Top 8 Greatest Australian Boxers of All Time
Aussies are known for being tough as nails, but their presence in the international boxing world is not as big as one might imagine. Nevertheless, there have been some legends of the sweet science from Australia as well, even though they might not be as well-known in the international boxing circles.
Get ready to learn of eight of the best boxers to have ever entered the ring in Australia.
Jeff Harding (23 – 2)
More popularly known as the “Hit Man,” Jeff Harding appeared in 25 matches between 1986 and 1994. He retired with an amazing 23 – 2 record, with a knockout ratio of 74% (17/23). In fact, he was undefeated for 17 matches in a row (1986 – 1990) from the very first fight. Some of his most impressive wins include:
- The New South Wales Cruiserweight Championship
- The OFBF Light-Heavyweight Championship
- WBC Light-Heavyweight Championship (1989 & 1991)
Anthony Mundine Jr. (48 – 8)
After holding a successful career in the Rugby League, Anthony Mundine became one of the best Aussie boxers of all time. During his 20-year long career, Mundine managed to win the WBA Super-Middleweight Championship Belt twice (2003 & 2008), along with the IBO Middleweight Title (2009 – 10) and the WBA Interim Super-Welterweight Title (2011 – 12). Most of his losses came later in his career, because he was a far better boxer than his final 48 – 8 record might suggest.
Daniel Geale (31 – 5)
Geale joined pro-boxing after wining amateur Gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The legendary Aussie boxer has held and unified titles across three different weight categories (Light-Middleweight, Middleweight, & Super-Middleweight). Known as the “Real Deal” for his amazing heart and stamina, Daniel Geale was only knocked out a handful of times.
He was your man if you were betting on boxing fights because Geale turned around so many matches in his favour during the later rounds, converting a seeming loss into an assured win. The following summarises some of Geale’s greatest achievements as a boxer:
- Won the IBO Middleweight Title from 2007 – 09
- Simultaneously held and unified the WBA (Super) and IBF Middleweight Championship Titles
Lionel Rose (42 – 12)
Lionel Rose is Australian National Boxing Hall of Famer and the first indigenous Australian boxer to have ever won an international title. He is often known as the “First Legend” in Australian boxing. His fame skyrocketed after he won the WBA and WBC bantamweight titles in 1968. Later on, Rose won the Commonwealth Bantamweight Belt as well.
Kostya Tszyu (31 – 2)
One may argue that Kostya Tszyu is Russian, but he did not win his titles as a Russian; instead, he did so as an Australian citizen. They did not call him the “Thunder from Down Under” for nothing! With an 81% knockout ratio (25/31), Tszyu is widely considered to be the hardest-hitting light-welterweight of all time. Tszyu won the IBF Light-Welterweight Championship in 1995 & 2001, the WBC Light-Welterweight in 1999, and the WBA (Super) Light-Welterweight Belt in 2001. Kostya Tszyu is Australia’s first and only undisputed light-welterweight champion.
Jeff Fenech (29 – 3)
Widely regarded and accepted as the best Aussie boxer to have entered the ring, the “Marrickville Mauler” fought across five weight classes which are Bantamweight, Super Bantamweight, Featherweight, Super Featherweight and Lightweight. However, he only won his World Championships in three weight classes. Some of the legend’s career highlights are as follows:
- Won the Australian Super Flyweight Title in 1984
- Won the South Pacific & South Seas Bantamweight Title in 1985
- Won the IBF Bantamweight Title in 1985
- Won the Australian Featherweight Championship in 1987
- Won the WBC Super Bantamweight Title in 1987
- Won the WBC featherweight Title in 1988
Dave Sands (97 – 10 – 1)
Dave Sands must be mentioned on this list because of his wonderful 97 – 10 – 1 record which, unfortunately, never included a pro-boxing title win. He was sadly involved in a car accident and passed away at the age of only 26. Before that unfortunate incident, the man from New South Wales was simultaneously holding Australian National Championships across middle, light heavy and heavyweight categories. He fought professionally from the early forties, until his death in 1952.
Les Darcy (52 – 4)
The oldest young name on this list, Les Darcy fought 52 matches, won 52 of them, and knocked out his opponents in 32 of the fights. Consider the tragic fact that the “The Maitland Wonder Bub” died only at the age of 21 in 1917. He is the First Legend of Australian boxing and the only one to have simultaneously held the Australian National middleweight and heavyweight championship titles simultaneously. It means that he defeated heavyweights as a middleweight boxer!
This list is in no particular order, as some of these legends cannot really be compared to each other. Nevertheless, they were all exceptional masters of the sweet science.