Roy Jones Jr. currently holds the record for most wins in unified light heavyweight title contests in boxing history, with 12. He has won the Best Boxer ESPY Award three times (1996, 2000, and 2003), as well as several other honors. Jones also holds the distinction of being the only fighter to win the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles.
Jones's career-ending injury in August 2015 ended his run at number one on this list. Former champion James Toney is next with nine victories, followed by John Ruiz with eight. George Foreman, Mike Tyson, and Peter McNeeley each have seven victories credited to their name.
It is worth mentioning that from 1935 to 1951 no light heavyweight champion was recognized by any major sanctioning body. Therefore, those years will not be considered when looking at these lists.
Now back to our list...
In order to be ranked here, a light heavyweight boxer must have competed against quality opposition and held at least one major championship.
Some notable light heavyweights who were never champions include Henry Hank, Doug Jones, Tony Lazzeri, Earl Lewis, Oliver McCall, Paul Manners, Don Murray, Ron Stander, and Kevin Sullivan. There have been many more but we feel these fifteen do enough to make the list.
Len Wickwar has the most victories and matches of any boxer in history. Wickwar fought 467 times, winning 339 of them. He was also on the score card 39 times.
Sam Langford is second with 377 wins (including knockouts). He was in the ring for 1,022 fights overall.
Henry Armstrong is third with 366 wins (including losses). He was in the ring for 984 fights overall.
Eddie Hearn is fourth with 354 wins (including losses). He was in the ring for 914 fights overall.
Lennox Lewis is fifth with 345 wins (including losses). He was in the ring for 889 fights overall.
Charles Martin is sixth with 323 wins (including losses). He was in the ring for 772 fights overall.
Roger Clinton is seventh with 312 wins (including losses). He was in the ring for 697 fights overall.
Clay Taylor is eighth with 300 wins (including losses). He was in the ring for 653 fights overall.
Terry Norris is ninth with 287 wins (including losses). He was in the ring for 556 fights overall.
Joe Louis Joe Louis (66-3, 52 KOs) Furthermore, Louis' 26 cumulative championship match wins are the most by a heavyweight in the sport's history. Louis is unquestionably the most accomplished heavyweight champion in history. He was the light-heavyweight champion of world championshipboxing's first world belt. Additionally, he held the heavyweight title twice. In fact, no boxer has ever been recognized as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
Louis became the heavy-weight champion on March 17, 1937, when he defeated Max Schmeling at Yankee Stadium. The fight was for the vacant title; Jack Dempsey had lost his title to Louis earlier that year. At the time of their meeting, Schmeling was considered the number one contender for Louis' crown.
Louis made his first defense of his title against British challenger Tommy Burns on January 31, 1938, at Madison Square Garden. He knocked out Burns in the fifth round to retain his title.
In April 1939, Louis made his second defense of the title against German boxer Karl Schnellbacher. The fight took place at Madison Square Garden and marked the only time in history that a fighter has defended his title twice against different opponents. Louis won the bout by TKO in the ninth round.
Marciano is the only boxer to have knocked out every opponent he's ever fought for the world heavyweight championship, and he has the greatest knockout-to-win ratio in world heavyweight title fights (85.7 percent). His 87.8 percent career knockout-to-win percentage is one of the greatest in heavyweight boxing history.
Joe Louis (1914-1981), well known as the "Brown Bomber," was the world heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949, an almost twelve-year run that set a new world record. Louis, an African-American boxer, is arguably most remembered for his legendary bouts with German fighter Max Schmeling.
Foreman is ranked as the eighth-greatest heavyweight of all time by the International Boxing Research Organization. The Ring rated him one of the top 25 boxers of the last 80 years in 2002. According to The Ring, he is the ninth-greatest puncher of all time. BoxRec lists him as being one of the greatest heavyweights of all time.
In terms of career earnings, Foreman is second only to Joe Louis among black boxers. His estimated net worth is $50 million.
Foreman was a three-time world champion in his weight class, having held the titles from 1974 to 1975 and again from 1977 to 1978. He remains the only man to defeat Muhammad Ali twice. As an amateur, Foreman won the gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, where he defeated Jerry Page for the gold medal in the men's light heavyweight division (175 lbs).
George Foreman is considered by many boxing experts to be the best pound-for-pound fighter of all time. He was also named one of the greatest boxers of all time by ESPN and The Ring.
Foreman came from an impoverished family in rural Georgia. At age 14, he started working in local clubs as a bouncer and dishwasher to help support his family. He later worked as a truck driver and a meat cutter before turning pro in 1970.
3. Larry Holmes (69-6-0-44): Without a doubt, the greatest underappreciated heavyweight champion of all time. Holmes was the whole deal, as he not only possessed exceptional boxing abilities but also demonstrated on several occasions that he possessed the heart and tenacity of a champion. He was one of the best heavyweights in history, so it's not like he wasn't recognized before or after his title run. But still, he earned a reputation as being very difficult to beat because he kept winning titles until he lost them all.
He started his professional career at the age of 21 in 1958 with a record of 19-1. In 1959, he became the light heavyweight champion by defeating George Logan with a technical knockout in round six. After one year away from the ring, he returned as a heavyweight and defended his title against Tony Zale seven times in total. His record was 40-4-0 with 39 wins by KO/TKO. In 1964, he lost his title to Charles Woltz via decision. However, he regained it two years later by beating Woltz again. In 1977, he retired after losing his title to Michael Spinks. During his career, he only suffered one loss by KO/TKO. That incident occurred in 1961 when he was just 22 years old vs. Frank Bruno. Since then, he has only been beaten by experienced fighters.
Jonathan Dwight Jones is a light heavyweight champion from the United States. He won the championship for the first time in 2011 when he was 23 years and eight months old, defeating Mauricio Rua. He went on to have an incredible career in the ring, never losing as the UFC's Light Heavyweight Champion. His final fight was in January 2019 when he lost to Jan Blachowicz at UFC on ESPN+ 14.
He started his professional martial arts career at the age of 11 when he joined his local dojo. He eventually moved to Florida where he trained under Eddie Mendez at the American Top Team until 2000 when he moved back to California to join Greg Jackson's camp. There he met Mauricio Rua who was looking for a new challenge after leaving the former PRIDE Fighting Championships where he had two losses. They quickly became friends and when Rua decided to move to California too, they formed a team that would become one of the most successful in history. In their first fight together, at UFC 92, they faced off against each other with Jones winning by TKO in the third round. This set up a rematch at UFC 198 where this time it was Jones who came out on top again, this time by unanimous decision. With these two victories under his belt, Jones wanted to prove himself against the best fighters in the world. He fought three times in 2013 including one exhibition match where he beat Mirko Cro Cop by TKO at the first round.