Quite a few boxers in history have an Olympic pedigree.
The list of Olympians-turned-professionals, in fact, includes a veritable line-up of prize fighting’s elite: Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Andre Ward, to name a few.
Today, an array of prize fighters have Olympic roots as well and we’ll take a look at some of the most successful ones:
Golden in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, Lomachenko (11-1) is one of pro boxing’s best. After a shock loss to Orlando Salido in his second professional fight, the Ukrainian has been dominant, winning 10 in a row and capturing belts in three weight classes. Lomachenko is now number 1 in ESPN’s pound for pound rankings, ahead of superstars like Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. The Matrix will fight WBO lightweight titlist José Pedraza (25-1) in December for a chance to unify the lightweight belts.
After winning silver for Kazakhstan in the 2004 Olympics, Golovkin (38-1-1) steadily built a fearsome reputation as one of the sport’s pre-eminent knockout artists, with 34 out of 38 wins coming via stoppage. Along the way, Golovkin unified the middleweight belts, holding the WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO titles from 2016 to 2018. His controversial bouts against Alvarez notwithstanding, Triple G remains elite — an exciting all-out, all-action fighter.
Making his pro debut just months after settling for bronze in the 2008 Olympics, Wilder (40-0) has won 39 of his 40 bouts via stoppage. The WBC heavyweight champion since 2014, the Bronze Bomber is set to fight the undefeated Tyson Fury (27-0), who in 2015 held the unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight titles. Should Wilder get past Fury, he and the next boxer on this list may just be a step closer to a gigantic clash of titans.
Joshua (21-0) punctuated his amateur career by winning gold in the 2012 Olympics. He turned pro in 2013 and has since established himself as one of the faces of the heavyweight division. Joshua won the IBF belt in early 2016, but it was AJ’s scintillating win over Wladimir Klitschko a year later that truly cemented his superstar status. Currently the unified heavyweight champion, Joshua’s next fight is still TBA, though fans are hoping that it will be against the winner of Wilder-Fury.
Shields is an Olympic double champion, having won gold in London (2012) and in Rio (2016). Since then, Shields has roared out of the gates as a pro, winning all six of her fights and capturing world titles in two divisions — super-middleweight and middleweight. T-Rex was schedule to face fellow titleholder Christina Hammer (22-0) in November to decide the middleweight division’s undisputed champion, but the mega-fight has been cancelled. The Detroit News reports that the unbeaten Hammer has an undisclosed medical condition, forcing Shields’ camp to look elsewhere.
Like Shields, Adams won gold in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Her Olympic success, along with her outstanding amateur career, did not go unnoticed; she was hailed by Coral as one of Britain’s most iconic female athletes since 2000 and awarded an OBE by the Queen in 2013. Babyface has continued to find boxing success as a pro, racing to a 5-0 start. In her last fight, Adams beat Mexico’s Isabel Millan to win the vacant WBO female interim flyweight title. Next in line for The Lioness is a possible shot at the full belt, currently held by Arely Mucino, also of Mexico.
Golden Gloves comment:
Lomachenko, Triple G, Wilder, Joshua, Adams and Shields are arguably prize-fighting’s elite today and they certainly deserve all the acclaim and accolades that have come their way.
Ultimately, our vision here at Golden Gloves is to see fighters from our stable become part of boxing’s upper echelons, where The Matrix and company reside.
To that end, we have some fighters with exceptional amateur backgrounds who we believe will get their turn in the spotlight, like precocious junior-lightweight and Sebastiaan Rothmann-trained Jabulani Makhense. He is currently unbeaten and, unsurprisingly, has caught the eye of Golden Gloves’ Rodney Berman.