A multitude of professional boxers got saved by religion and sport from problems that could have destroyed their lives. Instead of failure, they chose faith and greatness to become successful champions. The famous Ali, who inspired many with his courage and acceptance of Islam, has a large share in their conversion. This list can also serve as proof that Muslims are not only successful wrestlers but also boxers.
Muhammad Ali (56-5-0, 37 KO’s)
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., but later and forever Muhammad Ali was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. Ali was the most famous and leading figure in the history of boxing. Although he had Irish and English heritage in his blood, because of his black skin and African ancestry, Ali felt racist division from an early age.
These difficulties played an important role in building Muhammad as a fighter in and out of the ring. He started boxing at 12 and made his amateur debut in 1954, after which he excelled by winning six Kentucky Golden Gloves, two national Golden Gloves, and an AAU national title.
His first great accomplishment was winning the gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. On his return, he ends his amateur career with a record of 100 wins and five losses.
In 1960, in his native Kentucky, he began his professional career with his debut against Tunney Hunsaker and celebrated with a unanimous decision victory. In his career that lasted 20 years, Ali managed to record 56 wins, of which 37 were knockouts and five defeats, and in 1990 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
He held The Ring and the WBA title three times and the WBC heavyweight title twice, and he managed to defend his titles as many as 19 times. Ali is one of the greatest boxers of all time, his boxing life is one big highlight reel, and his life story is inspiring even outside the boxing life.
Ali is a symbol of fearlessness and self-confidence, and despite all his success, he will remain known for his fluttering style and the impossibility of being hit. In June 2016, Muhammad died in the hospital due to respiratory issues. However, he had been battling Parkinson’s disease for 30 years before that.
Mike Tyson (50-6-0, 44 KO’s)
Michael Gerard Tyson, known as “Iron Mike,” was born in 1966 in Brooklyn, New York. Mike is side by side with Muhammad Ali as the representative and face of the boxing scene but in a completely different style from Ali.
Tyson had a different childhood than others, fighting problems with the law, losing his parents early, and he started boxing at 12. Michael recorded 24 amateur wins and three losses. In 1981 and 1982, he won gold medals at the National Junior Olympics, and in 1984 he also won the Golden Gloves in the heavyweight category.
He made his professional debut as an eighteen-year-old in 1985, and in a 20-year career full of ups and downs inside and outside the boxing ring, he fought 58 matches, with 50 wins and six losses. An incredible 44 fights ended with a knockout.
Tyson was especially dangerous during his championship reign from 1967 to 1980, where he fought as many as 13 times and won the WBC, WBA, The Ring, and IBF heavyweight titles with nine successful defenses. In 2011, he got inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Mike is still one of the most recognizable sports personalities to this day and will be memorized as one of the greatest boxers of all time. In addition, he will be remembered as the most brutal, ferocious, and dangerous boxing champion ever due to his specialty of being a knockout artist.
Prince Naseem Hamed (36-1-0, 31 KO’s)
“Prince” Naseem Hamed was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England 1974. He is a retired British fighter who boxed his career as a southpaw at Bantamweight, Super-bantamweight, and Featherweight. As an amateur boxer, Hamed played 67 matches with 62 wins and five losses.
From the beginning of boxing, he showed promise and got noticed by boxing experts as a great potential. Naseem entered professional waters in 1992, winning with a knockout. Although he had only 17 knockouts in his amateur career, he came to the professional level with power in his hands.
He managed to knock out his opponent 31 times out of 36 wins. Hamed has only one defeat out of 37 matches. He was the world champion in the featherweight category, holding three titles: WBC, WBO, and IBF, which he managed to defend 15 times.
Prince managed to win both the European and WBC International super-bantamweight titles. In 2015 he was inducted into the International Hall of Fame, and as a seasoned title fighter, got ranked as the best British featherweight of all time by BoxRec.
He ended his 2-decade-long career by winning the vacant IBO featherweight title in 2002. He is known for his confidence and flashy fighting style, full of evasive moves and unpredictable strikes.
Eddie Mustafa Muhammad (50-8-1, 39 KO’s)
Born Edward Dean Gregory in Brooklyn, New York City 1952, Mustafa was nicknamed “The Flame.” He changed his name from Edward to Mustafa Muhammad after accepting Islam. He is a former professional boxer in cruiserweight, lightweight and heavyweight.
He says that boxing saved him from the streets and life problems, and during his amateur career, he won the New York Golden Gloves in 1971 and 1972. After an experienced amateur score of 55-5, he made his professional debut in 1972 with a knockout in the fourth round.
In a 16-year-long career, Mustafa fought in 59 matches, with 50 wins, eight losses, and one draw. Known for his heavy hands, he managed to record 39 knockouts. After many matches in 1980, Mustafa captured the WBA World Light Heavyweight Title, defending it twice. In 1985 he won the IBF World Light Heavyweight Title in a division full of high-quality fighters.
Unfortunately, in 1988 Mustafa lost by technical knockout to Arthel Lawhorna in the third round and decided to hang up his gloves. He enriched his professional boxing career by appearing in three films Raging Bull (1980), Body and Soul (1981), and Hope for the Broken Contender (2008).
Dwight Muhammad Qawi (41-11-1, 25 KO’s)
Qawi was born Dwight Braxton in 1953 in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. He converted to Islam in the 80s and changed his name to Dwight Muhammad Qawi. From an early age, he got exposed to crime. He spent five years in prison, where he discovered his love for boxing at a prison boxing program and became a professional boxer when he was released.
He fought in cruiserweight, lightweight and heavyweight. Dwight, also known as “Camden Buzzsaw,” in 1978 to open his career with a draw. His twenty-year-long career is decorated with 53 completed matches, counting 41 wins and 11 losses, and he succeeded in knocking out as many as 25 opponents.
After 17 fights, Qawi gets shot to capture the WBC and The Ring lightweight title, grabs that opportunity with a knockout, and defends it three times. In 1985 he won the WBA cruiserweight title, which he defended once.
Four years later, he won the WBC Continental Americas cruiserweight title. Still, he lost it and succeeded in getting it back two years later. Muhammad faced a lot of ups and downs in title fights, but he didn’t let himself get distracted in his matches. He ended his career with a defeat in 1998. Still, due to his outstanding boxing journey in 2004, he got inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Amir Khan (34-6-0, 21 KO’s)
Amir Iqbal Khan was born in 1986 in Bolton, Greater Manchester, England. He is a former British professional boxer who fought at lightweight, light-welterweight, welterweight, and middleweight. Khan is of Pakistani origin and started competing in boxing at 11.
Amir achieved an enviable record of 101 wins and nine losses as an amateur. He crowned his amateur career with decorations such as three ABA titles, three English school titles, gold at the Junior Olympic Games, and gold at the European Student Championships.
After a successful career, Khan became a professional and opened his career with a knockout in the first round. In 2007 he won his first Commonwealth lightweight title. In 2008, Khan won the WBO Inter-Continental lightweight title.
In the same year, he also won the vacant WBA International lightweight title. Other trophies on his shelves are the IBF light-welterweight title, the WBC Silver interim light-welterweight title, and the WBC International welterweight title. Amir did many title matches where he lost and won some, and the only non-title fight defeat he experienced was at the end of his career in 2022 against Kell Brook.
Badou Jack (28-3-3 17 KO’s)
Jack “The Ripper” Badou was born in 1983 in Stockholm, Sweden, and is Gambian-Swedish active fighter in super-middleweight, lightweight, and cruiserweight. As an amateur, he started boxing at 18 and achieved a career streak of 150 wins and 25 losses.
In 2007, he got named Swedish Boxer of the Year, winning the national championship five times in a row. After winning multiple state championships, nothing remained for The Ripper but to switch to professionals.
In his debut in front of the Swedish audience, he won by unanimous decision, then won eight times in a row by knockout. Undefeated in 15 fights, Jack got his first chance for the title in 2013, but the match ended in a draw.
The following year he suffered his first defeat. A year later won the WBC super-middleweight title, which he defended three times. In the next five title fight matches, The Ripper fights two draws for the IBF and vacant The Ring super-middleweight titles and loses twice for the opportunity for the WBA light-heavyweight title and WBC Silver light-heavyweight titles.
This unfortunate set of circumstances speaks volumes for Badou’s persistence and dedication because, between those fights, he still manages to get one victory for the WBA (Regular) light-heavyweight title. After that storm of misfortune matches, he continued his six-fight winning streak and won the WBC cruiserweight title in 2023.
Devin Haney (30-0-0, 15KO’s)
Professional American boxer Devin Haney was born in 1998 in San Francisco, California, and fights in the lightweight division. Devin has been boxing since he was seven, and his amateur record of 138 wins and eight losses includes winning seven national competitions.
Haney turned professional at 17, but due to the boxing age limit law in the USA, he was forced to make his debut and the next three fights in neighboring Mexico and celebrated three times with a knockout. So far, he has 30 matches and wins, 15 of which are by knockout.
In 2017, after five fights in Mexico and five in the USA, Haney took the vacant WBC Youth lightweight title. Just one year later, Devin won the vacant USBA lightweight title and the vacant IBF North American lightweight title.
His championship campaign continues in 2019, when he wins and defends the vacant WBC International, WBO Inter-Continental lightweight, and wins the vacant WBA International lightweight title. For the next four years, Haney keeps to work with his magic defending the throne, and in 2022 conquers the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and The Ring lightweight titles, which he managed to safeguard in the not-so-distant past. To this day, Devin remains undefeated with a bright continuation of his career.
Artur Beterbiev (19-0-0, 19 KO’s)
Artur Asilbekovich Beterbiev was born in 1985 in Dagestan, Russia. He goes to Canada to fulfill his dream and becomes a successful boxer with incredible destructive power in his hands. As an amateur, he won silver and gold in 2007 and 2009 at the World Championship and gold at the World Cup in 2008.
He also won two golds at the European Championships in 2006 and 2010, representing Russia in light heavyweight. In his amateur career, he achieved 96 wins and ten losses, 24 of which came by knockout, which changed his professional career.
Baterbiev made his professional debut in 2013 in Canada, where he celebrated with a technical knockout and thus began his power-punching career. After five matches in Canada, in the same country, he got a chance and won the vacant NABA light-heavyweight title.
The same year, he defended it and won the vacant IBF North American and NABO light-heavyweight titles. He adds, to his collection, the vacant WBO International light-heavyweight title 2015 and 2017 vacant IBF light-heavyweight title.
In the continuation of his career, he successfully defended his titles. He won WBC and WBO crowns, and until today Artur remains undefeated with a 100% knockout rate.
Bernard Hopkins (55-8-2, 2NC, 32 KO’s)
Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins Jr was born in 1965 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. He is a former American professional middleweight and lightweight boxer. Before his boxing career, he got exposed to petty crime and street problems, and at the age of 17, he got sentenced to 18 years in prison on nine charges.
In prison, because of the terrible scenes, Bernard experienced a revival and embraced Islam and boxing as his salvation from the past. He unofficially built his amateur record in prison during a rehabilitation program where he has 95 wins and four losses.
After serving a five-year sentence, he was released and made his professional debut in 1988, losing it by majority decision. After two years, he returned with a victory. He continued to do so in the next 21 matches.
He won his first vacant IBF-USBA middleweight title, which he defended four times in the following two years. In his 28-year-long career, he boxed in 67 matches, where he won 55 and lost eight with two no-contests and two draw matches.
Bernard managed to knock out his opponents 32 times. He is the winner of WBA, WBC, IBF, and The Ring twice in lightweight and WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring in middleweight, which he managed to defend 22 times, with as many as 13 knockouts. He retired after falling short in 2014 and 2016 in title fights.
Hasim Rahman (50-9-2, 1NC, 41 KO’s)
Hasim Sharif Rahman, “The Rock,” was born in 1972 in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. is a former American professional boxer who fought in the heavyweight division. Rahman is another boxer in the series who escaped death and the critical life of a street dealer with the help of religion and boxing. In his two-decade-long career, he boxed in 62 matches, winning 50, with 41 knockouts.
Of the other matches, nine are defeats, two draws, and one no-contest. He made his professional debut in 1994 with a first-round knockout, continuing his winning streak of 29 matches and winning the vacant USBA heavyweight title and the IBF Inter-Continental heavyweight title.
Considering how well he started his career, he continues encountering obstacles. He loses a few title matches to big names in boxing but wins most of them. The most important moment in the ring was an upset knockout against the famous Lennox Lewis during fasting during Ramadan to win the WBC, IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles.
After a long rollercoaster career, Hasim lost two matches in a row in 2012 and 2014, which were an opportunity for another title and winning the Super 8 Boxing Tournament. He decided to retire at the age of 41. After all his boxing successes, he reached the pinnacle when he got a son, Hasim Rahman Jr., who is also a professional boxer.
Matthew Saad Muhammad (39-16-2, 29KO’s)
Born Maxwell Antonio Loach, later known as Matthew Saad Muhammad, was born in 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., and is a former American professional lightweight boxer. After losing his parents at an early age, he got adopted by a Philadelphian family and began boxing.
His amateur career of twenty matches, and after winning the Golden Gloves in 1973, he switched to professional boxing. In 1974, he made his professional debut with a knockout win and was undefeated until his eighth fight.
In his eighteen-year-long career, he fought 58 times, with 39 victories, 29 of which were by knockout, and he lost 16 times and has three draw matches. Matthew has traveled the world in his career, fighting in America, Italy, Canada, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Germany, Spain, and Yugoslavia.
He won the WBC and The Ring titles with eight defenses. In 1988, his career went downhill, and Matthew managed to win only one of his last eight fights, and after a 3-fight losing streak, he retired in 1992. In 2014, he died in the hospital, and the case of his death is unknown.
Selçuk Aydın (29-3-0, 22KO’s)
Turkish professional boxer Selçuk Aydın was born in 1983 in Trabzon, Turkey, and competed in the light-welterweight and welterweight divisions. From 2002 to 2006, in his amateur career, he won the EU U17 bantamweight and the European junior title.
He won silver at the Mediterranean Games, two silvers at the EU Championship, and silver and bronze at the European Championship. Aydin won his professional debut by knockout in the first round in 2006 with a great start to his short but successful career and recorded a 23-fight winning streak until 2012.
In that period, he won the vacant WBC International welterweight title, which he defended four times. He won the European and vacant WBC Silver welterweight titles with one defense. In the decade of his career, Aydin boxed 39 matches with 29 wins and 22 knockouts, and three losses.
In the last three years of his career, he won the vacant PABA interim light-welterweight title and the vacant WBC Mediterranean light-welterweight title. He fought his final match in Germany against Adnan Zilic, winning by knockout in the first round, after which he retired after ten years of boxing.
Sadam Ali (27-3-0, 14KO’s)
Saddam “World Kid” Ali was born in 1988 in Brooklyn, New York City. He is of Yemeni origin and is a former American professional boxer in the welterweight and light middleweight categories. Naseem Hamed inspired him to start boxing at the age of eight.
His amateur career consists of 89 wins and 19 losses, and he managed to decorate it with a double NYC Golden Gloves title, PAL National Championship, U-19 National Championship, and AAU Junior Olympic National Order.
After the Olympics, Ali decided to swim professionally and won his debut in 2009 with a knockout in the first round. Saddam’s successful career lasted one decade, in which he registered 30 matches, with an enviable 27 victories, 14 of which he won by knockout, and there were only three defeats.
After an amazing streak of 18 victories in 2014, Saddam won the interim WBO-NABO welterweight title and the WBO Inter-Continental welterweight title, which he managed to defend in 2015 when he also won the WBA International welterweight title.
Until the end of his career, he took the vacant WBA International welterweight title and the WBO light middleweight title, which he lost in his first defense attempt. Sadam said goodbye to boxing with a knockout defeat in 2019 and thus ended his career.
Anthony Mundine (48-11-0, 28KO’s)
Anthony “The Man” Mundine Jr. was born in 1975 in Newtown, New South Wales, Australia, and is a former Australian boxer who fought in light-middleweight, middleweight, super-middleweight, and cruiserweight.
Considering he is the son of boxer Tony Mundine, his father was his trainer, and his amateur career lasted very short, with only four fights. Mundine made his professional debut in 2000 and won by knockout, and already in the sixth match won the Australian super-middleweight title, and in the same year, the PABA super-middleweight title and the vacant IBF Pan Pacific super-middleweight title with one defense.
Antonio’s career lasted two long and exciting decades, where he competed in 59 matches, with 48 wins and 28 knockouts, and suffered bitter defeats eleven times. Mundine also won two WBA super middleweight titles and managed to defend them as many as five times.
Only near the end of his career, Anthony starts to slow down, and out of the last eight matches, he manages to win only twice. After a three-fight-losing streak, The Man decides he has given all, and it is time to stop in 2021. He was nominated three times for the Deadly Award Male Sportsperson of the Year, which he received in 2003, 2006, and 2007.
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