Artur Beterbiev And The Hardest Hitting Light-Heavyweights In Boxing History

Artur Beterbiev And The Hardest Hitting Light-Heavyweights In Boxing History

Updated: 12 days, 5 hours, 4 minutes, 1 second ago

Boxing fans will be treated to one of the hardest-hitting match-ups of the year this weekend when unified light-heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev travels to London to defend his IBF, WBC and WBO titles against Anthony Yarde.

Beterbiev currently holds an eye-watering knockout rate of 100% while Yarde’s 88% is impressive in its own right. To build up to this heavy-handed showdown, we look back at the light-heavyweight division’s biggest ever punchers. 

10. Ezzard Charles

Arguably the greatest light-heavyweight of all time, Ezzard Charles defeated a plethora of hall of fame fighters across three divisions in a career that would eventually see him win the world heavyweight title. ‘The Cincinnati Cobra’ showed plenty of venom by stopping 52 men between 1949 and 1952, the most notable of which was against fellow hard-hitting great Archie Moore in 1948. 

READ MORE: Beterbiev Vs Yarde: Everything You Need To Know 

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9. Tommy Gibbons

The only man to go 15 rounds with the great Jack Dempsey, alongside a granite chin, Tommy Gibbons could absolutely bang. The American recorded 48 knockouts from 62 wins and beat some memorable names in one of boxing’s first genuine golden eras. 

8. Adonis Stevenson 

Adonis Stevenson is one of the biggest punchers in recent memory. ‘Superman’ displayed fistic power that would make Clark Kent blush, vanquishing 24 opponents early from 29 wins. The highlight was a one-punch KO of WBC champion Chad Dawson in 2013, one of the most jaw-dropping conclusions to a 175lb title fight in the sport’s history.

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7. Marvin Johnson

Over 70% of three-time light-heavyweight champion Marvin Johnson’s opponents failed to hear the final bell. The 1972 Olympic bronze medallist’s most eye-catching KO win came in 1978 against Victor Galindez with a 'over-the-top-from-underneath' left that flattened the Argentine and saw ‘Pops’ claim the WBA title. 

6. Matthew Saad Muhammad

A true warrior, Matthew Saad Muhammad had both the heart and aggression of an untamed lion inside the ring. Competing in a golden era for the light-heavyweight division, ‘Miracle Matthew’ saw 29 of his 39 wins end inside the distance. His record included stoppage wins over fellow champions John Conteh, Richie Kates, the aforementioned Marvin Johnson twice and Yaqui Lopez.

5. Michael Spinks

Erroneously remembered for his 91 second destruction at the hands of Mike Tyson, Michael Spinks is unquestionably one of the best light-heavyweights in the sweet science’s long and storied history. Spinks and his trademark ‘Spinks Jinx’ right hand reigned supreme in the same golden era as Matthew Saad Muhammad, where he remained undefeated and knocked out a string of former champions and top contenders. 

Spinks would later move up to heavyweight, challenging and successfully beating long-reigning champion Larry Holmes, becoming the first reigning light-heavyweight champion to win a title in boxing’s marquee division. 

4. Sergey Kovalev

The fearsome Sergey Kovalev certainly lived up to his ‘Krusher’ moniker. 29 of the Russian wrecking ball’s 35 wins came inside the distance, 22 inside the first three rounds. The former world champion remains active, last fighting at cruiserweight in May, and while he’s well beyond his prime now, he showed in 2019 that he still holds some devastating power in his sledgehammer fists by stopping Anthony Yarde with a straight left jab.

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3. Artur Beterbiev

Unified WBC, IBF and WBO champion Artur Beterbiev has yet to go the distance since turning professional in 2013, stopping all 18 of his opponents en route to becoming arguably the best fighter at 175 lbs on the planet. This weekend he takes on the similarly hard-hitting Anthony Yarde; if he wins that, which he should, only WBA champion Dmitry Bivol will be standing in his way on the path to undisputed. If he continues his trend of knockouts against these two, the Canada-based Russian could move up this list. 

2. Bob Foster 

A frequent campaigner at heavyweight, Bob Foster was unfortunate enough to have fought in a golden era for the division, losing to the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ernie Terrell, Doug Jones and Zora Folley. At light-heavyweight however, he was a different beast entirely. 

One of the pound-for-pound biggest punchers ever, Foster’s crowning moment in the ring was a superb fourth round KO of the great Dick Tiger to win the world title. Of his 56 wins, 46 were left out of the hands of the judges. He was ranked 17th in The Ring magazine’s 100 greatest punchers of all time. 

1. Archie Moore 

With a career that began in 1935 and ended in 1963, there aren’t many fighters who can claim to have spent as long in the ring as the ‘Old Mongoose’ Archie Moore. One of the most criminally underrated pugilists to ever lace up a pair of gloves, it took Moore 20 years to get a title shot and once he’d won it, he held onto it for a decade. He remains the division’s longest reigning champion. 

He finished his career, which included spells at middleweight and heavyweight, with a whopping 131 knockouts, the most of any fighter in the modern era. 

Honourable Mentions: Bob Fitzsimmons, Vincente Rondon, Freddie Mills, Roy Jones Jr. Georges Carpentier 

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