Height is often seen as an advantage in boxing, but it’s not a necessity for success. Numerous short boxers have proven that they can rise to the top and make their mark in history.
Here, we present a list of top short boxers across different weight divisions, showcasing their achievements and the impact they’ve made in the sport.
Heavyweight (> 90.7 kg, 200 lb)
Rocky Marciano (5’10.5″ / 179 cm)
Rocky Marciano, known as “The Brockton Blockbuster,” was born in 1923 in Brockton, Massachusetts.
This legendary fighter held the heavyweight title for four years and retired undefeated, a feat that is still unmatched today.
With the shortest arm span (reach) among titleholders in this weight division, he proved that height and reach are not the only determinants of success.
Joe Frazier (5’11.5″ / 182 cm)
Joe Frazier, or “Smokin’ Joe,” was born in 1944 in Beaufort, South Carolina. As a former Olympic gold medalist and undisputed heavyweight champion, Frazier was known for his devastating left hook and relentless fighting style.
He had a legendary rivalry with Muhammad Ali, participating in three epic fights, including the “Fight of the Century” and the “Thrilla in Manila.”
Cruiserweight (<90.7 kg / 200 lb)
Evander Holyfield (6’2″ / 189 cm)
Evander Holyfield, also known as “The Real Deal,” was born in 1962 in Atmore, Alabama. A former undisputed champion in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, Holyfield is the only boxer to have won the heavyweight championship four times.
His memorable fights include the infamous “Bite Fight” against Mike Tyson and a trilogy against Riddick Bowe.
Dwight Muhammad Qawi (5’7″ / 170 cm)
Dwight Muhammad Qawi, born in 1953 in Baltimore, Maryland, was a former WBC and WBA world champion in the light heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions.
With a record of 41 wins, 11 losses, and 1 draw, Qawi was known for his exceptional inside fighting skills and incredible durability, despite his shorter stature.
Light Heavyweight (<79.4 kg / 175 lb)
Michael Spinks (6’2″ / 188 cm)
Michael Spinks, born in 1956 in St. Louis, Missouri, was an Olympic gold medalist and undisputed light heavyweight champion.
With a professional record of 31 wins and 1 loss, Spinks is best known for his victories over Larry Holmes, which earned him the lineal heavyweight title, and his memorable rivalry with his brother, Leon Spinks.
Bob Foster (6’3″ / 191 cm)
Bob Foster, born in 1938 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was a dominant light heavyweight champion who held the WBC and WBA titles.
With an impressive record of 56 wins, 8 losses, and 1 draw, Foster was known for his incredible punching power and is often regarded as one of the greatest light heavyweights in the history of the sport.
Middleweight (<72.6 kg / 160 lb)
Marvin Hagler (5’9.5″ / 177 cm)
Marvin Hagler, also known as “Marvelous Marvin Hagler,” was born in 1954 in Newark, New Jersey.
As an undisputed middleweight champion, Hagler held the title for over six years and defended it in the ring, and quickly gained recognition as a talented and skilled fighter.
During his career, Griffin had 59 bouts, winning 50 of them and 30 by knockout.
Super Middleweight (< 76,2 kg / 168 lb)
Chris Eubank (5’10 / 178 cm)
Chris Eubank, born in 1966 in London, England, is a former world champion and one of the most successful British boxers of all time. Nicknamed “Simply the Best,” Eubank held the WBO super middleweight title and the WBO middleweight title.
He made his professional debut in 1985 and quickly rose to prominence with his unique fighting style and charismatic personality. Eubank had 52 fights during his career, winning 45 of them and 23 by knockout.
James Toney (5’9 / 175 cm)
James Toney, also known as “Lights Out,” was born in 1968 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A multi-division world champion, Toney held the IBF middleweight, super middleweight, and cruiserweight titles.
Known for his exceptional defensive skills and powerful counterpunching, Toney made his professional debut in 1988. During his career, he had 92 bouts, winning 77 of them and 47 by knockout.
Middleweight (< 72,6 kg / 160 lb)
Marvin Hagler (5’9.5 / 177 cm)
Marvin Hagler, nicknamed “Marvelous,” was born in 1954 in Newark, New Jersey. Hagler is widely considered one of the greatest middleweights in boxing history, holding the undisputed middleweight title from 1980 to 1987.
With a powerful southpaw stance and incredible punching power, Hagler had an impressive professional career, amassing 67 bouts, winning 62 of them, and 52 by knockout.
Jake LaMotta (5’8 / 173 cm)
Jake LaMotta, also known as “The Bronx Bull,” was born in 1921 in New York City. A former world middleweight champion, LaMotta was known for his aggressive fighting style and legendary rivalries, most notably with Sugar Ray Robinson.
LaMotta’s professional career spanned from 1941 to 1954, with 106 bouts, winning 83 of them and 30 by knockout.
Welterweight (< 66,7 kg / 147 lb)
Jose Napoles (5’7 / 170 cm)
Jose Napoles, nicknamed “Mantequilla,” was born in 1940 in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. Napoles is considered one of the greatest welterweights of all time, holding the WBA and WBC welterweight titles.
Known for his smooth boxing style and exceptional technical skills, Napoles had a professional career of 88 bouts, winning 81 of them and 54 by knockout.
Henry Armstrong (5’5.5 / 166 cm)
Henry Armstrong, also known as “Homicide Hank,” was born in 1912 in Columbus, Mississippi. A triple world champion, Armstrong held the featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight titles simultaneously.
With relentless aggression and a non-stop punching style, Armstrong had 181 bouts during his career, winning 151 of them and 101 by knockout.
Lightweight (< 61,2 kg / 135 lb)
Joe Gans (5’6.5 / 169 cm)
Joe Gans, known as “The Old Master,” was born in 1874 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gans was the first African-American world boxing champion, holding the world lightweight title from 1902 to 1908.
Gans was known for his exceptional ring generalship, defensive skills, and powerful counterpunching. During his career, he had 158 bouts, winning 120 of them and 85 by knockout.
Roberto Duran (5’7 / 170 cm)
Roberto Duran, nicknamed “Hands of Stone,” was born in 1951 in El Chorrillo, Panama. Duran is widely regarded as one of the greatest lightweight boxers of all time, holding the WBA and WBC lightweight titles.
Known for his ferocious fighting style and impressive punching power, Duran had a professional career of 119 bouts, winning 103 of them and 70 by knockout.
Featherweight (< 57,2 kg / 126 lb)
Willie Pep (5’5.5 / 166 cm)
Willie Pep, born Guglielmo Papaleo in 1922 in Middletown, Connecticut, was a two-time world featherweight champion and is considered one of the greatest featherweights of all time.
Known for his incredible speed, agility, and defensive skills, Pep had a professional career of 229 bouts, winning 229 of them and 65 by knockout.
Sandy Saddler (5’8.5 / 174 cm)
Sandy Saddler, born Joseph Saddler in 1926 in Boston, Massachusetts, was a two-time world featherweight champion and also held the junior lightweight title.
Known for his aggressive, rough fighting style and devastating punching power, Saddler had a professional career of 162 bouts, winning 144 of them and 103 by knockout.
Bantamweight (< 53,5 kg / 118 lb)
Ruben Olivares (5’5 / 165 cm)
Ruben Olivares, born in 1947 in Mexico City, Mexico, was a two-time world bantamweight champion and also held the featherweight title.
Known for his exciting fighting style, incredible power, and durable chin, Olivares had a professional career of 89 bouts, winning 79 of them and 61 by knockout.
Carlos Zarate (5’8 / 173 cm)
Carlos Zarate, born in 1951 in Tlalnepantla, Mexico, was a two-time world bantamweight champion and is considered one of the hardest punchers in the history of the bantamweight division. Zarate had a professional career of 70 bouts, winning 66 of them and 63 by knockout.
Flyweight (< 50,8 kg / 112 lb)
Jimmy Wilde (5’2 / 157 cm)
Jimmy Wilde, born in 1892 in Quakers Yard, Wales, was the first official world flyweight champion and is considered one of the greatest flyweights in boxing history.
Known for his incredible punching power and exceptional boxing skills, Wilde had a professional career of 149 bouts, winning 132 of them and 99 by knockout.
Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (5’4.5 / 164 cm)
Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, born in 1977 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, is a two-time world flyweight champion and one of the longest-reigning flyweight champions in history.
Known for his speed, boxing skills, and strong work ethic, Wonjongkam had a professional career of 97 bouts, winning 90 of them and 47 by knockout.
Minimumweight / Strawweight (< 47,6 kg / 105 lb)
Ricardo Lopez (5’5 / 165 cm)
Ricardo Lopez, born in 1966 in Mexico City, Mexico, is widely regarded as one of the greatest minimum-weight boxers of all time.
Lopez was an undefeated world champion in two weight classes (strawweight and junior flyweight) and held the WBC, WBA, and IBF minimumweight titles.
Known for his technical skills, ring intelligence, and precise punching, Lopez had a professional career of 52 bouts, winning all of them and 38 by knockout.
Ivan Calderon (5’0 / 152 cm)
Ivan Calderon, born in 1975 in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, was a world champion in two weight classes (strawweight and junior flyweight).
Known for his exceptional defensive skills, speed, and boxing IQ, Calderon had a professional career of 39 bouts, winning 35 of them and 6 by knockout.
It’s important to note that this list is only a snapshot of the many great fighters who have graced the sport of boxing.
As the sport continues to evolve, new fighters will undoubtedly emerge and stake their claim among the legends. Here are a few more notable fighters from various weight classes:
Light Flyweight / Junior Flyweight (≤ 49 kg / 108 lb)
Michael Carbajal (5’6 / 168 cm)
Michael Carbajal, born in 1967 in Phoenix, Arizona, was a five-time world champion in two weight classes (light flyweight and flyweight).
Carbajal was known for his aggressive style, punching power, and relentless pressure. He had a professional career of 50 bouts, winning 49 of them, and 33 by knockout.
Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez (5’1 / 155 cm)
Humberto Gonzalez, born in 1966 in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, was a three-time world light flyweight champion.
Known for his incredible punching power and fierce body attack, Gonzalez had a professional career of 61 bouts, winning 56 of them and 42 by knockout.
Super Bantamweight / Junior Featherweight (≤ 55,3 kg / 122 lb)
Wilfredo Gomez (5’5.5 / 166 cm)
Wilfredo Gomez, born in 1956 in Las Monjas, Puerto Rico, is a three-division world champion, having held titles in the super bantamweight, featherweight, and junior lightweight divisions.
Known for his devastating punching power, Gomez had a professional career of 48 bouts, winning 44 of them and 42 by knockout.
Israel Vazquez (5’4.5 / 164 cm)
Israel Vazquez, born in 1977 in Mexico City, Mexico, was a two-time world super bantamweight champion.
Vazquez was known for his all-action style, incredible toughness, and heart. He had a professional career of 47 bouts, winning 44 of them and 32 by knockout.
Boxing continues to captivate audiences worldwide with its blend of physical prowess, skill, and strategy.
Each weight class offers its own unique set of challenges and opportunities for fighters, and the sport’s history is filled with legendary champions who have left an indelible mark on boxing.
As the sport grows and evolves, the list of great fighters will undoubtedly expand, and future generations of boxers will be inspired by their predecessors’ achievements in the ring.