15 Boxers With Most Knockouts: All-Time KO Leaders

Did you know that only 30% of boxing matches end in a knockout? A knockout is a fight-ending punch, and greats like Mohammed Ali and Mike Tyson were known for their knockout power. A single punch from one of these titans sent fighters to sleep.

Boxers with most knockouts featuring Bird, Sugar Ray, Moore and Strib

If the referee starts counting, it’s most likely over.

We all love to see a good knockout because it certifies the win. If the fight ends in a decision, we could debate whether the losing boxer was better. Following a knockout, there’s no doubt that the winning side won fair and square.

Surprisingly, many boxers with the most knockouts aren’t even famous. You’ve likely never heard of them.

Big names like Tyson, Ali, and Fury don’t even rank on this list. That is primarily because they didn’t participate in many professional fights. One thing these record-holders have in common is hundreds of professional fights.

This list will include professional boxers from all eras and rank them in an unbiased manner, primarily based on their total KOs.

15. John Linwood Fox

Tiger Jack Fox vs Melio Battens Henry Armstrong vs Cerfernio Garcia #835

Total KOs 89
Fight Record 140-23
Nationality American

John Linwood Fox, known as Tiger Jack Fox, was a cheerful light heavyweight fighter from Washington state. His career lasted 22 years, and he fought during the 30s and 40s, with a total of 180 fights. He won 140 fights and knocked out 89 opponents.

His boxing career started by complete accident when he was picked up by Young Stribling while hitchhiking in Georgia. Strib is also on this list as the #3rd leading fighter by total KOs at 128, so his mentorship helped him tremendously.

At first, he was supposed to serve as Strib’s sparring partner, and Strib gave him a full-time job. Basically, he was a punching bag for the man. To Strib’s surprise, his punch was too powerful, so he knocked Strib senseless with a right hand. That’s when Strib insisted on becoming his mentor instead of just a sparring partner. Strib passed away at the age of 28 and had the most incredible record for the time he spent boxing.

The confidence he gained from Strib rubbed off on Tiger Jack Fox, who followed in his footsteps. Knowing he could face Strib, he became emboldened and moved to Indiana where he started fighting whenever he was offered fights. He trained under world champion Bud Taylor and became Indiana’s colored heavyweight champion.

He had a mixed record from 1928 to 1936, where he won the majority of his fights but also took on substantial losses. He then started completely dominating and went unbeaten for years at a time. Between 1940 and 1945, he never lost a single fight.

Unfortunately, he never had a world championship title, but he tried his shot at one by fighting Melio Bettina, who was the heavyweight champion at the time. He was stopped in the 9th round, but his stamina was affected because he was stabbed at a hotel in Harlem two months prior to the fight.

His two most notable victories were over the light heavyweight champion, Bob Olin, who he knocked out in two rounds. He also knocked out world welterweight champion Lou Brouillard in 7 rounds. He also knocked out future heavyweight champion Jersey Joe Walcott in a 7-round fight.

The Ring Magazine named him one of the top 100 strongest punchers of all time. Despite not making the top 10 list for total KOs, he’s actually ranked #2 all-time for first-round knockouts.

14. Jorge Castro

Jorge Castro - Locomotora (Highlights & Knockouts)

Total KOs 90
Fight Record 130-11
Nationality Argentine

Jorge Castro, known as the “Locomotive,” is the youngest boxer on our list and one of the last from the newer generation of boxers to record close to 100 knockouts. He’s a former middleweight champion of the world with a total of 144 fights. He won 130 of them and knocked out 90 opponents in his career.

He was born in the quiet town of Caleta Olivia on Argentina’s Atlantic coast. When he was a kid, he had the nickname “Busca Roña,” which literally translates to “seeking dirt” because he was so aggressive and always looking for fights. Anyone who looked at him wrong could’ve gotten it. He was brutish and never backed down from a fight; he was looking for them.

When Castro was 18 years old, he fell from a bicycle, and his injuries were so bad that doctors told him he’d never be able to compete in professional boxing. They were wrong because he fully recovered from his accident and went on to become world champion.

Starting in the late 80s, he had a 40-fight win streak where he was fighting mostly Argentinian and Chilean fighters in Buenos Aires. That’s when he gained a reputation as a KO artist, and he was challenged by fighters in Europe and the United States.

His fighting style was ultra-aggressive, and he used brute force to knock out his opponents. He had a take-no-prisoners approach to his boxing style, and that means he was brutal in all his fights, oftentimes knocking out opponents in the first round. That fighting style made him the boxer, with most KOs still active for a brief period.

He’s now ranked #14 by total knockouts on the all-time chart.

Castro’s troubles really started when he faced American champions Terry Norris and Roy Jones Jr., who he lost to in the early 90s. In 1994, he became the world middleweight champion for the first team, beating out Reggie Johnson in his hometown of Buenos Aires by a 15-round decision. He attempted two more world championship titles and lost both of them.

Castro is still alive and well and residing in his home country of Argentina. He suffered a bad car accident in 2005 but managed to recover. His last fight was in 2007 when he fought Jose Luis Herrera (who he lost to previously) in a rematch and KO’d. He got his revenge and retired from boxing. He later participated in Argentina’s big brother, and he is the only South American boxer to achieve close to 100 knockouts.

13. Jimmy Wilde

Jimmy Wilde "The Mighty Atom" Tribute in Color - Highlights of the greatest flyweight

Total KOs 99
Fight Record 137-4
Nationality Welsh

Many claim he’s the best flyweight champion in history; this likely stands. Nat Fleischer, the iconic boxing journalist, called him the best flyweight ever. He is widely regarded as Britain’s greatest boxer of all time and made a name for himself in the early 20th century.

The Welsh fighter went under the nicknames “The Mighty Atom” and “The Tylorstown Terror.” He’s one of the few boxers with over 100 fights who won the majority of his fights with a very clean record of 137-4. He knocked out 99 boxers, many of whom were former world champions.

Wilde was tough as nails and came from the rural regions of Wales, back when the majority of its industry was centered around coal mines. His father was a miner, and he made Wilde work from a young age. He was working in the mining pits before the age of 10 and started fighting some of the men there. They were impressed by his fighting ability, and he’d often take on fully grown men weighing over 200 lbs at the age of 15.

He claimed that he had a total of 800 fights in his lifetime, which is believable if we set aside his professional fights. However, his official record since he left Wales and signed to Teddy Lewis is that he participated in a total of 150 fights. His first 103 fights were all in Britain, and he won all of them. He had a 100% win rate for his first 103 fights. That’s why he’s regarded as the British GOAT.

In a fight against the European flyweight champion, Tancy Lee, he won by knockout and became the European flyweight champion in 1915. A year later, he was injured, but that didn’t stop him from applying for service in the British army (this was during the First World War). He was accepted into the British army but never saw active combat and served as an instructor for soldiers in Aldershot.

His first fights in the United States were in 1919 when he beat the world flyweight champion, Joe Lynch. He then frequently started traveling to America and fighting US champions. The fights attracted thousands of spectators, and his most-watched was against Jackie Sharkey, who he actually lost to in front of 8,000 people via decision.

US fighters treated him with respect, and he toured the whole country in 1920. After his defeat by Joe Lynch, he won the next 10 fights but then lost to the bantamweight champion, Pete Herman. He left the States and temporarily retired in Britain until he was challenged by the Filipino fighter Pancho Villa for his title. He went back to New York to fight him and lost by knockout.

At age 35, he considered returning to boxing but never actually did it.

12. Joe Gans

Total KOs 100
Fight Record 157-12
Nationality American

Joe Gans may be one of the most recognizable names here, and he was known as “Old Master” for high boxing IQ. During the late 19th and early 20th century, boxers relied on brute force and aggression to win fights. He used a scientific approach to analyze his opponents and beat them.

He started professional boxing at a very young age, debuting in 1891 at age 17. He was one of the few black boxers at the time who had white fans for his unique approach to the sport. His fights attracted a lot of attention. Out of 197 professional matches, he won 157.

Gans is the first professional boxer on our list with over 100 KOs, and he might’ve been the first to break that record in history, considering he fought before boxers like Archie Moore and Sugar Ray Robinson. He paved the way for KO leaders with consecutive fights and made it through many challenges in his career.

He became famous during his fight against Bobby Dobbs, which wasn’t even a championship title fight. The fight was supposed to have 10 rounds, but the referee ordered extra rounds, and Gans owed $50 for every round he lost should he end up on the losing side. Dobbs gave up in the 14th round, and everyone in the boxing world heard about the fight.

Gans only fought in the featherweight division and held the same exact weight throughout his career, never weighing more than 137 lbs.

In 1900, he made the first attempt at the world featherweight title against Frank Erne, who was the reigning champion at the time. He lost the fight due to an eye injury but got his rematch two years later. He won and took the title in 1902 in a spectacular knockout.

During the same year, he also defeated the world welterweight champion, Eddie Connolly from Canada. Gans wasn’t afraid to fight boxers in different weight classes, and he commanded respect for that.

One of his toughest fights was against Mike “Twin” Sullivan, who was backed by the mafia in 1905. The mafia pre-arranged a draw after a 15-round fight, and it ended as such. However, he rematched him two years later and knocked him out.

His most notable loss was to Sam Langford (Boston Terror), another KO champion on our list, who actually ended up with more KOs than Gans over his lifetime at a total of 126 compared to Gan’s 100. Gans had a very short lifetime and passed away at the age of 35 due to tuberculosis.

11. Henry Armstrong

The Legendary Henry Armstrong

Total KOs 101
Fight Record 151-21
Nationality American

Henry Jackson Jr. used the fighting name Henry Armstrong and was one of the rare boxers who held titles in three weight divisions: Featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight.

He was featured in the Ring magazine in 1937 as the fighter of the year. In 1940, he was named “Fighter of the Year” by Ring magazine again. BoxRec names him the #12th greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time. ESPN ranked him #3 on their all-time greats list.

He came from a mixed background. His father was African-American, and his mother was a full-blooded native American. He was born during the great migration of African Americans from the deep South to the Midwestern regions when the auto industry was in full swing. He learned to box in St. Louis, where he grew up and went on to become one of the greatest fighters of all time.

Armstrong spent most of his fighting career in his hometown of St. Louis but also frequented Los Angeles and Mexico City, where he fought some of the toughest opponents of the 1930s. Out of a total of 181 fights, he won 151, and KO’d 101 opponents. He made the cut as one of the dozen professional fighters with over 100 KO’s on their record.

If you look into his fight history, he has an impressive stat line for the year 1936: He went 27-0 and knocked out 26 opponents that year. There’s likely never been a fighter in the history of boxing who knocked out close to 100% of his opponents in one year without taking a single loss. Hell, he knocked out more opponents in 1936 than most modern boxers do in their lifetime. And these were professional boxers, not amateurs in the gym. That speaks to the greatness of Armstrong.

That year, he won against three former world champions: Petey Sarron for the featherweight title, Benny Bass, and Frankie Klick. All these boxers held the featherweight title at some point, and he knocked them all out in order.

People started calling him “Hurricane Henry” for his impressive punching speed and shocking blows that often lead to KOs.

He didn’t stop at the featherweight title. He challenged the welterweight champion at the time, Barney Ross, and won against him in 1937 – taking his title as the welterweight champion of the world.

Armstrong is one of the few professional boxers from that era who led a quite successful life after retiring from boxing. He opened a nightclub in Harlem that was quite successful, and then he returned to his hometown of St. Louis, where he spent his retirement in peace.

10. Sandy Saddler

Sandy Saddler - Hardest Punching Featherweight

Total KOs 104
Fight Record 145-16
Nationality American

Sandy Saddler is known as the greatest featherweight KO machine. The little guys aren’t known for their punching power; they’re known for their speed. Saddler is one of the few exceptions because he’s the only featherweight to produce over 100 knockouts.

Saddler is often in the debate for the greatest featherweight of all time. When you compare him to someone like Floyd Mayweather, you notice his style was more aggressive, and he knew where to punch to knock his opponents out.

Out of a total of 162 professional fights, he had 104 knockouts. What’s even more impressive is that other fighters with 100+ knockouts have 200-300 fights on average, and he only had 162. Oh, and he did this in the span of 12 years, while most fighters with similar records took 2-3 decades.

Don’t think Saddler’s KO power went unnoticed. He was well known as one of the pound-for-pound hardest punchers in boxing history. He is also in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

He strung some of the biggest winning streaks in boxing history. His toughest opponent at the time was Willie Pep, an Italian-American who held the world featherweight title and defended it twice. Pep was not only the world champion, but he went undefeated for a long time with a 134-1-1 record.

Saddler shocked the world when he knocked out Pep after knocking him to the ground four times. It made Saddler the featherweight world champion, and he went from an underdog to a respected name in boxing. In the second fight, Saddler lost to Pep after a 15-round decision.

He also knocked out Joe Brown, who would go on to become the next featherweight world champion. Some iconic names on his list of knockouts include Paddy DeMarco and Lauro Salas.

Unfortunately, Saddler was forced to retire from boxing at the young age of 30 due to eye surgery. He stuck around the gym and became a coach for future champions, including George Foreman. He helped Foreman secure his first worldwide heavyweight title.

Saddler is the uncle of Grandmaster Flash, one of the early inventors of hip-hop.

The short length of his career, coupled with his total win rate/KOs, make him one of the greatest featherweight champions of all time and the best featherweight KO master.

9. Peter Maher

Peter Maher in Color | Animated

Total KOs 107
Fight Record 142-28
Nationality Irish

Peter Maher is an Irish boxer from Galway who was known for his powerful punch. He’s that guy with the mustache who boxed in the late 19th century, and there’s only one picture of him floating on the internet. He paved the way for many modern boxers, especially from Ireland, and helped establish their reputation as a fighting nation in the United States.

To understand how long ago this guy was fighting, he was born in 1869. He grew up in Galway, a fishing and industrial town on the west coast of Ireland. Despite spending most of his fighting career in the United States, he made a name for himself by winning the Heavyweight title of Ireland in 1890.

Out of 177 fights, he won 142 of them, and knocked out 107 opponents. His punch was so powerful that he’d knock out most fighters in the first round. After becoming the heavyweight champion of Ireland, he wanted a challenge, so he moved to Philadelphia and started fighting American boxers.

Maher became internationally renowned for his knockout power when he became the heavyweight champion of the world by beating Steve O’Donnell in the first round by KO. O’Donnell was the previous heavyweight champion and went undefeated until he faced Maher.

He tried to defend his heavyweight world title but lost it to Bob Fitzsimmons (British boxer) in a fight that took place in Mexico one year after he claimed the heavyweight title.

Maher also fought legends like Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, and one of his toughest fights was against Jack Munroe when both fighters were constantly knocking each other down while bloodied.

Unfortunately for Maher, his winning streak ended at the start of the 20th century when he was in his 30s and losing dominance. Newspapers headlined him getting trashed by most boxers he was facing at the time, and sometimes he got knocked out in the first round. He accumulated most of his losses in his late 30s before retiring.

He lived a long and happy life traveling between the United States and Europe and passed away in 1940 at the age of 71.

8. Sugar Ray Robinson

Sugar Ray Robinson - The P4P Greatest

Total KOs 109
Fight Record 174-19
Nationality American

The Associated Press named him the Fighter of the Century in 1999. ESPN ranked him #1 on the list of all-time greatest boxers. Mohammed Ali said he was the greatest of all time, and many people consider him the GOAT.

Sugar Ray Robinson is the most famous of all KO leaders. There’s no fighter that could do what he did, and he consistently ranks as the #1 pound-for-pound boxer of all time. In fact, the term “pound for pound” was invented by sports journalists to talk about him when they were comparing him to other boxers.

Mike Tyson was humbled by him. In one interview, he said: “Sugar Ray Robinson won 40 fights in a row, that’s 40-0. Then he lost 1 fight, right? And after he lost that 1 fight, he went 80 fights undefeated. So, the record was like 171-1. And around what, 85 knockouts? There’s some monsters in the past, you know, they put people like me in check. They put our egos in check“.

That says a lot about Sugar Ray’s impact on boxing as an all-time legend. He commanded respect by our favorite fights, and everyone was terrified of fighting him at the time. The number of boxers who fought as many fights as him and won just as many can be counted on one hand.

He fought a total of 201 fights and won 174 of them, most of which consecutively. He knocked out 109 opponents in the most brutal way. He lost 20 fights, and he was nearing the end of his career when he became older. When he was reigning during the 40s and early 50s, he was unbeatable.

Despite beating every other welterweight champion, he didn’t get the welterweight championship title. He refused to cooperate with the Italian mafia at the time, and they controlled boxing. So they denied him the championship.

If there’s one thing you should remember about Sugar Ray, it’s that he had no signature style. He was able to morph and bring a unique personality every time he fought – catching his opponents by surprise. In one fight, he’d come out aggressively brawling and swinging, and in another, he’d be calm and counterpunching.

He had a “formless” style, so he was able to work with his opponents’ weaknesses. His boxing IQ was unmatched. If he saw a fighter was getting ultra-aggressive, he’d tire them out, counterpunch, and knock them out. His style wasn’t unconventional, but his hooks and uppercuts were distinct.

He’s arguably the most versatile fighter of all time, and if you watch his fights, you’ll notice he behaves differently almost every time. That’s why no one could prepare for a fight against him, and he was a terrifying opponent. Not only that, but he could punch hard with both hands, so he’d adjust to Orthodox and Southpaw fighters.

Sugar Ray was always zoned in and improvised in the moment. During an interview, he claimed that he doesn’t think at all during his fights because he’s well-prepared from training. He just acts on instinct because he knows that if he stops to think mid-fight, he’ll be done for.

Unfortunately for him, he spent most of his earnings, which amounted to $4 million during his early retirement, and lived out of a small apartment with practically no furniture in Manhattan. He died of Alzheimer’s disease in Los Angeles.

7. George Odwell

George Odwell old photograph, a champ with 111 knockouts

Total KOs 111
Fight Record 159-39
Nationality English

(*Not to be confused with the English writer George Orwell)

Was George Odwerll an impressive fighter? Yes. Was he well-known anywhere outside boxing circles in London? Not really.

What we know for a fact is that George Odwell was one of the bravest British boxers of the early 20th century, and competing at that time meant fighting almost every other week. British fighters of the 20s and 30s pretty much fought hundreds of fights, but George Odwell is notable because he actually won most of them.

Out of a total of 210 professional fights, George Odwell came up victorious in 159. Out of 159 wins, he knocked out 111 opponents. He’s one of the dozen professional boxers to achieve such a feat.

Growing up in Camden Town, North London, he was attracted to boxing from a young age. His professional debut in the sport came at age 19 when he fought Tom Daniels and knocked him out in the third round.

He’s one of the most mysterious boxers to date because despite having so many fights, not much information is available about him and his personal life. He kept a very low profile and mostly fought fellow English boxers.

His career lasted between 1930 to 1945, and he withdrew and became a coach. He actually started a boxing dynasty. His brother was also a boxing coach, and his son, Dave Odwell, was also a professional boxer with 120 fights.

The peak of Odwell’s career was when he won against the World Welterweight champion, Jack Kid Berg, in 1937. He became the world champion at the time and went out to KO dozens of more opponents. He was featured on the cover of Boxing magazine at the time.

Odwell entered the International Boxing Hall of Fame registry in 2005, 10 years after his passing. He’s consistently ranked as one of Britain’s greatest boxers of all time and will likely remain one of the top knockout leaders.

It’s rare that a fighter with that big of an impact on boxing is not very well known. It’s partially due to his decision to keep a low profile and not fight abroad. He’s the most mysterious out of all knockout leaders.

6. Kid Azteca

EL MEXICANO con más NOCAUTS en la historia del BOXEO |La leyenda KID AZTECA Luis Villanueva Historia

Total KOs 114
Fight Record 193-49
Nationality Mexican

He’s one of the greatest Mexican boxers, right up there with Álvarez, but he never won a world title. It seems that he was struck with the Langford curse! Most of his notable fights were in the United States, and he was fighting in states like Texas and California, but he’s from one of the toughest neighborhoods of Mexico City.

Azteca was born in Tepito, a notorious neighborhood in Mexico City that, to this day, has an association with crime and lawlessness. He’s one of the many Mexican fighting legends to originate from that area, so it’s called the “tough neighborhood.”

As he grew up in Mexico, there are very few records about his personal life prior to his professional boxing career. He really made a name for himself when he started fighting in the United States, and he had 255 professional fights on his record. He likely had hundreds more if we account for his earlier fights in Mexico.

He officially went pro at 20 years old, fighting in Mexico City, but some say he could’ve started professional boxing as early as 16. He then moved to Laredo, Texas, where he was known as “Kid Chino” and later changed his nickname to “Kid Azteca.”

His first title competition was back in his hometown of Mexico City, where he fought for the national welterweight title and won against David Velasco. He was then becoming one of the most well-known fighters in Mexico.

Kid Azteca became a household name in Mexico when he beat Ceferino Garcia to decision in 10 years in Los Angeles, California. He was then the most famous boxer in the country and considered the greatest Mexican boxer of all time.

He didn’t just fight random nobodies, but he was taking on some of the toughest fighters of his time – like Joe Gans, who he beat.

One of his biggest upsets was that he couldn’t secure a World title. His challenger, Fritzie Zivic (an American-born boxer), beat him for the World Welterweight title in Houston, Texas. He then re-matched him at a later date and won by decision.

Kid Azteca is one of the few boxers with over 200 professional fights on their record. He’s also one of 5 boxers who had a boxing career that spanned over 5 decades – that includes Archie Moore, who is also one of the world’s best KO masters.

He knocked out 114 opponents, placing him #6 worldwide and #1 in Mexico for total knockouts. He retired and briefly moved to Argentina, and he died at age 88 in 2002.

5. Buck Smith


Total KOs 121
Fight Record 182-20
Nationality American

Buck Smith is one of the rare boxers from the second half of the 20th century to accumulate over 100 KOs. A highly mysterious fighter who not many people know about, he often fought under different names, so we don’t even know how many actual fights he fought in total.

He is regarded as one of the hardest-working of all time. In one day, he fought two opponents and won both fights. He knocked out Marco Davis in Kansas City. He then hopped in his famous Honda Civic and drove all the way to Oklahoma City, where he fought Rodney Johnson and won in 6 rounds.

Smith was always on the road in his old Honda. His most famous quote was, “I’m not just fighting one bum per month. I fight three or four”. His first professional fight happened by complete accident when a boxer didn’t show up in Oklahoma City.

He volunteered to fight Ali Smith from the crowd, and he had only a couple of minutes to prepare for the fight. He had no boxing gear, and he fought him wearing basketball shoes. Obviously, he lost the fight, but that inspired him to start training and become a boxer.

Most of his fights were in Midwestern boxing venues, where he showed up to fight every other week. He racked up a total of 228 recorded fights, out of which he won 182. 121 were by knockout, landing him in 5th place for the most KOs in history.

Many claimed that his large number of wins was due to him fighting nobodies and that he couldn’t face up to the best opponents at the time. He proved them wrong when he knocked out European champion Kirkland Laing. He then went on to KO Olympic Gold medalist Robert Wangila. That was the biggest fight of his career, and it landed him on the cover of Ring Magazine in 1988.

His reputation as the hardest-working man in boxing came after he fought a total of 12 professional matches in a single month. That was before the Federal government enacted the Boxing Reform Act in 1996, mandating that all boxers rest at least 7 days in between professional fights.

His record as the 5th KO leader will likely never be broken after this act, but he might even be the 1st KO leader, considering the number of professional fights he was in early on in his career and the fact that he used aliases.

Unfortunately, he suffered a total of 10 losses at the end of his boxing career, and his last fight was in 2009 against Damon Reed. He then retired, and he’s still alive and well today.

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4. Sam Langford

Sam Langford | Dempsey & Johnson Avoided This Man

Total KOs 126
Fight Record 210-43
Nationality Canadian-American

Sam Langford, also known as “Boston Terror,” was a black Canadian-American fighter who was known for his punching power. He’s one of the all-time greats to never get a world title, and it is due to color restrictions at the time. He was awarded an honorary world title in 2020.

Modern commentators say he could punch as hard as Mike Tyson and had iron fists. His most impressive feat was that he fought boxers in all weight classes and beat world champs in all divisions (lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight). In 1903, he beat Joe Gans, the lightweight champion at the time, via a 15-round decision.

He came from a very tough upbringing. His grandfather was a slave from the United States who escaped to Canada, and he was born in Nova Scotia to an abusive father. He escaped his father and worked as a janitor at a boxing gymnasium in Boston, where he found out he could box. His professional career started at the Lenox Athletic Club in Boston.

Langford fought a total of 314 professional fights in his career and traveled the world while he was at it, fighting as far as out in Australia. He won 210 fights and knocked out 126 opponents, placing him among the top 5 boxers with most KOs in history.

He was one of the most badass fighters of all time. Not only did he win more than half of the 300+ professional boxers he fought, but he could take a punch during his training sessions.

He encouraged all his sparring partners to hit him as hard as they could, wherever they wanted. The problem was that they couldn’t actually hit him. His footwork was impeccable, so despite having a “punch pass,” none of his sparring partners could do any real damage to him.

After defeating the lightweight champion, he moved on to defeat the middleweight champion at the time, Young Peter Jackson. They fought 6 fights together, and he won 4 of them.

Despite being only 5’6 tall, he fought in the heavyweight division and wasn’t afraid to face much taller opponents. He fought heavyweight Battling Jim Johnson a total of 12 times! Out of 12, he won 6, lost 2, and drew 7. He proved that he could fight in the heavyweight division, too, and that made people think he could be one of the greatest fighters of all time.

He won the World Colored Heavyweight Championship a total of 5 times. In 1910, he became the undisputed colored champ. He’s regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time and among the greatest early 20th-century boxers.

Unfortunately, he died penniless and went completely blind in 1944 when he was living in Harlem. Word got around, and fans raised over $10,000 to help him with his plight. He died in 1956.

3. Young Stribling

Special Movietone Pictures of Young Stribling in Training

Total KOs 129
Fight Record 256-16
Nationality American

Want to feel bad about yourself? Read about William Lawrence Stribling Jr., also known as “Young Stribling”.

If you think you achieved a lot by age 28, you’ll be impressed at what this guy did. He fought 75 professional fights while he was in high school and racked up a total of 291 professional fights in less than 10 years, winning over 95% of them before he passed at age 28 from a motorcycle accident.

Many oldheads say that the older generations had more testosterone than the newer ones, and this guy is evidence of that. The current heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, only fought 34 professional fights, and Young Stribling racked up 291 of them in 12 years of boxing (1921-1933). He was afraid of no one, and he was practically untouchable in the ring.

An impressive statistic is that he only got knocked out once for the duration of his professional career. And the one time he was knocked out was in Germany against Max Schmeling, and it was a technical knockout. So, he wasn’t really on the ground, unable to fight.

This man was an absolute beast, and every metric shows it. If he didn’t pass due to a motorcycle accident in his late 20s, he’d likely beat every single record set by Billy Bird and Archie Moore – he’s only trailing behind by 9 and 3 KOs, respectively.

He came from a family of Vaudeville (theatrical) performers who were always on the road. They performed gymnastics/balancing acts, and their family was pretty popular, so they traveled all over the world, and Strib was exposed to different sports.

During his high school years, he was also regarded as one of America’s best basketball prospects, but he was turned down from playing in tournaments due to his professional boxing career.

Everyone wanted a piece of him while he was reigning champion. He was offered money to fight in Europe and South America, often taking up on those offers and beating the best fighters at the time. This guy was so badass that he actually flew his own airplane across the US when he had a fight. He was listed in the Air Force Reserve and had a big passion for aviation.

The fight in Germany when he was technically KO’d by Schmeling was the first major fight to be broadcast on live radio. He was already a legend in boxing, so Schmeling was stunned he won against him, and despite cameras flooding him, he wanted to take a picture with Strib first.

Strib didn’t like KO’ing his opponents that much, despite boxing promoters labeling him a knockout machine. He decried the violence of boxing and said he preferred to win over his opponents by points, but he ended up knocking out the vast majority of them anyway.

2. Archie Moore

Archie Moore | The 50 Year Old Who Defied the Boxing Mafia

Total KOs 132
Fight Record 186-23
Nationality American

Archie Moore is not just the fighter with the 2nd highest number of KOs in history, but a fighter who paved the way for greats like Mohammed Ali and defied the boxing mafia.

If you can remember one thing about Archie Moore, it’s this: He refused to cooperate with the boxing mafia in the 50s. That was a big deal at a time when boxers agreed to take a dive in exchange for money. He didn’t care about any of that and always fought to the best of his abilities.

He was and still is the longest reigning light heavyweight champion of the world, with a 10-year streak between 1952 to 1962. His career spanned three decades, and he was dominant throughout, with 186 wins out of 220 fights.

The most impressive statistic for Moore is that he knocked out 132 opponents, landing him in second place internationally, only behind Billy Bird. He is the #1 American and African-American boxer by total career KOs.

His professional career lasted between 1935 and 1963, so Archie actually reigned before Mohammed Ali and the newer generation of boxers. He trained Mohammed Ali for a certain period after retiring and helped him become a world champion.

Archie Moore didn’t live a glorious life like heavyweight champs in the modern era. Boxing in the 30s, 40s, and 50s didn’t pay as much, and boxers earned next to nothing – even the champions. He actually risked getting his head blown off every time he won, being a black guy in a white-dominant sport at the time. He spent most of his life on the road, broke with little to show for his fights, and barely scraped by.

Even his early life was sad. He was abandoned by his father, and his biological mother couldn’t take care of him, so she left him to his uncles at age 3. He was brought up in St. Louis and went to an all-black school. In his youth days, he joined a gang and became a criminal.

He stole oil lamps for his home and then sold them to get boxing gloves. That’s when he realized he loved boxing and started training. Eventually, he was sentenced to 3 years in prison and came out a reformed man – only focusing on boxing.

Once he actually started boxing, he noticed most of his fights were in a racially charged environment, especially when he was fighting white boxers. Many times, the audience was threatening to shoot him, but it didn’t seem to affect him. One time, he was fighting a boxer named Bill Richardson, and his brother was the referee. When he started pounding on him, the referee kept telling him to keep his punches up. Eventually, he offered to fight them both simultaneously.

He announced an early retirement from boxing in 1941 (6 years into his career) due to stomach ulcers and operations. After spending a couple of months in retirement, he decided he had enough and came back to the ring.

After his actual retirement, he moved to San Diego and became famous, gaining the recognition he deserved. Listen Magazine named him “Man of the Year”, he was given the keys to the city of San Diego and became a boxing Hall-of-Famer. But this was during the 70s and 80s when his boxing days were long past.

Some debate that he’s not actually #2 because a few of the boxers he fought were unprofessional or came from martial arts backgrounds. In any case, he’s right up there in the top 3 with Billy Bird and Young Stribling.

1. Billy Bird

Billy Bird, all-time KO leader with 138 knockouts

Total KOs 138
Fight Record 260-73
Nationality English

Billy Bird (1899-1951) is an English boxer who holds the record for the most knockouts in boxing history. During his 18-year boxing career, he knocked out 138 boxers, won 260 fights, and fought 356 times professionally. He is the undisputed knockout leader, leading runner-up Archie Moor by 6 knockouts.

Bird was the epitome of an old-school boxer who lived for boxing, and back then, he was getting paid next to nothing. He worked as a taxi driver in London between fights. Back in the day, boxers fought only for the fun of the sport and the glory that came with it.

His professional boxing debut was in 1920 when Britain was recovering from the First World War. Most of the grown population of England was looking for distractions from the harsh realities of life, and many were drawn to boxing.

It was a completely different era. Most boxers fought locally, as was the case with Billy Bird. Out of 356 fights, he fought 354 domestically and left the country to fight Joe Ralph in Belgium and Mario Bosiso in Italy.

He didn’t care about keeping a flawless record. He only cared about fighting as many opponents as possible. Some boxers in the modern era barely fight once every 5 years and hype up matches for months to sell PPV. Old-school boxers didn’t care about any of that – they just showed up, put on their gloves, and started fighting.

If you look at Billy Bird’s match history, you’ll notice that in 1938, he had one stint in March, where he fought 4 times. He fought Les Woodley on the 6th, Ted Barter on the 14th, Paddy Roche on the 20th, and Jim Greaves on the 28th of March. That’s 4 professional fights in a month or one fight per week. Imagine the willpower needed to take a beating against a strong opponent, go back home, and then do it again next week.

These boxers had zero fatigue and didn’t take months to prepare for fights. Were they better than their modern counterparts? Most likely not. But did they have the courage to step in the ring hundreds of times and risk being destroyed? Yes, they did.

He’s held the record for the most knockouts ever for over 80 years, and very few fighters came close to beating it. He’s likely never going to be dethroned as the ultimate knockout king by total number of knockouts.

The sheer willpower it takes to fight a total of 356 matches and never stop to take a break is impressive in itself. He racked up those numbers in a span of 28 years and then retired.

Bird didn’t just fight random nobodies to rack up numbers. He fought the strongest opponents in England at the time, including Hall-of-Famers Jack Delaney and Tommy Ryan. Statistically, Bird’s KO ratio was 39%. His last professional fight was in 1948, and then he retired. He passed away only 2 years after retiring.

Commentators from the modern era, like Ian Palmer, claimed that Bird’s record will likely never be broken, and it’s easy to see why.

Which modern fighter would risk getting into hundreds of fights and have the ability to knock out 138 opponents over a few decades? Boxers these days get million-dollar contracts and make their fights exclusive, so there’s less of a chance that we’ll see a boxer who is both competent enough to deliver 138 knockouts and motivated enough to fight hundreds of times.

It was a completely different era when those records were set, and it’s likely that no one will break them again.

Wrap Up:

Boxing KO leaders with names, nationalities, and number of knockouts infographic

The older generation of boxers dominates the KO rankings. You’ll notice that most boxers on this list reigned in the late 19th century up until the mid-20th century.

The undisputed KO leader of all time is Billy Bird, with 138 boxing knockouts. His record will likely never be broken. 

This is not to say that the newer generation is softer or any less competent. They’re just not willing to risk taking the L as much as older fighters who practically fought every other week. Strib, for example, had 291 professional fights before age 28.

The boxing reforms of the ’90s mandating boxers rest at least 7 days after a fight contributed a lot to the lack of fights on hard-working boxers. Also, any fighter worth a damn in the modern era will be delaying his fights as much as possible to build up hype and get a big bag.

Some of these boxers are national legends in their countries of origin. Jimmy Wilde is considered the greatest British boxer, Kid Azteca is considered the Mexican GOAT, and Jorge Castro is Argentina’s greatest.

Sugar Ray Robinson is the only household name on this list and likely the greatest boxer of all time, but we hope we shed some light on some lesser-known boxers and their achievements for real boxing fans.

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