In boxing everyone loves a good underdog story so in this post we break down the biggest upsets in boxing history as well as some of the more recent upsets in boxing.
From one off wins against the greats, to losses that started the downfall of legendary boxing champions – if there’s one thing that we can learn from these boxing upsets, it’s to never underestimate your opponent and that strategy and resilience triumps all in the ring.
Biggest Upsets in Boxing – Key Points
- If we had to choose the biggest upset in boxing history it would have to be Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson
- Looking toward more recent times, we’d pick Joshua vs Ruiz as the most recent massive upset.
- Finally, here is our top ten list of biggest upsets in boxing of all time:
- Buster Douglas vs Mike Tyson (1990)
- Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua (2019)
- Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman (1974)
- Lennox Lewis vs Hasim Rahman (2001)
- Evander Holyfield vs Mike Tyson (1996)
- Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston (1964)
- Leon Spinks vs Muahmmed Ali (1978)
- Nobuhiro Ishida vs James Kirkland (2011)
- Frankie Randall vs Julio Cesar Chavez (1994)
- Lennox Lewis vs Oliver McCall (1994)
Top 10 Biggest Upsets in Boxing
10. Lennox Lewis vs Oliver McCall (1994)
To start our top 10 biggest upsets in boxing list, lets first look at Lennox Lewis vs Oliver McCall:
Lennox Lewis certainly made a name for himself in the heavyweight division and was riding high, undefeated that is until he fought Oliver McCall.
At the start of the second round, McCall hits a perfect left hook and right straight to knock Lewis down. Lewis rushed to his feet at about the 6 count, but didn’t seem quite stable so the referee called it. Many in support of Lewis said this was an early stoppage, but it really seemed like Lewis only gained some sense of what was happening after the fight was waved off.
However, Lewis eventually managed to regain his glory, becoming one of the most dominant heavyweight boxers of his era before retiring in 2003.
9. Frankie Randall vs Julio Cesar Chavez (1994)
Next up is a fight between Frankie Randall and Julio Cesar Chavez.
Fans believed it would be a smooth ride for the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, who began this clash with an unbeaten record in 90 fights.
On the night of January 29, 1994, it seemed like Randall couldn’t care any less about the overwhelming odds stacked against him. He matched Chavez’s pace and agressiveness.
In the 11th round, Chavez tasted the canvas for the first time in his career; his invincibility had started to crumble.
Despite a point deducted for a low blow on Chavez, Randall won by a narrow split decision. This marked Chavez’s first professional loss, a boxing upset many didn’t see coming
8. Nobuhiro Ishida vs James Kirkland (2011)
On April 9, 2011, a monstrous shock struck the world of boxing when Ishida, a Japanese underdog, faced off against Kirkland, a well-established American pro.
This was Kirkland’s third fight back after spending 18 months in jail, but he still came in as the strong favorite.
Kirkland, a southpaw fighter, was known for his power punching style and had a pretty respectable record at the time of the fight. Throughout his career, he also scored most of his wins through knockout and had only one loss before the fight.
In the beginning of the fight, Kirkland began aggressively, sticking to his power-punching style. However, Ishida held out and weathered the storm.
Ishida got his big break very early on in the fight and within the first round he scored the first knockdown within 30 seconds and then followed up with two more knockdowns in quick succession. After the third knockdown the referee called the fight and Ishida walked away the undeniable victor.
7. Leon Spinks vs Muahmmed Ali (1978)
Leon Spinks came into this fight with verteran Muhammad Ali with only 8 professional fights under his belt.
Most people wrote off his lack of experience and thought this would be an easy win for Ali, but in this case youtuhful reselence beat out experience.
After an exhausting 15-round bout, Spinks was declared the victor. This historical win made him the only fighter to take a title from Muhammad Ali in the ring.
6. Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston (1964)
Another bout that includes Muhammend Ali (then going by Cassius Clay) – Sonny Liston, heading into the match was considered unbeatable with 35 victories out of 36 professional fights.
Here was Clay, however, a 7-1 underdog, full of confidence and self-belief. I’m pretty sure these are one of the cases where verbal taunting and psychological warfare before the fight not only drew a ton of attention but also got in the head of Liston.
Clay being just 22 years old, drawing up to the fight, was also seen as too inexperienced to face a proven veteran like Liston.
Despite these odds, the fight unfolded in a vastly unexpected manner. Clay, later not only beat Liston but did it in a fashion that left the audience stunned. His agility and speed proved decisive factors in claiming victory.
Liston was forced to retire to his corner at the beginning of the seventh round, citing a shoulder injury.
5. Evander Holyfield vs Mike Tyson (1996)
No, this wasn’t the fight involving impromptu ear removal (that was their second fight).
At this point in Tyson’s career he was consdiered nearly invincible. With both the WBA and WBC belts under his name, he seemed unstoppable, and almost everyone believed Holyfield’s end was nearing.
Some fans were even sending Holyfield “get well” cards before the fight even took place.
As the rounds progressed, Tyson showed signs of exhaustion which Holyfield took advantage of, dealing him a swift punch and ending the game in the 11th round.
The bout was later named “Upset of the Year” by Ring Magazine, highlighting its shock value.
The second encounter between these champions was held in Las Vegas on June 28, 1997, and was this one was the one famously recognized as “The Bite Fight”.
Tyson sought revenge for his humiliation in the first battle; however, it ended outrageously with Tyson biting off a part of Holyfield’s ear, which led to his disqualification.
4. Lennox Lewis vs Hasim Rahman (2001)
This is another upset that happened later in Lennow Lewis’s career.
At this point Lennox Lewis, an invincible boxing titan, with a relentless jab was suddenly knocked out in the fifth round by Hasim Rahman.
Lewis entered the match as an undisputed heavyweight champion, having defeated many top fighters such as Evander Holyfield. He dismissed Rahman an underdog, somewhat noticeably undertraining for the match.
As round five started, Rahman displayed some pretty remarkable dominance. He sent Lewis spiralling to the ropes with a hard right-hand punch, knocking Lewis out completely.
3. Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman (1974)
We had to include the “Rumble in the Jungle” on this list.
At the time, Foreman was an undefeatable force. He had dominated the boxing ring with his aggressive fighting style and raw power, leaving his opponents, including greats like Joe Frazier, in the dust.
Muhammad Ali, on the other hand, was viewed as past his prime and was widely expected to be defeated.
Ali implemented his now-famous “rope-a-dope” strategy where he spent much of the fight against the ropes, absorbing Foreman’s punches, and letting him exhaust himself.
By the late rounds, Foreman had spent all of his energy, and Ali capitalized. With a series of rapid punches Ali brought down the visibly worn-out Foreman.
2. Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua (2019)
The most recent fight that we definitely had to include on this top ten list is the fight between Ruiz and Joshua.
Anthony Joshua, an Olympic gold medalist and unified world heavyweight champion, was expected to emerge easily victorious against the less popular Ruiz.
Joshua came in looking in incredible shape with some formidable KO power.
He had sailed through most of his earlier fights with an impeccable record of 22-0. Most analysts and fans predicted a victory for the British star against Ruiz, who stepped up as a late replacement and didn’t quite fit the physical mold of a traditional heavyweight champion.
Howver, Ruiz’s hand speed, pressure, and sheer ability to take a punch enabled him to drop Joshua four times en route to a seventh-round stoppage.
1. Buster Douglas vs Mike Tyson (1990)
While many fights ranked on this list can be argued, we feel that the biggest upset in boxing ever has to go to Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson with his 10th round KO over Tyson.
If there’s one video I recommend you watch on this post its, got to be this one above from the espn archives.
Buster Douglas was a 42-to-1 underdog, expected to serve as yet another stepping stone for Tyson. Ahead of the tenth round, the odds seemed fitting as Tyson landed a knockdown punch on Douglas.
In the 10th round with a memorable right uppercut, followed by four punches, Douglas knocked Tyson down for the first time in his career. Tyson failed to beat the referee’s count, and against all odds Douglas was declared the winner.
Other Boxing Upsets to Note:
Michael Spinks vs Larry Holmes (1985)
Michael Spinks, light-heavyweight champion, and Larry Holmes, reigning heavyweight was pitted against each other in 1985, with many expecting Holmes to dominate the contest due to his superior frame and weight advantage.
While strength and size will always play a factor in boxing and martial arts, Spinks showed that strategy, timing, angles, and technique also play huge factors.
To the surprise of many, Spinks did more than hold his own against Holmes. He used his agility and boxing smarts to create openings, mixing his strikes for variety and keeping Holmes on the back foot. Despite the size disadvantage, he cleverly angled his strikes, throwing his punches where they mattered the most.
After 15 rounds, Michael Spinks was awarded the victory via a unanimous decision. He became the first light-heavyweight champion to win a heavyweight title.
James Braddock vs Max Baer (1935)
Nicknamed “The Cinderella Man,” (see also movie with Russell Crowe) James Braddock lived up to his alias in his duel against reigning champion Max Baer.
Braddock, an underdog unprepared for a fight with the destructive Baer, was written off even before the match.
Baer, the reigning Ring, NBA, and NYSAC heavyweight champion, was undeniably intimidating, having knocked out heavyweights like Schmeling and Carnera. But Jim Braddock proved everyone wrong. He braved Baer’s brutal attacks, absorbing blow after blow, and staying in the fight for the entire 15 rounds.
This match provided Braddock the championship and three heavyweight titles. However, his fairy tale ended when he was subsequently defeated by the mighty Joe Louis.
Ray Leonard vs Marvin Hagler (1987)
‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard set a historical precedent when he reigned victorious against Marvin “Marvelous” Hagler.
With odds primarily against Leonard due to Hagler’s undisputed prowess in the ring, Leonard’s victory still remains one of the most significant upsets in the history of boxing.
At the time of the bout, Hagler reigned as the middleweight champion with 67 wins including 52 KO’s, and only three losses.
Leonard, on the other hand, a former welterweight, had not stepped into the ring since his previous bout three years ago.
Leonard cleverly used the ring to his advantage, keeping a significant distance in the early rounds. His strategic play and resilience marked the end of Hagler’s seven-year reign as middleweight champion.
Lenroy Thomas vs Dave Allen (2018)
For the Brits, this one might sting a little..
In the first fight between Lenry Thomas and Dave Allen in 2017, the bout was cut short after Dave Allen sustained a cut. Even though Allen had lost narrowly to Thomas in their first fight, for their rematch, almost everyone had high hopes for ‘The White Rhino’ Allen.
However, Thomas came in sharp, combining tactical maneuvers with accurately timed punches, catching the Englishman off guard and properly deaing with his relentless attacks.
The fight was left pretty uncertain until the final round when Thomas amped up his offensive attacks, while subtly dodging Allen’s offensive moves and retaliating with his powerful hits.
Eventually, the fight went in favor of Thomas, stripping away Allen’s invincibility.
Joe Frazier vs George Foreman (1973)
For a long time, Frazier held an undisputed reign in the boxing world, making his name one that was synonymous with dominion and invincibility. A match with Frazier for anyone was perceived by many as a recipe for a crushing defeat.
Despite Frazier’s notable reputation and imposing record, Foreman was fully prepared to bring his signature power into the ring, and he did.
In a fight that left spectators shocked, Foreman thrashed Frazier, dominating him with relentless and tactful punches.
By the end of the second round, Frazier had met the canvas multiple times while struggling to fend off Foreman’s punches.
Victory was declared in favor of Foreman after an exceptionally grueling match-up. This victory didn’t just earn Foreman the winning title; it secured him a spot in the history books as the man who triumphantly toppled the immensely decorated Joe Frazier.
Ray Mercer vs Larry Holmes
Another mentionable fight in boxing history was the colossal upset in the match between Ray Mercer and Larry Holmes.
Mercer, a distinguished champion with a commendable track record, was placed in the ring against Holmes, an underestimated contender. For Holmes, despite making a name for himself against formidable competition, the cross-country bouts had indeed taken a toll, and many counted him out.
Nonetheless, Holmes validated his ring presence, even in the twilight of his career.
Contrary to various predictions, Larry Holmes stood firm as a rock, strategically navigating Ray Mercer’s potent jabs and slowly tilting the fight in his favor.
Holmes’ unique advantage lay in his experience. Regardless of time not being a friend, Holmes had the knowledge to strategize his game, exploiting Mercer’s weaknesses and executing his well-rehearsed moves that turned the tide against Mercer.
Jhonny Gonzalez vs Abner Mares (2013)
The clash between Mexican boxer Jhonny Gonzalez and Abner Mares definitely had an unexpected end.
Even though both fighters were seasoned in their craft, Mares was probably the clear-cut favorite. He was youthful, talented, and held an impeccable professional record, most of which consisted of definitive victories.
Conversely, Gonzalez, though a solid fighter, had previously experienced a couple of surprising defeats and came into the fight as the 5-to-1 underdog.
As the fight started, Gonzalez came in sharp and had meticulously honed his strategy. Without wasting a moment, Gonzalez pressured Mares, unsettling him with his aggressive style.
Mares struggled to withstand Gonzalez’s assault as he was knocked down twice in the first round itself.
Despite the blows, Mares bravely got back on his feet, attempting to retaliate. However, Gonzalez’s power was simply overwhelming, leading to his declaration as the victor and effectively dethroning Mares in the end.
Vince Phillips vs Kostya Tszyu (1997)
In 1997, Vince Phillips came out with a shocking upset by conquering the undefeated Kostya Tszyu.
Tszyu, a Russian professional boxer, had a perfect winning streak of 14-0 and was a recurrent figure in boxing headlines due to his aggressive style. His dominance in numerous bouts had certainly solidified his intimidating presence in the boxing arena.
Phillips, an American boxer, had a mixed career with a mix of wins and losses. Definitely seen as the underdog in this bout, he wasn’t expected to dismantle Tszyu’s invincibility.
However, Phillips engaged in a punch-for-punch trade-off with Tszyu throughout the match. He braved Tszyu’s onslaughts and remained sturdy against adversity.
Seizing the tenth round, he unloaded a flurry of punches, leaving Tszyu stunned and rattled. Citing an injury, Tszyu’s corner called it, marking one of the most significant upsets in boxing history.
Josesito Lopez vs Victor Ortiz (2012)
The fight between Josesito Lopez and Victor Ortiz is no doubt the tale of an underdog defying the odds.
Ortiz, a solid southpaw, had solidified his place in the boxing world. Ortiz had a robust track record of decisive wins against some notable opponents. Some say Ortiz, entering the fight in June 2012, was distracted by a potential match against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, leading him to underestimate Lopez.
On the other hand, Lopez was viewed as a mere stepping stone for Ortiz. A moderately successful boxer in the light welterweight division, he wasn’t really perceived as a serious threat to Ortiz’s position in the professional circuit.
Contrary to expectations, Lopez demonstrated exceptional punching prowess, not allowing Ortiz’s powerful hooks to take him down.
He strategically sidestepped Ortiz, and answered with effective counterpunches that dealt visible damage. His resilience and counter punching resulted in a broken jaw for Ortiz, who unexpectedly conceded after the ninth round.
Max Schmeling vs Joe Louis (1936)
We couldn’t write this post and not include the fight between Joe Louis and Nazi favorite Max Schmeling.
This 1936 encounter brought about the first defeat of Louis’s career, a monumental achievement given Louis’ reputation.
Schmeling capitalized on a critical flaw in Louis’s defense, by studying Louis he found that he had a tendency to drop his left guard, leaving him vulnerable to powerful right punches.
So, the underdog Schmeling entered the fight armed with a tactical advantage that enabled him to stagger Louis repeatedly, and eventually emerged victorious.
To understand the magnitude of this upset, one must appreciate Louis’ form at the time – he seemed unstoppable, having beaten former champions Max Baer and Primo Carnera. His path to the championship seemed inevitable, until Schmeling disrupted Louis’ course with a keen strategic awareness in a thrilling 12-round contest.
Schmeling’s tenacity demonstrated the advantage of strategic preparation, proving that a well-analyzed strategy could yield astonishing results, even against an apparently invincible opponent.
The impact of Schmeling’s win is further magnified considering the socio-political climate of the time. Not only did his victory secure his place in boxing history, but it also sparked political turmoil and inflamed racial tensions between Germany and the United States.
Despite this victory, Schmeling’s triumph was short-lived, as Louis took his revenge with a first-round knockout in their 1938 rematch. Yet, the 1936 fight remains one of the biggest boxing upsets, a testament to Schmeling’s cognitive boxing acumen.
Lloyd Honeyghan vs Donald Curry (1986)
The 1986 showdown between Lloyd Honeyghan and Donald Curry resulted in another of the most unexpected outcomes in boxing history.
Curry stepped into the ring as the reigning welterweight boxing champion, with an undefeated record of 25 victories, including 20 knockouts. On the other hand, Honeyghan, a relatively unknown British boxer, had received little attention before being awarded a shot at the title.
Contrary to expectations, Honeyghan overcame overwhelming odds and defeated Curry in a stunner that resonated worldwide. Honeyghan showcased resilience and determination, overcoming Curry’s leading blows and round-by-round asserting his dominance.
By the sixth round, Curry voluntarily bowed out, citing a lingering stomach ailment – a testament to Honeyghan’s legacy-defining upset victory.
Fritzie Zivic vs Henry Armstrong (1940)
Fritzie Zivic and Henry Armstrong’s historic bout in 1940 was known for being one of the biggest upsets in boxing history so we had to include it on this list.
Armstrong was riding high on a record twenty-seven consecutive knockouts, which definitely painted him as the indisputable favorite. In this bout, he was defending the iconic world welterweight title for a whopping nineteenth time.
Armstrong’s impeccable record of victories was thought to be unbeatable until he faced less-known Zivic, a gritty competitor with a reputation for roughhouse tactics.
The match was far from what spectators had anticipated. Zivic made strategic use of the no-foul rule, which was rarely implemented at the time, and launched a series of allegedly illegal tactics…elbows, well-timed head butts, and even quick low blows were all in his repetoire.
This unanticipated strategy caught Armstrong off guard, allowing Zivic to take control of the 15-round encounter.
Carlos Baldomir vs Zab Judah (2006)
In 2006 came another remarkable upset with the unlikely triumph of Carlos Baldomir over acclaimed champion Zab Judah.
Judah was a remarkable performer, holding the IBF Junior Welterweight, WBA Super, WBC, The Ring, and lineal welterweight titles.
Baldomir, on the other hand, was a less accomplished boxer from Argentina with a rather average track record.
The match, however, told a different story. Judah prepared to face Baldomir as a stepping stone to a high-profile fight with the boxing luminary Floyd Mayweather Jr.
His underestimation of Baldomir’s talents turned the match in the latter’s favor. Baldomir defied the odds, displaying an unparalleled level of skill and resilience, nullifying Judah’s fast-paced attacks and scoring effectively throughout the fight.
This unexpected victory for Baldomir altered his career trajectory, propelling him to global fame almost overnight. It also served as a stark reminder to all boxers that underestimating opponents, regardless of their prior achievements, can lead to detrimental consequences.
Kirkland Laing vs Roberto Duran (1982)
The fight between British welterweight Kirkland Laing and Panamanian boxing legend Roberto Duran is another one of the most significant upsets in boxing history that we couldn’t not mention.
Going into the match, Duran, a ferocious, hard-hitting brawler, was considered a heavy favorite with his three-weight world champion pedigree. While Laing, in contrast, was relatively unknown with a reputation for inconsistency.
Many say the victory for Laing in this match was largely due to his unpredictable boxing style. His unconvential moves and erratic pace seemed to throw off Duran and, ultimately, stopped Duran from getting into his usual rhythm.
Laing displayed remarkable defensive skills, managing to evade Duran’s power punches while landing precise jabs that slowly and steadily wore the Panamanian power-puncher out.
Not only did Laing defy expectations by lasting ten rounds against Duran, but he also maintained control throughout the bout.
James Toney vs Michael Nunn (1991)
James Toney versus Michael Nunn is another historic match worth mentioning.
This fight took place on May 10, 1991, for the IBF middleweight title at the Davenport’s John O’Donnell Stadium.
In boxing circles, Nunn was revered as a prodigious talent with a remarkable record of 36-0 and rated fifth on the pound for pound list. He was also the reigning middleweight champion for three years, who had overcome some pretty challenging contenders impressively.
Toney, on the other hand, was somewhat of a newcomer with a less stellar (but still impressive) record of 24-0-1. This projected Nunn as an overwhelming favorite; many barely gave Toney any chance.
Nunn dominated the early part of the fight, making his youth and boxing finesse seem insurmountable. But Toney’s determination became evident, and the tide began to shift in the later rounds.
In the 11th round, Toney delivered a powerful left hook to Nunn’s chin that completely changed the course of the match. Unable to recover, Nunn was counted out, and James Toney was the new IBF middleweight champion.
Ricardo Mayorga vs Vernon Forrest (2003)
Next, we delve into the instance of a pretty amazing upset between Ricardo Mayorga and Vernon Forrest.
Held on January 25, 2003, this event became another valuable boxing lesson on underestimating one’s opponent.
In the run-up to the fight, Forrest was enjoying an elite status as WBC welterweight champion. With a sterling record of 35-0 and boasting names like Sugar Shane Mosley on his defeated list, it goes with out saying but I’ll say it – Forrest was expected to steamroll over Mayorga.
Mayorga, in contrast, was relatively unknown and certainly bereft of elite boxing credentials that Forrest had.
Unfazed by Forrest’s reputation, Mayorga handled the fight with a fierce aggression that threw Forrest off his game.
By the third round, Mayorga’s relentless onslaught had knocked Forrest down twice, forcing the referee to stop the bout in favor of the underdog. The boxing world was taken aback; Mayorga had become the new welterweight champion.
The rematch offered Forrest a chance at redemption, but again, Mayorga emerged victorious, reinforcing his win as more than a fluke.
Antonio Tarver vs Roy Jones Jr. (2004)
When Antonio Tarver met Roy Jones Jr. for their championship bout in 2004, boxing enthusiasts and analysts definitely had their money on Jones Jr.
This boxing legend had been the reigning pound-for-pound king, with a remarkable track record that included wins over greats such as Bernard Hopkins and James Toney.
On the other hand, we had Antonio Tarver – a challenger who was formidable but had already suffered a narrow loss to Jones Jr. in their first encounter. Yet, this setback did not daunt Tarver; he was motivated more than ever to claim victory.
As expected, the duo’s rematch began with Jones Jr. seemingly taking control, despite some moments of brilliance by Tarver.
The rematch then took an unexpected twist in the second round. Tarver floored Jones Jr. with an overhand left. Unable to regain his footing before the ten-count, Jones Jr. lost, marking the first stoppage defeat of his career.
This knockout by Tarver is still considered one of the biggest upsets in the boxing realm, as it ended Jones Jr.’s reign and cemented Tarver’s position amongst boxing’s elite.
George Foreman vs Michael Moorer (1994)
Another remarkable upset came in 1994 when George Foreman squared off against Michael Moorer for the IBF and WBA heavyweight titles.
Foreman, a living legend, was aged 45 and, by this time, largely considered past his prime. On the flip side, Moorer was a talented boxer in his prime. He had just defeated Evander Holyfield. As a result, he was the crowd and bookies’ favorite going into this match.
The fight started with Moorer executing his game plan effectively, using his jab to keep Foreman at bay. Foreman found it hard to breach Moorer’s defense; the hard-hitting Foreman that fans loved seemed to be a thing of the past.
Moorer dominated the initial nine rounds, enforcing the narrative that he was the superior boxer. But, as we know in boxing, it only takes one punch to alter the course of a fight.
And, that punch came via Foreman in the 10th round. It was a right hand that found its mark, landing perfectly on Moorer. The advancing champion hit the canvas, failing to beat the referee’s count.
As a result, Foreman became the oldest heavyweight champion–an incredible feat given the age and skill of his adversary.
Michael Bentt vs Tommy Morrison (1993)
While casual fans may know Tommy Morrison from Rocky V, he was actually a very legitamate boxer that earned quite a name for himself.
In 1993, Michael Bentt, in a pretty massive upset, would dim Morrisons shine and some say led to his downfall.
Bentt, a relative newcomer to the professional scene at that time, was pitted against the seasoned and celebrated Morrison.
At thime time, to the world, Morrison was the champion: a heavyweight titan with an impressive track record and a staunch fan following. Tommy was already being eyed for a multi-million dollar bout with Lennox Lewis. Little did anyone predict that the scales would tip so dramatically.
Entering the fight, Bentt was the underdog with five wins and one loss on his record, a stark contrast to Morrison’s 38 wins and only one loss. Morrison had built a reputation as one of the fiercest competitors the sport had ever seen, making this match a seemingly uphill task for Bentt.
However, it unfolded extraordinarily. Bentt, with sheer determination and a tactical execution of his game plan, managed to knock Morrison down flat – not once, but three times giving him the decisive win over Morrison.
Recent Boxing Upsets:
Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr. (2019)
Although we mentioned this fight already, we truly cannot mention recent boxing upsets without talking about Ruiz’s massive upset win over Joshua.
Once again, Anthony Joshua, a British professional boxer, heavyweight champion, and generally dominant force in the ring, faced Andy Ruiz Jr., an underdog not expected to pose too much of a challenge. In fact, Joshua was looking forward to a fight against undefeated contenders Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, but Ruiz Jr. had different plans in mind.
In the third round, Ruiz sent Joshua to the canvas, marking the first time Joshua had ever been knocked down in his professional career. Joshua managed to recover, but Ruiz Jr. was relentless, repeating the feat twice more in the seventh round leading to a referee stoppage.
Famously post-match, Ruiz Jr. said, “I wanted to prove everybody wrong, all the doubters thinking that I was gonna lose in the third round, first round. I was looking at comments as well. But what do you know, I’m the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world.”
Josh Warrington vs Mauricio Lara (2021)
In 2021, a shocking upset in the world of boxing unfolded when Mauricio Lara defeated Josh Warrington.
Leading into the fight, Warrington had an incredible boxing career. He had 30 wins under his belt, boasting a streak with zero losses. He had successfully defended his IBF Featherweight title on multiple occasions.
For Mauricio Lara, this match was an opportunity to display his talents against a top-rated fighter.
The first few rounds saw Warrington trying to establish his dominance, however, Lara was brimming with resilience. The Mexican displayed his strength and knocked Warrington down in the fourth round, signaling a shift in the fight’s dynamics.
Warrington picked himself up and continued to fight bravely but found Lara an insurmountable force. Showing outstanding boxing skills and exceptional power, Lara knocked Warrington out cold in the ninth round.
Fury vs Klitschko (2015)
The match between Fury and Klitschko on 28 November 2015 is another one of boxing’s recent greatest upsets that viewers will never forget. This is before Fury becamse a household name in heavyweight boxing.
This was for the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles. At that time, Wladimir Klitschko, nicknamed Dr. Steelhammer, was a Ukrainian professional boxer widely recognized for his tactical acumen, devastating punch, and indomitable spirit.
Many assumed he would easily defeat Tyson Fury, whom many considered an opponent who was merely along for the ride.
At this time, Fury had been slowly but steadily building confidence and reputation in the heavyweight division. Ahead of the fight, he was considered just another opponent for Klitschko, who had dominated the heavyweight boxing landscape for the past decade. Despite Klitschko’s reigning status, Fury was not deterred.
Fury’s strategy entailed employing an unorthodox style, with unpredictable shifts in guard stances—transitioning from orthodox to southpaw and vice versa.
Fury’s onslaught, coupled with his spontaneous style, seemed to have taken Klitschko off guard. He made use of his height and reach advantage, effectively establishing a commanding jab. It was a masterstroke from Fury’s corner, which left Klitschko frustrated as he struggled to find an answer to Fury’s relentless attacks.
The brilliant showcase from Fury earned him a surprising unanimous decision victory.
Bellew vs Haye (2018)
The showdown between Tony Bellew and David Haye provides yet another example of an underestimated contender triumphing over a renowned champion.
While Haye was the favorite, Bellew’s victory showcased the unpredictable charm the sport of boxing often serves its fans across the world.
Haye’s track record, filled with swift, forceful victories, made him a favorite against Bellew, whose wins mainly came from bouts in the cruiserweight division. Haye was known for his knockout power and had more experience in the heavyweight division.
However, Bellew proved to be a formidable contender. One advantage of Bellew’s game plan was his ability to absorb Haye’s powerful strikes while strategically wearing him down throughout the fight.
In the 11th round, a visibly injured Haye was stopped by the referee after being knocked down by Bellew multiple times. Bellew’s technical prowess and tenacity won over Haye’s explosive power in this infamous match.
AJ vs Charles ‘The God’ Martin (2016)
Now we bring up another fight with Anthony Joashua (AJ) when he fought Charles Martin.
At the time, the fight was viewed as a significant step up for AJ, who was considered as a rising British heavyweight at the time.
Martin, the IBF heavyweight champion, was expected to provide a stern test for AJ, predominantly due to the American’s height advantage and his remarkable knockout power. Many thought Martin was a challenge that could present AJ with scenarios he hadn’t faced before in his professional boxing career, particularly with Martin’s unconventional southpaw stance and his ability to land heavy strikes from afar.
However, AJ demonstrated his championship credentials, exhibiting his exceptional boxing skills and showcasing his incredible knockout-centric style.
In the second round, AJ managed to knock Martin down twice, resulting in a stoppage and subsequently crowning AJ as the new IBF heavyweight world champion.
Bivol vs Canelo Alverez (2022)
Dmitry Bivol and Canelo Alvarez are both regarded as some of the best boxers in the world. In a shocking turn of events, the underdog Dmitry Bivol came out on top in this bout.
If we had to choose, the one key factor contributing to Bivol’s stunning accomplishment was his resilience and precise technique.
Canelo Alverez was touted as an unstoppable force, having clinched victories against Sergey Kovalev and Callum Smith. These achievements earned him the unified super middleweight championship.
Bivol’s determined preparation before the match helped him outperform Alvarez, employing a strategy that focused on Alverez’s weaknesses. The result was a stunning upset in favor of Bivol that left the boxing world buzzing.
Cristofer Rosales vs Daigo Higa (2018)
Another recent up worht mentioning was between Nicaragua’s Cristofer Rosales and Japan’s Daigo Higa, Rosales.
Higa had enjoyed an pretty impeccable streak of victories and possessing the WBC flyweight title at the time. In the eyes of boxing enthusiasts, this fight seemed one-sided, favoring Higa.
The presence of mind exhibited by Rosales was evident when he nullified Higa’s aggressive stance by maintaining his own speed and agility. Rosales’s smart strategy and commendable effort to neutralize Higa’s dominance over the rounds showed his preparedness and determination.
The result? An impressive upset, with Rosales outscoring Higa to secure the WBC flyweight title. Rosales’s win against Higa reiterates boxing’s fundamental tenet – may the best man win, irrespective of the reputations and accolades.
Teófimo López vs Vasiliy Lomachenko (2020)
A relatively young, explosive powerhouse, López, faced off against a seasoned, technically sound maestro in Lomachenko. The showdown served as a litmus test for López’s legitimacy as a top-tier fighter.
Going up against an opponent like Lomachenko was widely considered a seasoned and practically unbeatable force, was an audacious move in and of itself.
López refused to succumb to the disorienting defensive mastery that Lomachenko is known for; instead, he skilfully kept his composure while landing body shots to slow Lomachenko. He proved that the faith people held in him was justified by achieving a unified lightweight championship by a unanimous decision.
When we Looking at some of the match statistics, López attempted 659 punches to Lomachenko’s 321, which indicated López’s strategic intention to abolish Lomachenko’s usual defenses with a flurry of shot applications.
Jai Opetaia vs Latvia Mairis Briedis (2022)
The exciting Jai Opetaia vs Mairis Briedis match-up is definitely one to remember. This bout featured Australia’s very own, Jai Opetaia, a phenomenal southpaw with an undefeated record, going up against a highly skilled and experienced Latvian opponent, Mairis Briedis. This face-off produced arguably one of the biggest surprises in recent boxing history.
From the start, Opetaia showcased his agility, precision, and technique. Despite being pushed to his limits by the relentless Briedis, he managed to secure victory through several round triumphs. The official scores by the judges were 116-112, 116-112, and 115-113, marking a clear win for Opetaia.
Briedis sustained a substantial cut above his right eye early on in the first round. This rattled Briedis while Opetaia capitalised on the situation. His determination, unyielding spirit, and exceptional boxing prowess led him to the coveted Ring and the prestigious International Boxing Federation (IBF) cruiserweight titles.
Forrest vs Mosley
Recalling significant upsets in boxing history, the match-up between Shane Mosley and Vernon Forrest definitely ranks high. Mosley entered the ring riding on a reputation of being an extraordinary fighter with quick reflexes and a gentleman’s persona off the ring. His relentless boxing style, made up of a distinctive combination of speed and power, has won him many matches.
However, Forrest, equipped with a consistent knockout percentage, incredible height advantage, and strong jabs, was undeterred by Mosley’s status. He entered the ring with a purpose and met Mosley head-on. Vernon landed a significant number of fierce punches on Mosley in rounds two and eight, leading to a ten-seven, and a ten-nine score, respectively. This came as a surprise to many considering Mosley’s glowing reputation.
In the final round, Forrest inflicted further damage to Mosley, asserting his dominance in the ring. Using his expertise in boxing tactics, he adeptly landed heavy punches, punching his way to the victory. The judges’ scorecards confirmed Forrest as the victor, proving that upsets are indeed a part of this unpredictable sport. This fight stands as compelling evidence that anything can happen in the boxing ring.
Related Frequently Asked Questions:
What Are the Richest Fights in Boxing History?
Perhaps the most influential and money spinning duel in boxing history was the highly anticipated face-off between Mayweather and Pacquiao, taking center stage in 2015. Collectively, the fight generated an incredible $890 million revenue, making it the apex of commercial boxing matches.
Mayweather received $293 million in total earnings, while Pacquiao took home $160 million. The magnitude of this event in terms of financial turnover was unprecedented, overshadowing all previous professional matches.
A close second was Mayweather’s return in 2017 when he went head-to-head with McGregor in a high-stakes match that was expected to topple existing revenue records. The fight generated tremendous excitement and managed to accrue $867 million, tantalisingly close to surpassing Mayweather and Pacquiao’s fight.
One advantage Mayweather had in both fights was his undeniable appeal to viewers, which contributed significantly to the matches’ high earnings.
Evaluating these details, it becomes clear that Mayweather’s high-profile matches have consistently reaped the highest earnings.
What Was the Highest Win in Boxing History?
The honor of having the most wins in Boxing history is held by Len Wickwar. Wickwar notched up an astonishing 340 victories in an extensive career that spanned from 1928 to 1947. The impressive win is considered an unbreakable record, demonstrating Wickwar’s tenaciousness as a boxer. Interestingly, Wickwar’s career was also marked by an incredible 470 fights, a tally that’s equally unparalleled, solidifying his status as a legendary boxing icon.
One of Wickwar’s noteworthy advantages was his ability to consistently outperform his opponents, despite having faced a staggering number of fighters in the span of his career.
In light of these facts, we can truly appreciate Wickwar’s robust contribution to the sport of boxing. His extraordinary career and record-setting triumphs serve as a benchmark for modern boxers. This achievement tops the boxing chart with highest victories, a record that has remained uncontested for more than 70 years.
Who Was the Most Feared Man in Boxing History?
Often referred to as the most powerful man to lace up a pair of boxing gloves, Mike Tyson scared opponents and made boxing enthusiasts nervous with his terrifying power and raw aggression. The youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history, Tyson’s unruly style and menacing aura placed him on a pedestal above his components.
Dominating the ring in the late 1980s, this fearsome contender dominated with impressive stats and a record of 50 wins from 58 fights, with 44 of them coming by knockout.
One advantage that Tyson had over his opponents was his ability to instill fear in them even before they stepped into the ring. He not only intimidated other fighters, but his performances often left the audience partially spellbound and partially unnerved.
Tyson embodied fierceness, far beyond the physical realm and into psychological warfare, a facet of boxing that he mastered exceptionally.
A staggering 22 out of his 44 knockout victories occurred in the first round itself, highlighting his fast and fierce approach, making him a force to be reckoned with. He annihilated world champions and unflinching contenders alike, leaving them devastated in his wake.
Who Were the Biggest Punchers in Boxing History?
When it comes to devastating punches, one name that inevitably pops up is George Foreman. While younger boxing fans may only know him as the man with the grill, if we had to choose one boxer with the most devastating punches it would be George Foreman.
With a formidable stature of 6 feet 3 inches and weighing about 220 pounds, Foreman was a power-punching behemoth whose raw strength spelled doom for his opponents. Besides claiming the World Heavyweight Championship twice, he maintained a career spanning over 20 years, accumulating 76 wins with an astonishing 68 of them by knockout.
From the perspective of statistics, the sheer count of Foreman’s knockout victories presents a compelling case for his reputation. His 68 knockouts from 81 total fights account for an incredible 83.95% knockout rate. This not only portrays his knack for landing bone-crushing blows but also symbolizes his sustained dominance in the ring.
What Was Mike Tyson’s Fighting Record?
From 1985-2005, Mike Tyson had 58 professional fights, winning 50 of them and had 6 losses and 2 no contests. So he had a total recrod of 50-6-2.
Interestingly, 44 of these wins were obtained through knockouts, which is a testament to his sheer striking power. However, Tyson’s career was not always a smooth upward trajectory. He suffered six losses, and two of his bouts ended in no-contest.
What Was Muhammed Ali’s Fighting Record?
During this time, Ali secured a staggering 56 victories out of his 61 total fights. Of these wins, 37 were via knockout. Ali faced defeat only five times in his career, a statistic that reflects his innate fighting ability and resilience. So he had a record of 56-5
What Was George Foremans Fighting Record?
George Foreman, remembered as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers, has a fighting record that stands as a testament to his prowess in the ring. Throughout his career, Foreman fought 81 matches and claimed victory in an overwhelming 76 out of these. These victories included an impressive 68 knockouts, demonstrating his ferocity and lethal striking ability. Only five of his matches resulted in losses, making his win percentage an astonishing 93.8 percent. So he had a record of 76-5.
What Was the Biggest Upset in UFC History?
Lastly, UFC had many massive upsets even though it has been active far shorter than many boxing organizations.
One of the biggest upsets in UFC history is arguably the match between Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November 2015. Rousey, who was undefeated before this, was considered the clear favorite to win, with all her prior defenses ending in the first round. However, Holly Holm was set to rewrite this narrative as she stepped into the Octagon.