Top 5 Heavyweight Boxers With Most TKO/KOs in History

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FILE - In this March 20, 2010 file photo, Ukrainian champion Wladimir Klitschko reacts after winning the IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight boxing title match.
(AP Photo/Frank Augstein,file)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Nov 06, 2022, 7:11 PM
  • Here's a list of the top heavyweight boxers with the most knockouts.
  • Primo Carnera leads the list.

There is a big chance that when looking at the boxing odds, the heavyweight division will top all the weight classes in the sport because of the plethora of champions and big names. Icons such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Tyson Fury and Leon Spinks, household names in boxing betting lines, have cemented the legacy of the heavyweight division with their respective quintessential moments and highlight-reel knockouts.

Speaking of knockouts, some fighters notched more than others, and today, I’ve identified the heavyweight boxers who piled up the most knockouts in the division. Here’s the top five list of them.

Top 5 Heavyweight Boxers With Most TKO/KOs in History

Primo Carnera – 71 TKO/KOs

Primo Carnera sits at the top of the heavyweight division with the most TKO/KOs in history, with 71. The Italian competed for 18 years, beginning from 1928 up until 1946. He appeared in 102 bouts, winning 88 of them and only losing 14. Carnera became the heavyweight world champion in June 1933 after defeating Jack Sharkey via sixth-round knockout. He was able to defend it twice over Paulinho Uzcudun and Tommy Loughran.

His title reign, though, was short-lived because Max Baer defeated him for the title in June 1934 with an eleventh-round TKO win. After this loss to Baer, Carnera never fought for the title again. The “Ambling Amp” finished his professional career with a high stoppage rate of 69%. Because of this, he was one of the first boxers in history to attract big audiences in America, mainly when he fought in Madison Square Garden in New York.

George Foreman – 68 TKO/KOs

Second on the list with the most TKO/KOs in the heavyweight division is George Foreman, who accumulated 68 during his professional run. He appeared in 81 bouts, winning 76 and absorbing five losses. “Big George” had a 28-year boxing career which saw him win the WBA Heavyweight Title, WBC Heavyweight Title and IBF Heavyweight Title, winning five title fights in eight attempts, including four stoppages.

Some of Foreman’s most notable wins came against Ken Norton, Joe Frazier, Michael Moorer, JB Williamson and Dwight Muhammad Qawi. The Houston, Texas native failed to win against Muhammad Ali in their October 1974 title showdown, where he suffered an eighth-round knockout loss. He claimed that he was drugged by his former coach Dick Sadler before the fight with Ali through the water he drank on fight night. Aside from Ali, he also lost to Evander Holyfield and Shannon Briggs.

Wladimir Klitschko – 53 TKO/KOs

Wladimir Klitschko is one of the best boxers in the modern era, and his 53 TKO/KOs is proof of this. The Ukrainian boxing superstar fought 69 times during his 21-year career, which began in 1996 and ended in 2017. The former WBO, IBF, IBO, and WBA Heavyweight Champion of the World only lost five times throughout his career and collected 64 wins. This impressive win-loss card became the key for him to be the longest-reigning heavyweight champion in history with 12 years of dominance.

Dr. Steelhammer defended his title 22 times before Tyson Fury ended his reign in November 2015. He defeated the likes of Chris Byrd, Lennox Lewis, Sultan Ibragimov and David Haye. Aside from Fury, he was defeated by Anthony Joshua, Lamon Brewster, Corrie Sanders and Ross Puritty. Klitschko also became one of the most-watched boxers, significantly boosting his career earnings and granting him a spot on ESPN’s list of the highest-paid athletes.

Joe Louis – 52 TKO/KOs

Joe Louis is considered one of the most lethal knockout punchers in the history of boxing because of the incredible power that allowed him to finish 52 of his 66 opponents. This number is good enough to be on the number four spot. The “Brown Bomber” only had a 17-year career run with 69 bouts. Still, he achieved magnificent accomplishments, including a 12-year championship reign, tied for the longest stretch in boxing history.

Louis needed 32 bouts (31 wins and one loss) before he finally got the chance to compete for the heavyweight title against Jim Braddock in June 1937 and cruised past Braddock with an eighth-round knockout victory. After this championship triumph, the Detroit, Michigan native successfully defended his title 25 times against the likes of Max Schmeling, Buddy Baer, Jersey Joe Walcott and Bob Pastor. Ezzard Charles stopped Louis’ title reign after a unanimous decision defeat in September 1950.

Max Baer – 51 TKO/KOs

Rounding out the top five heavyweight boxers with the most TKO/KOs is Max Baer, who had 51. The “Livermore Larupper” competed in 79 matches in his 12-year professional career, winning 66 of them and losing 13 of them. Baer never had an easy path to title contention because he needed 46 bouts and absorbed seven losses before he ultimately earned the chance to be a world champion. The wait, though, was worth it as TKO’ed Primo Carnera in June 1934 to call himself a world champion.

Unfortunately, this title run was brief because Jim Braddock snatched the title on Baer’s first-ever defense in June 1935. Despite the short championship reign, Max Baer had an impressive pile of victories over big names such as Max Schmeling, Tommy Farr and Tony Souza. The Ring magazine ranked Baer as the 20th greatest heavyweight boxer in 1998. He was also inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1984 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

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Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with B.A in Communication and is currently a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with B.A in Communication and is currently a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.