopped once in his professional career by Michael Moorer.
9) Anaclet Wamba: 49-2-1
Ancalet Wamba only lost twice in his professional career and that was to Italian boxer, Massimiliano Duran and British boxer, Horace Notice. Wamba’s career spanned from the eighties into the nineties and for the most part, dominated the cruiserweight division. He’s got 46 wins with 23 knockouts. His only draw was in a fight with Adolpho Washington. Wamba was WBC cruiserweight champion for 4 years in his fantastic career.
8) Johnny Nelson: 45-12-2
Now turned boxing pundit for Sky Sports, Johnny Nelson was a top cruiserweight boxer in his prime. Nelson’s last loss came in 1995 but after taking his 12th loss, Nelson bounced back and dominated as WBO cruiserweight champion and defended his title a total of 13 times. It’s stuff like that which makes you forget that Nelson lost his first three fights by decision. Nelson turned his career around when many people though he couldn’t and now goes down as one of the greatest cruiserweight boxers of all time.
7) Dwight Muhammad Qawi: 41-11-1
Dwight Muhammad Qawi experienced wins, losses and draws and he experienced them all in his first three fights. He lost his WBA cruiserweight title to arguably the greatest cruiserweight of all time, Evander Holyfield. Qawi retired as a former WBA, WBC cruiserweight champion and even held his own early in his career at light heavyweight.
6) James Toney: 77-10-3
James Toney made his boxing debut in 1988 with his last fight being in 2017 and won that fight in the 6th round. Toney began his career at middleweight but we’re here to talk about his run at cruiserweight and that was great. He always switched from cruiserweight to light heavyweight but was a master class in both weight classes. Toney even made a jump to MMA by fighting at UFC 118 against Randy Couture which Couture won in the first round by submission. Toney may not go down as one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time but as far as cruiserweight goes, he is widely considered as one of the best.
5) Juan Carlos Gomez: 55-4
At one point, Juan Carlos Gomez was 37-0 in his career with Gomez even defending his WBC championship a total of 10 times before dropping it to Yanqui Díaz in the first round. It was a vicious knockout too and surprised many with Díaz just pummelling Gomez with right hands but that wasn’t the end for Gomez as he did eventually bounce back and did get a few wins but failed to reclaim the WBC title as Vitali Klitschko finished Gomez in the ninth. Gomez had 52 of his 60 fights taking place in Germany despite coming from Cuba.
4) Carlos De Leon: 53-8-1
With the amateur record of 158-12, Carlos De Leon felt ready to turn professional. The southpaw went 8-0 before suffering his first loss but that wasn’t the end of the road for Sugar as he did go on to become WBC champion. De Leon has a over 20 year career and due to his slick southpaw skills, he is on this list.
3) Oleksandr Usyk: 16-0
It’s crazy to think that Oleksandr Usyk made his boxing debut in 2013 which was only six years ago and is already on this list and not only on this list but in the top three. Usyk ran through the division and dominated everybody he was up against and even was undisputed champion having all four of the major belts. Ending his run at cruiserweight, he defeated well-established boxer, Tony Bellew and Usyk called it a day and decided to head up to heavyweight.
2) David Haye: 28-4
I do wish David Haye stuck at cruiserweight and didn’t head up to heavyweight as he did find great success at cruiserweight. At one point, he was IBO cruiserweight champion and at another he was WBA, WBC and the ring cruiserweight champion. Haye will not only go down as one of the best British boxers but a fantastic cruiserweight boxer too.
1) Evander Holyfield: 44-10-2
Not only a great cruiserweight boxer but a great heavyweight boxer too but if you’ve not realised by now, we’re not talking about heavyweights (although we did last week and you can check that out) we’re talking about cruiserweights and in my opinion, there’s no better cruiserweight boxer than Evander Holyfield. In Holyfield’s career, he defeated a third of this list excluding himself as he defeated James Toney, Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Carlos de Leon. Evander Holyfield did it all at cruiserweight and was even undisputed champion on this list which many people on this list cannot say.