In this article, we will talk about 25 interesting and fun boxing facts that will surprise you.
Boxing is an established sport with many superstars emerging from the sport that ends up making a great impact within and outside the ring.
For example, Muhammad Ali is considered to be one of the greatest sports icons of the 20th century and established himself as a symbol of resistance to the Vietnam War and the African-American Civil Rights movement.
These are some well-known facts, so allow me to provide you with boxing facts that you didn’t know about.
If you want the short version, you have it below.
- #1: Boxing has origins in pre-historic times.
- #2: Boxing was an established sport in Ancient Greece.
- #3: Boxing exists in the form of amateur, professional, and white-collar boxing.
- #4: Billy Bird holds the most amount of KO wins while Len Wickwar holds the record for the most amount of wins and matches competed.
- #5: Punches from boxing gloves do more damage than bare knuckles.
- #6: A boxing match took place between a man vs. a bear. The bear won.
- #7: Sugar Ray Robinson once had a dream about killing a man in the ring. It turned into reality.
- #8: Nipper Pat Daly is the youngest to ever turn professional, while Wilfred “Wilfredo” Benítez is the youngest to ever win a world title.
- #9: Steve Ward is the oldest-ever professional boxer to compete while Bernard Hopkins is the oldest to ever win a world title.
- #10: Rocky Marciano and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are the only world champions to retire undefeated.
- #11: The match between Phil Williams vs. Brandon Burke in 2007 is the shortest ever.
- #12: The match with the most amount of rounds happened between Jack Jones vs. Patsy Tunney in 1825.
- #13: The longest boxing match happened between Andy Bowen and Jack Burke in 1893.
- #14: Joe Lewis holds the most consecutive world title defence.
- #15: The best-selling boxing fight of all time is between Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015.
- #16: Jack Johnson is the first-ever black heavyweight boxing champion in the world.
- #17: Evander Holyfield was sent “get well soon” cards before facing Mike Tyson. He went on to win against him twice.
- #18: Manny Pacquiao is the only boxing champion to win in 8 different weight classes and the only boxing champion to hold titles in 4 different decades.
- #19: Muhammad Ali never turned down an autograph in his entire career after being rejected by Sugar Ray Robinson.
- #20: Actor Liam Neeson was a former amateur boxing champion.
- #21: About 200 deaths have happened in the boxing ring since the 1980s.
- #22: The most punches thrown in a boxing match was by Soto Karass in a match against Neeco Macias in 2018.
- #23: George Foreman earned more money as an entrepreneur than as a boxer.
- #24: YouTube boxers are one of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
- #25: Mike Tyson once nearly fought against a gorilla.
Without any further delay, let’s get into it.
#1: Boxing Has Origins In Pre-Historic Times
The exact origins of boxing are unknown.
However, the earliest form of boxing dates back as much as 6,000 BCE in what is now Ethiopia.
It later spread to Egypt around 3,000 BCE.
From there, it ended up in other parts of the world such as ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Greece, and Rome.
#2: Boxing Was An Established Sport In Ancient Greece
Here’s an interesting boxing fact.
As with many other sports, boxing as a formal sport has its roots in Ancient Greece.
This ancient Greek boxing was known as Pygmachia.
In fact, it existed as an Olympic sport as early as 688 BCE.
The rules are however different from modern boxing that we know and love.
Here are some of the rules.
There were no time limits or rounds but rather the victor was decided if the opponent gave up or if he was incapacitated.
There was no weight class in this sport and no ring either.
Here’s a fun fact: the first winner of Olympic boxing was a man named Onomastus of Smyrna who was also the person who wrote the rules of ancient Greek boxing.
#3: There Are Three Forms of Boxing
There are two main forms of boxing.
These are amateur boxing and professional boxing.
The former is the style of boxing practised at the collegiate level and in the Olympics.
In amateur boxing, there are a total of 3 rounds that last for 3 minutes each and are scored based on the number of clean hits landed on the opponent.
Then we have professional boxing, which we commonly see on TV.
Professional boxing, like amateur boxing, lasts 3 minutes for each round, but there are a total of up to 12 rounds in one competition.
Professional boxing focuses more on the physical side, where boxers can take up more punishment before the bout is stopped and is scored mainly by how much you dominated each round.
Less known is that a third form of boxing exists—white-collar or semi-professional boxing.
It combines professional boxing rules with the number and length of a round from amateur boxing.
As the name suggests, it is more widely practised by white-collar professionals who never boxed before.
#4: The Boxers With The Most Amount of Knockouts And Wins
Knockouts are the most iconic way a boxing match ends, where one of the boxers is dropped to the ground without being able to stand after 10 seconds of countdown.
But do you know who knocked out the most opponents?
That answer to the million-dollar question is the British Billy Bird, with 139 knockouts as part of his impressive 260 wins during his 28-year-long career.
But you know what’s equally impressive?
Another British man Len Wickwar holds the record for the most boxing matches, where he fought in 473 bouts and simultaneously holds the most wins under his belt of 342.
#5: Boxing Gloves Do More Damage Than Bareknuckles
Here’s a fun boxing fact that’s contrary to popular belief.
Boxing gloves do more damage to your opponent than when punching with bare hands.
Let me explain.
The human hands are surprisingly fragile and if you ever watched bare-knuckle boxing, you’ll realise that punches are thrown less frequently in the sport due to this reason.
Because of the fragility, athletes practising bare-knuckle boxing will know not to throw punches randomly at full force.
However, in boxing, boxing gloves provide cushion to the hands to be able to punch at full force and more frequently.
Harder punches are thrown in boxing without hesitation and while it’s less likely to cause external injuries, it causes more internal damage such as concussions that could lead to long-term brain damage.
Also, boxing gloves give extra weight to the hands and therefore more kinetic energy to the punches.
#6: In 1949, A Man vs. Bear Boxing Match Occurred. The Bear Won.
In 1949, a band of boxing event organisers came up with the idea of setting up a boxing event.
Except, there is one unusual detail: one of the opponents is a bear.
To step up to this daunting challenge, a man named Gus Waldorf came in to box the beast.
As a handicap, the bear had its mouth muzzles, its claws filed, and boxing gloves fitted.
To ensure no escape, the ring had no ropes but was caged up like an MMA bout.
The bear stood in the red corner.
While Gus took up the blue corner.
The man was KO’d by the bear.
#7: The Tragic Story From Sugar Ray Robinson
Sugar Ray Robinson is considered to be one of the greatest boxers in the sport’s history.
But did you know about this boxing fact on what was the lowest point in his career?
Once leading up to a boxing bout, Sugar Ray Robinson dreamt of killing his opponent in the ring.
As a result, he initially wanted to cancel the fight.
However, his minister convinced him to take the fight after consulting about his dream.
Sugar Ray Robinson went on to fight and knocked out his opponent Jimmy Doyle in the 8th round.
Jimmy Doyle would later die in the hospital on the same day.
The ending however doesn’t end completely dark.
Doyle initially wanted to use the money from the boxing bout with Sugar Ray Robinson to buy a house for his mother.
After hearing about this, Sugar Ray Robinson would give the money earnt in the next four bouts to Doyle’s mother to buy her the house.
A true champion in the ring and in his heart.
#8: The Youngest Ever In Boxing
We hear a lot of stats and facts about the youngest to ever start, say for a professional football team.
But do you know about these in boxing?
The youngest boxer to ever turn professional was Nipper Pat Daly at age 9 or 10.
As early as he turned professional, he also retired early.
At 17 years of age.
Now, it might have crossed your mind—who is the youngest ever to win a boxing world title?
That achievement belongs to the Hall of Famer Wilfred “Wilfredo” Benítez.
He would earn the title at 17.
What’s more impressive is that he would later win world titles in two more weight classes and become a triple champion.
#9: The Oldest Ever In Boxing
Likewise, let’s go into the oldest-ever facts about boxing.
The oldest-ever professional boxer to fight was the British Steve Ward at the impressive age of 64 years.
He had his first professional bout back in 1976!
So what about world titles?
That honour belongs to Bernard Hopkins, who is one of the most successful boxers to compete in the past three decades.
He won the world title when he was 49 years old.
Another fun fact: the oldest heavyweight champion to ever win the belt is none other than George Foreman, who won it at 46 years old.
Today, George Foreman is not only a legend in the sport due to his dominance in the heavyweight division during the golden age of boxing of the 1960s, but also the 2nd oldest boxer to ever win a world title!
#10: World Boxing Champions Who Remained Undefeated
You might have heard that Khabib Nurmagomedov is an undefeated champion in MMA.
But what about boxing?
There are two.
One of them is the legendary Rocky Marciano—he is the only heavyweight boxing champion to remain undefeated.
Equally impressive is his stats: he fought in 49 matches and won by KO in 43 of his bouts, making him have a knockout-to-win ratio of 87.8%!
So who’s the other?
That is none other than Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
He is the most high-profile boxer in the last two decades and the greatest defensive boxer to ever compete.
Most impressively, he was the world champion in 5 different weight classes and remained undefeated after 50 bouts.
#11: The Fastest Recorded Knockout In Boxing
Here’s an interesting boxing fact that you’ll want to know.
Some of the most infamous fastest knockouts include the iconic Mike Tyson’s knockout of Marvis Frazier within 30 seconds of the 1st round.
But THE fastest knockout in boxing history?
The date was June 2007 when Phil Williams faced Brandon Burke.
As soon as the bell rang, Burke ran up to Williams and attempted to land the first punch of the match.
However, Williams was having none of it.
He decided to counter by throwing a right hook that cleanly landed on Burke.
Burke then dropped on the canvas like a potato sack.
The match lasted a mere 10 seconds before the referee called it off.
#12: Most Number of Rounds In A Boxing Match
The foundation of modern boxing began with the establishment of what is known as the Marquess of Queensberry Rules.
But before this, boxing was a lot more rawer in form.
There were no limits on the number of rounds nor a time limit and the bout lasted until one of the men was knocked out.
It was because of these rules that results in a boxing match with the most number of rounds.
The date was 1825 in Cheshire, United Kingdom when Jack Jones faced Patsy Tunney.
The boxing match would crown Jones as the victor when Tunney was knocked out by Jones.
However, before this happened, a total of 276 rounds took place that lasted a whopping 4 hours and 30 minutes.
#13: The Longest Boxing Match
See, in the previous boxing match, I forgot to mention an important fact.
The boxing match that took place in 1825 was not in fact the longest boxing match that happened despite lasting 4 hours and 30 minutes.
After the establishment of the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, each round was limited to 3 minutes with a minute of rest in between rounds.
However, back then, there were still no limits to the number of rounds for the match to go to distance.
That’s when the longest match in boxing history happened: on the 6th of April 1893 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, a boxing match took place between Andy Bowen and Jack Burke.
The match lasted for 110 rounds which translates to an impressive length of 7 hours and 19 minutes.
The match would initially be ruled as a no-contest but ended up being changed to a draw.
#14: Most Consecutive World Title Defense
Joe Lewis is a legend in the sport of boxing.
He was nicknamed the “brown bomber” and would inspire many boxers such as the modern-day top heavyweight boxer Deontay “bronze bomber” Wilder.
Joe Lewis was an unstoppable force back in the day and would earn the world title at the age of 23 in 1937.
What was most impressive however was the number of subsequent title defence.
He would successfully defend a staggering 26 times.
This record still holds to this day.
#15: Best-Selling Fight in Boxing History
Boxing is a big business with fans from all around the world.
Therefore, it’s not surprising to hear that millions tune in to watch and pay good money to watch their favourite fighters.
But do you know which fight got the most pay-per-view (PPV) buys and so generated the most revenue?
This happened in 2015 when two of the biggest boxing icons of the last decades—Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao—faced each other.
In this bout, a record 4.6 million PPV buys were recorded and generated 410 million in revenue.
#16: The First Black Heavyweight Champion of The World
The honour of the very first black heavyweight boxing champion of the world belongs to a man named Jack Johnson.
He achieved this feat in 1908 when he fought against Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia.
Jack Johnson was an influential boxer even outside boxing.
He was seen as a symbol of fighting discrimination in the US.
#17: This Boxing Fact About Tyson vs. Holyfield
Here’s a fun boxing fact about Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.
Despite previously already losing in one of boxing’s greatest upsets, Mike Tyson was considered the king of the heavyweight division in the 1980s and early 1990s.
That’s when one of the most famous bouts in heavyweight boxing history happened: Tyson vs. Holyfield.
Holyfield was considered a 25-to-1 underdog entering the match.
People were so confident Tyson would win that fans sent ‘Get Well Soon’ cards to Holyfield before the match.
Holyfield would end up winning not only once, but twice.
#18: The Unbeatable Record of Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao’s journey is inspirational.
Born in the slums of the Philippines, he would rise to become one of the greatest boxers in the sport’s history and the richest athlete in the world.
His record is astonishing: he is the only boxer in history to win world titles in 8 different weight divisions going from flyweight (112lb or 51 kg) up to welterweight (147 lbs or 67 kg).
Another impressive feat is his champion status: he is the only boxer in the history of the sport to be a boxing champion in 4 different decades.
He first gained a world title in the flyweight division when competing in 1998 and won the WBA welterweight title in July 2019 before losing it in 2021.
#19: Why Muhammad Ali Never Turned Down An Autograph
We know Muhammad Ali is a legend in the sport, but did you know why he never turned down an autograph from a fan?
Young Muhammad Ali, or Cassius Clay, was fascinated with the sport of boxing.
His boxing idol was Sugar Ray Robinson.
When the young Ali came up to him for an autograph, he didn’t get one as Robinson said “I don’t have time boy.”
It was from this experience that Ali vowed he would never turn down an autograph from a fan that he honoured in his entire career.
#20: Liam Neeson Was An Irish Amateur Boxing Champion
Today, we know Liam Neeson as a very successful actor.
But here’s an interesting fact.
Liam Neeson started boxing when he was 9 years old at his local club in Northern Ireland and would continue until the age of 17.
He had some talent in the sport, as it turns out, he won multiple regional titles in amateur boxing during his time in the sport.
Maybe that’s why he is great at action movies.
#21: Boxers Unfortunately Still Die In The Ring
No matter how much boxing enthusiasts or boxing trainers try to downplay it, boxing still is a dangerous and violent sport.
Many rules have been established to protect boxers from taking too much punishment.
For example, the number of rounds in professional boxing was reduced from 15 rounds to 12 rounds.
Despite medical staff being present at all times during a boxing match, there are still cases when boxers die fighting in the ring.
Since 1980, there have been around 200 recorded deaths.
A recent case was for Maxim Dadashev in July 2019.
Tragedy struck when the boxer had taken too much punishment before the bout was stopped.
The boxer was rushed to the hospital before passing away from the injuries.
#22: The Most Punches Thrown In A Boxing Match
Boxing is all about throwing punches.
But have you ever wondered how many punches have ever been thrown in a boxing match?
Well, let me answer that for you.
This happened back in 2018 when Soto Karass faced Neeco Macias in a superwelterweight bout.
In this bout, Karass would throw an impressive 1,848 punches in total and won the bout with a majority decision!
#23: George Foreman Earned More As An Entrepreneur Than As A Boxer
Back in the golden age of boxing during the 1960s, he was also one of the highest-paid athletes due to his status.
However, surprisingly, George Foreman becomes more financially successful as an entrepreneur than as a boxer.
This happened when George Foreman endorsed a double-sided electric grill that today bares his name—the George Foreman Grill.
The product was a worldwide hit as it sold more than 100 million units.
Royalties and selling the right to the product’s name allowed George Foreman to make over $200 million—substantially more than he made during his boxing career.
#24: YouTube Boxers Are One of The Highest Paid Athletes
Boxing in the past few decades has been seen as an “old man’s sport.”
However, boxing has recently had its popularity rejuvenated due to the rise of YouTube boxing back in 2017.
Despite the controversial nature of YouTube boxing, it has brought in a younger generation of fans to the sport.
Today, YouTube boxers are some of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
#25: Mike Tyson Once Tried To Fight A Gorilla
Here’s a final boxing fact.
As much as how fearsome he is in the ring, Mike Tyson is an avid animal lover.
It was the 1980s.
He rented an entire zoo for the evening.
It was when he arrived at the gorilla enclosure that he saw something that didn’t sit with him well: one large silverback gorilla was bullying the other weaker gorillas.
It was at this moment that he offered the zookeeper $10,000 to open the enclosure.
In his own words, he wanted to “smash that silverback’s snotbox.”
Luckily for the gorilla, the zookeeper declined the offer.
And that wraps up with the 25 fun boxing facts you might be surprised to hear.
Which do you think was the most interesting?
Let us know in the comment section below.