Three Boxing Champions That Made Their Name in the Amateurs

amateur boxing
There are thousands upon thousands of talented boxers cutting their teeth in the amateur rings of the world. Not all of them will make it pro. Not all of them will even want to. But here are 3 pro boxing Champions who really made their names in the amateurs.

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Are there any sports more lucrative than boxing in present times? The sport has transformed the lives of many, with a certain Floyd Mayweather Jr. earning over $1bn throughout his illustrious career. It’s clear to see why he is nicknamed ‘Money’. 

Outside of the professional game, there’s a bucketload of fighters cutting their teeth in the amateur ranks. Some of them even opt to not turn professional, instead representing their country at the Olympic Games and in World Championships, surviving off just sponsorships and funding from their respective athletic organisation. It seems a strange decision, but sometimes honour and glory are worth far more than money. 

Eventually, even the very best amateur stars do eventually turn pro. It makes financial sense and as they say, money talks. So with that being said, here are three iconic boxers all of whom had lengthy careers in the amateur world. 

Gennady Golovkin

Throughout the vast majority of the 2010s, Kazakh knockout artist Gennady Golovkin was the most feared fighter in the world, that was until he ran into Canelo and some pesky Las Vegas judges. While bookmakers providing odds on Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo make the former a heavy 6/25 betting favourite for their upcoming contest, GGG is left wondering what might have been. 

Prior to his first bout with the Mexican star, Golovkin was many people’s pick as the best middleweight fighter in the world. Then he was robbed of victory in his first clash with his nemesis, before controversially falling to a razor-thin defeat in their second. Their third bout took place last September, but with GGG now 40 years of age, Alvarez finally secured a convincing points victory
Unknown to many, however, the now-41-year-old initially cut his teeth in the amateurs. In the early 2000s, Golovkin racked up a stunning 345-5 record before finally turning pro at the age of 23. 

Oleksandr Usyk 

Ukrainian star Oleksandr Usyk is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. He became the undisputed cruiserweight champion back in 2018 when he outpointed Russian star Murat Gassiev in Moscow. Five years on, he holds three of the four titles at heavyweight after back-to-back victories over Anthony Joshua. Should he finally face off with Tyson Fury, he may very well become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis over two decades ago. 
Usyk didn’t turn pro until he was 26 years of age, instead choosing to represent Ukraine at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where he would win gold. Overall, he finished in the amateurs with a record of 335 wins and 15 losses. 

Vasiliy Lomachenko 

The Ukrainian amateur boxing conveyor belt doesn’t stop with Usyk. Vasiliy Lomachenko is one of the most decorated amateur boxers of all time. He racked up a stunning record of 396 wins and just one defeat throughout his career. He would turn pro in 2013, and within three fights he was already world champion. 

Loma immediately rocketed to the top of the pound-for-pound list however, an upset defeat at the hands of Teofimo Lopez saw him lose his lightweight titles and his star wane. He attempted to regain the gold earlier this year however he was controversially defeated once again by undisputed lightweight king Devin Haney. 

The Success of Amateurs

It’s always inspiring to watch Amateur boxers achieve immense success as professionals later. It’s inspiring for young boxers to see that success too. And you read this, thousands of amateur boxers train in gyms up and down the country. Who knows which of those will be the next big name in the game?

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