The world of female boxing has been extremely crazy in the past decades. Even now, the sport gains more momentum as more practitioners of the fighting style enter the gyms hoping to test their mettle in the ring.
While the pace may seem slow, the intensity is as high as ever. Especially when it comes to breaking records and reshaping boxing history, the world of female and male boxing has certainly no differences.
Whether it’s holding several titles simultaneously, competing and winning in multiple weight divisions, scoring the fastest knockouts, or anything you can think of, female boxers have definitely taken the game to the next level.
Needless to say, female boxers have left behind a legacy that is truly motivational, inspirational and downright legendary and awesome.
While this is obviously not a comprehensive or an objective list, it’s still a tribute to some of the legends of female boxing who’ve ever lived:
10- Ann Wolfe
Total Bouts: 26
K-O Wins: 16
No Contests: 1
Ann Wolfe is an iconic name that all in the fight business know of even today.
Having been the one to deliver the world’s greatest knockout punch in women’s boxing history against the undefeated champion Vonda Ward in just 1 minute and 18 seconds of the first round, she became known as Brown Sugar, a reference to the great boxing legend, not that Ann wasn’t going to become one herself.
Ann Wolfe once held world titles in three weight divisions simultaneously. After defeating foes in all leagues, with some massively heavier and more powerful than herself, she became known as one of the greatest female boxers of all time.
Ann “Brown Sugar” Wolfe had a total of 26 bouts, of which she won 24, lost one and had one no contest. The one loss she suffered was the first and the last knock-out of her career delivered by Valerie Mahfood.
In her 8-year career, Ann managed to gain a highly respected spot in the boxing hall of fame. She knocked out 16 opponents such as:
- Gina Nicholas
- Vonda Ward
- Cassandra Giger
- Monica Nunez and more
With her last fight in 2006, Wolfe knocked out Cassandra Giger, after which she declared that she was now going to retire as a boxer herself and devote her time to training up-and-coming boxers.
Starting from her own community, Ann Wolfe has been training in gyms and has even trained former light-middleweight contender James Kirkland along with other professional boxers.
Recently, Ann starred in Wonder Woman back in 2017 in the supporting role of the Amazon Artemis. She continues to live in Austin and owns a business.
9- Laila Ali
Total Bouts: 24
K-O Wins: 21
While some might say that she had a head start because of her father or even lived in the shadow of her father, Laila “She Bee Stingin” Ali is just as great a boxer as Muhammad Ali or as her record would say, even better.
Having suffered no losses in her 24-fight career, she managed to get 21 knock-outs and retired at the age of 29. What’s astonishing for many fans is to know that Laila first worked as a manicurist in her own salon before she turned to the ring at the age of 18.
Laila herself says that it was watching Christy Martin on television that motivated her to take up boxing gloves.
What’s more is that Laila managed to get in the top ranks so fast that she actually got the chance to fight her inspiration, i.e. Christy Martin and managed to give the iconic female boxing legend one of the only two knock-outs of her career.
Laila Ali has held the WBC, WIBA, IWBF and IBA female super middleweight titles. Some of her notable matchups and wins involved opponents such as:
- Gwendolyn O’Neil
- Christy Martin
- Valerie Mahfood
- Nikki Eplion
- Jacqui Frazier (daughter of Joe Frazier)
- Shelley Burton and more
Regardless of whether that fight happens or even if Laila loses the fight, she will inevitably and undoubtedly remain one of the greatest female boxers of all time. Though she may not be in the ring, Laila does more than her share for the female boxing world.
From making women aware of the benefits of boxing to training and encouraging them, Laila has managed to gain a rather massive following even after her retirement.
8- Claressa Shields
Total Bouts: 11
K-O Wins: 2
Anyone who is keeping up modern-day female boxing needs no introduction to Claressa “T-Rex” Shields. This rising star started out in boxing around 2016 and has managed to score a total of 11 victories in all 11 bouts she’s fought.
She’s also managed to become one of the only 9 boxers in the world, male or female, to hold all 4 major world titles simultaneously, right next to:
- Cecilia Braekhus
- Jessica McCaskill
- Katie Taylor
- Josh Taylor
- Jermain Taylor
- Bernard Hopkins
- Terrence Crawford
- Oleksandr Usyk
While her knockout ratio isn’t as high as others on the list, the number of victories she’s scored is nonetheless commendable enough for the whole world of boxing to demand a fight between her and the famous Laila Ali, even though the legendary daughter of the GOAT Muhammad Ali is almost 20 years older than Claressa.
The hype is getting real as Claressa and Laila exchange words over social media and live television, calling the federations to set the price high enough to make it worthwhile for both the boxers, especially enough to convince Laila to come out of her retirement with her boxing gloves on.
However, even as this went on, Claressa hasn’t hung her gloves up in anticipation as she traveled through opponents including:
- Marie Eve Deciare
- Ivana Habazin
- Christina Hammer
- Femke Hermans
- Tori Nelson
- Nikki Adler and more
7- Jiselle Salandy (Giselle Salandy)
Total Bouts: 16
K-O Wins: 6
Hailing from Trinidad, Giselle (or Jiselle) was an undefeated unified light middleweight world champion. Having been just 13 years of age when she made her professional debut, Giselle showed promise from the start.
She held the WBA, WBC titles along with the IWBF, WIBA, WIBF, GBU female titles from 2006 until her death in 2009. She also managed to break another world record of being the youngest female in the world to win the NABC title at the age of 18.
In 2006, Giselle Salandy also became the first person in boxing history to win six world title belts in one fight. Consequently, she was awarded:
- Top History-Making Fighter of the year 2006 by WBAN.
- First Citizen Sports Woman of the year 2006 by The First Citizen Sports Foundation in Trinidad and Tobago
- Chaconia Gold Medal by the President of Trinidad and Tobago
- Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the first-ever boxer in the history of the Caribbean to receive the highest national award.
In 2008, after Natascha Ragosina broke her record by winning 7 world titles in one fight, Salandy set another record by winning 8 world titles in one fight by beating the undefeated Karolina Lukasik two weeks later.
She also broke the Caribbean record by being the first boxer in the history of the region to successfully defend all her world titles six consecutive times.
Some of the most iconic fights that Jiselle had involved wins over:
- Yahaira Hernandez
- Karolina Koszewska
- Dakota Stone
- Yvonne Reis
- Miriam Brakache and more
At just the age of 21, she had an unfortunate driving accident that resulted in her untimely death. Regardless of how short-lived it may be, the mark left by Giselle Salandy is still truly one of the greatest in female boxing history.
6- Cecilia Braekhus
Total Bouts: 38
K-O Wins: 9
Better known by her name, The First Lady, Cecilia is a living legend who has managed to set unbreakable records in the world of boxing. And that’s not limited to just female boxing.
Cecilia Braekhus is one of the only 9 boxers, male or female, in history to hold all four major world titles simultaneously. She was the first woman in any weight class to be able to hold the IBF, WBO, WBC and WBA championship titles at the same time.
However, in 2016, she set another record by becoming the first-ever boxer in the world to hold five world titles from sanctioning bodies simultaneously, namely:
What sets Cecilia miles apart from the rest of the boxing world is the fact that she has managed to defend her WBC title a total of 25 times, which is more than any boxer in the history of the sport.
Cecilia The First Lady Braekhus has been named:
- Female Fighter of the Year by Boxing Writers Association of America
- Longest Reigning Female Boxing Champion by Guinness World Records
- Longest Reign as a Four-Belt Undisputed Boxing Champion by Guinness World Records
- Most Bouts Undefeated by a Female World Champion Boxer by Guinness World Records
- World’s Second-Best Active Female Welterweight by BoxRec and The Ring
5- Amanda Serrano
Total Bouts: 43
K-O Wins: 30
Amanda the Real Deal Serrano has spent enough time in the rings to prove that she is nothing less than one of the most deserving hall of famer in female boxing history.
With 41/43 wins and just one loss to her name suffered against Frida Wallberg back in 2012, Amanda Serrano has remained undefeated ever since.
She currently holds the unified featherweight world champion WBO title that she won in 2019, the WBC in February 2021, and the IBO in March 2021.
She’s become the only Puerto Rican and the only female boxer to have held world titles in more than four weight classes.
Amanda also holds the Guinness World Record for winning the highest number of boxing world championships in different weight-classes as a female, having held 9 major world titles across seven different weight classes.
Having been recognized by the WBO as the Female Boxer of the Year award for the years 2016 and 2018. The WBO also granted Amanda the first Super World Championship awarded to a woman.
Lineal Boxing Champion’s inaugural rankings declared Amanda to be the best pound for pound boxer in women’s boxing back in 2019.
Some of the boxers she’s recently won against include:
- Yamileth Mercado
- Daniela Romina Bermudez
- Dahiana Santana
- Simone Aparaceida da Silva
- Heather Hardy
- Eva Voraberger and more
4- Regina Halmich
Total Bouts: 56
K-O Wins: 16
Regina is regarded as one of the most successful female boxers of all time who was influential in the rise of the sport throughout Europe.
During the 1994-2007 era that she was active in, Regina managed to win 54 of the 56 bouts that she entered the ring to fight. With only 1 loss to her name suffered in her ninth fight back in 1995 against Yvonne Trevino, Regina has maintained a streak of over 30 consecutive wins until she had a draw with Elena Reid in 2004.
By the time she’d retired, Regina Halmich had won 46 world title fights for the WIBF world titles. Her last fight was against Hagar Finer, before which she had won her 44th successful title defense.
This fight had a televised tribute of her winnings in the past that played before she stepped into the ring. The background had music performed by the band Warlock.
Regina has undoubtedly been recognized by all of Europe as worthy of the honor of being inducted into the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame in July 2014.
Some of her notable wins in the last years of her career were against:
- Hagar Shmoulefeld Finer
- Wendy Rodriguez
- Reka Krempf
- Ria Ramnarine
- Elena Reid
- Maria Jesus Rosa and more
3- Christy Martin
Total Bouts: 59
K-O Wins: 32
For many, Christy Martin should be at the number one spot in every list of the greatest female boxers of all time. That’s because the legendary boxer was an inspiration to millions of fans and professional boxers like Laila Ali.
Christy Martin single-handedly brought about a revolutionary change in the female boxing world, taking the sport to heights never reached before, with all of it taking place during her career that spanned through 1989-2012.
Martin has held the WBC female super welterweight title in 2009. She was referred to as The Coal Miner’s Daughter because of her unbroken resolve and her fury that left 31 boxers on the floor.
Truly a living legend, Christy Martin knocked out famous boxers like:
- Lana Alexander
- Sabrina Hall
- Daniella Somers
- Cheryl Nance
- Andrea DeShong and more
Martin’s personal life took a turn towards tragedy when her husband and trainer, James Martin stabbed her several times and shot her through the torso. While it seemed like Christy’s days were over, she managed to survive but didn’t continue boxing.
James was consequently convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Christy Martin has been a boxing icon throughout the start of the 21st century for the better part of the decade.
Even now, her famous boxing attire and gloves still resonate in the boxing world as a memento of inspiration and motivation in the minds of young female boxers.
2- Mia St John
Total Bouts: 65
K-O Wins: 19
Mia The Knockout St. John has been famous for many reasons in the world of boxing and media. While her status as a boxer may not seem flawless, her career is nonetheless one of the longest spanning and definitely one of the most followed in female boxing.
Mia started boxing around 1997 and managed to get herself in 65 fights, the highest number on the list. During her prime, Mia managed to garner a reputation that would live long after she retired for being not just one of the best female boxers in the world but also as a sensational icon who starred in Playboy magazine.
She became the World Boxing Council champion in the super welterweight division, the IBA and IFBA lightweight champion and a taekwondo champion. Mia always claimed her original roots to be in the MMA fighting scene, with boxing being just one style of fighting she engages in.
Though she’s primarily known as one of the best female boxers, she’s also a reputed MMA fighter who managed to knock out Rhonda Gallegos in the first round.
In her boxing career, she’s managed to win against:
- Lisa Lewis
- Tammy Franks
- Christy Martin
- Tammy Franks
- Shelby Walker
- Joy Irvin and more
The Knockout Mia St. John will continue to be one of the longest living names in boxing history.
1- Lucia Rijker
Total Bouts: 17
K-O Wins: 14
Referred to as the Dutch Destroyer, Lucia Rijker was referred to as the greatest female boxer of all time by every boxing critic and fan.
With only one draw that kept her from a flawless record, Lucia Rijker is a legend who managed to win 35 of 36 fights that she fought in her kickboxing career and 17 of 17 fights of her boxing career that spanned from 1996-2004.
With no losses and only one draw in her entire MMA career, it’s impossible to not hold the top spot for Lucia.
Dubbed by the press as the most dangerous woman in the world, Rijker started her training in Judo at the age of 6 and after picking up fencing at the age of 15, she managed to become the Netherlands Junior Champion of the sport a year later.
When she was 15, she also picked up kickboxing and knocked out the reigning American kickboxing champion, Lily Rodriguez and managed to attain a record of 36-0 with 4 world titles.
Her only defeat in kickboxing was against the male Muay Thai champion Somchai Jaidee, having been knocked out in the second round.
Rijker joined traditional boxing and managed to win her first 14 fights but couldn’t get a match with the legendary Christy Martin.
This is when she decided to change careers from boxing in 1999 and started starring in Hollywood. Her Oscar-winning movie, Million Dollar Baby became a notable performance.
She returned to boxing in 2002, securing 3 more wins to get a total of 17-0, remaining undefeated in the ring until February 2007. It’s no secret that Rijker was influential in training the legendary Ronda Rousey for the UFC in 2012.
All contemporary women boxers as well as those who have played a role in promoting the sport in the past deserve recognition and praise. While the events inspire fans, the boxers inspire fighters to pick up their gloves and start raining down on the punching bags.
While most of these fighters have reshaped the course of history, others are in the ring as you read this, breaking sweat and blood on the canvas to leave their own marks.
As always, boxing has remained one of the best martial arts in the world and the world of female boxing has only one way to go in the future and that is up.