Boxers are some of the most athletic people on the planet and over the years we’ve witnessed some fighters that were in truly phenomenal shape. While most professional boxers don’t aim to grow muscles, it is often a consequence of their extreme and rigorous training along with being genetically gifted and following a strict diet. To learn more about the physiques within boxing, see our article on The Best Body Types For Boxing. However, I also think its important to mention that your physique has little to no significance on your ability as a fighter. Take for Instance Tyson Fury, easily the best heavyweight of this generation. His physique is far from impressive but he outclassed multiple fighters on this list.
But this list is all about aesthetics and muscle so below we have ranked the best physiques we’ve seen throughout boxing history using bodybuilding critique:
#1 Evander Holyfield
|Alias||The Real Deal|
I think Evander Holyfield perfectly represents the stereotypical boxer physique. He looked in excellent shape throughout his career and still looks very impressive to this day. With broad shoulders and good muscle development throughout his upper body, Holyfield seems to possess great genetics for gaining muscle mass. For the most part, Holyfield was well proportioned during his years in boxing but his trapezius muscles were the one feature that made him look even bigger and lead to many people drawing the comparison between him and aesthetic bodybuilders.
#2 Steve Cunningham
Cunningham is one of the less well-known fighters on this list but he has one of the best physiques. He competed in both the Cruiserweight and Heavyweight divisions. Cunningham is probably best known for fighting WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury back in 2013. Despite getting KO’d in the fight, Cunningham was actually able to give Fury some trouble and knocked him down in the 2nd round. But regardless, Steve Cunningham has one of the best physiques in boxing. He has great genetics and carries a lot of muscle around his chest and shoulders while remaining very lean. He also has optimal muscle insertions for things like bodybuilding.
#3 David Haye
David Haye has often been recognized for having one of the best physiques in boxing. He competed in both the Cruiserweight and Heavyweight Division collecting two world titles along the way. During his move to the heavyweight division, Haye fought the likes of Nikolai Valuev, Wladimir Klitschko, and Derek Chisora. Haye has quite the traditional aesthetic physique, its comparable to Adonis Creed from the Rocky Franchise played by Michael B. Jordan. Haye carries a lot of muscle around his upper body while having a relatively small waist. All of which are attributes you’d typically find among classic bodybuilders.
#4 Wladimir Klitschko
I think the most impressive thing about Wladimir’s physique is his size. His proportions aren’t great as he has quite a thick waste and a stocky build but he holds onto a lot of muscle. His chest, arms, and shoulders are positively massive which is even more impressive considering he is 41 in the photo shown above. Wladimir is also quite lean which is surprising for a heavyweight of his size and stature, some heavyweights like Haye and Cunningham have a lean physique but they aren’t genuine heavyweights. Wladimir, however, is a true heavyweight and is still able to remain relatively low body fat.
#5 Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua has one of the best physiques in boxing today. Like Wladimir Klitschko, his best attribute is his natural size. Joshua possesses a large wide frame and has a lot of muscle around his arms, chest, and shoulders but he has quite a thick waste. Anthony Joshua isn’t quite as lean as some of the other fighters on this list but he still has quite a low body fat for a heavyweight of his size. You’d typically find heavyweights with this size and stature to have a physique closer to Dillian Whyte’s.
#6 Ken Norton
Norton was a legendary heavyweight, sharing the ring with the likes of Ali, Foreman, and Holmes. But unlike many of the heavyweights from his generation, Norton had an incredibly impressive physique, even by today’s standard. That’s not to say the other heavyweights were in bad shape but it was clear that Norton was genetically gifted with his physique. He carried a lot of muscle like most heavyweights but he was much leaner which exposed his muscle insertions. Many bodybuilders cut in order to look like this but that is with the science and technology we have now. Back then, Norton’s physique was simply a testament to his training and genetics.
#7 Timothy Bradley Jr
|Name||Timothy Bradley Jr|
For Timothy Bradley, the least impressive thing about his physique is his size. He carries a decent amount of muscle for someone his height and weight but it isn’t anything extraordinary. As you can see from the photo above, he roughly has the same dimensions as Manny Pacquiao. However, Bradley was incredibly lean during his fights, he appeared to hold onto very little water and fat which emphasizes his muscles giving the perception of size. This level of leanness could even be comparable to some bodybuilders.
#8 Kell Brook
|Alias||The Special One – Special K|
Like Timothy Bradley, Kell Brook doesn’t have too much size to his physique which is completely understandable considering his height and weight class. However, his leanness and conditioning are very impressive, photographed above is Kell Brook during the weight of his fight with Amir Khan where he looks incredibly dry. Brook also has excellent muscle insertions which combined with his low body gives him a very good physique despite not being that big.
#9 Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson is, without a doubt, one of the best heavyweights to ever grace the ring but his physique is often overlooked. As he was quite short for a heavyweight, standing at 5ft 10″, Tyson looked very stocky at 220lbs. He didn’t have the greatest proportions but he held onto a lot of muscle in both his upper and lower body. While Tyson wasn’t the leanest heavyweight, he was still quite well defined as you can see from the image above. Tyson had a true athletic physique, his muscles weren’t excessive, and apparently he never even lifted weights. Instead he lots of bodyweight exercises and routines developed by Cus D’Amato in order to get into shape.
#10 Shannon Briggs
Shannon Briggs had one of the most impressive physiques in boxing. The amount of mass he was able to actually carry was quite extraordinary. He was incredibly wide around both his shoulders and waist while being relatively lean. His physique was also reflected in his fighting style. Shannon holds the most 1st round knockouts out of any heavyweight. He was always a fast starter due to his issues asthma but his physique further emphasizes his attitude towards his fights.