Women’s boxing has a long history
Women’s boxing can trace its roots back to the 18th century. But for many years it was outlawed across the world and only made something of a comeback in the late 1990s. The sport was handed a boost when it was announced that it would feature as an official event at the 2012 London Olympics – and it has not looked back since.
There have been some incredible – and awe-inspiring – female boxers in the last 20 years or so. Many of these top athletes have featured in the most popular boxing betting markets. So we thought we would highlight five of the very best, pound-for-pound female boxers of all time.
Many consider Ann Wolfe to be the hardest female puncher of all time, so she had to take pride of place in our list of boxers. That power enabled Wolfe to stop 16 of her 26 opponents inside the distance and won her three world championships in three different weight classes.
Wolfe retired in 2006 and has since moved into training, with one of her daughters and light-middleweight James Kirkland as just two of her students. She also made the leap to the silver screen in 2017 when she played the role of Artemis in Hollywood blockbuster Wonder Woman.
When your father is Muhammad Ali a career in boxing might seem like an obvious step. But Laila Ali ran a successful nail salon before deciding to pick up the gloves in 1999. She then went on to become one of the greatest in the sport, winning all 24 career fights – 21 by knockout.
In that time Ali became the IWBF light heavyweight champion, as well as the WBC, WIBA, IWBF and IBA super middleweight champion. Ali finally hung up the gloves in 2007 after beating Gwendolyn O’Neil in South Africa and has gone on to forge a very successful television career.
This former kickboxer from Norway thoroughly deserves to be included in a list of greatest ever female boxers – and at one time had gone 36 fights without losing a single one. She was the undisputed female welterweight champion from 2014 to 2020.
Braekhus became only the third boxer ever – male or female – to hold all four major versions of the world title, only being beaten to that achievement by Bernard Hopkins and Jermaine Taylor. She is so well regarded in the sport that she was named the inaugural Female Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2017.
Halmich burst onto the scene in 1994 and is credited with boosting the popularity of women’s boxing in Europe during her long and distinguished career. Before her retirement in 2007 the German boxer had won 54 of her 56 bouts – 16 coming by way of knockout.
She is another boxer that came through as a successful amateur kickboxer before becoming a professional. Halmich obviously took to the discipline and won the WIBF junior flyweight title before going on to claim both the flyweight and super flyweight belts.
The final name on our list was nicknamed ‘The Most Dangerous Woman in the World’ and her record in the ring as kickboxer and a boxer definitely warrants that moniker. She even took a mid-career break in 1999 to pursue acting in Hollywood before returning to more victories in the ring.
In her time, Rijker won the WIBF world super lightweight and WIBO junior welterweight titles and finally retired in 2004 with a perfect record of 17 wins in 17 fights, 14 by knockout. She had stated that she would only come out of retirement to fight Laila Ali – but that intriguing bout unfortunately never came into fruition.