Boxing is without a doubt one of the most popular sports in the world, and it has produced some of the most iconic figures of recent times. Throughout the history of the sport, many great fighters have come out of France, from world-renowned champions to up-and-coming prospects. In this post, we will be taking a look at some of the best boxers France has produced over the years.
Marcel Cerdan, nicknamed "The Casablanca Clouter," is often regarded as the greatest French boxer of all time. Born in 1916 in Algeria, Marcel became interested in boxing at a young age and began his professional career in 1934. After an amazing run of victories, Marcel won the world middleweight championship in 1948 by defeating Tony Zale in Jersey City, New Jersey. In 1949, Marcel was killed in a plane crash while on his way to the United States for a rematch with Jake LaMotta.
Georges Carpentier, known as "The Orchid Man," was born in Northern France in 1894. He was one of the first boxers to surpass $1 million (in today's dollars) in prize money. Georges began his professional career in 1908, and by 1911, he had already won the French middleweight championship. Georges went on to win the world light heavyweight championship in 1920 by defeating Battling Levinsky. Georges continued his career until 1927 when he retired with a professional record of 88 wins, 14 losses, and six draws.
Tony Yoka is a French heavyweight boxer who won a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Born in Paris in 1992, Tony started boxing at the age of 12 and quickly rose to fame after winning his first national championship in 2011. Tony went on to win the European heavyweight title in 2015 before going on to win gold at the Rio Olympics the following year. Tony is considered one of the top heavyweight prospects in the world and currently holds a professional record of nine wins and no losses.
Christophe Tiozzo, born in 1963 in Cannes, is one of the most successful French boxers of all time. He won the world light heavyweight championship in 1990 and successfully defended the title multiple times before losing it in 1993. In 1995, Christophe won the WBC cruiserweight championship and held the title for two years before retiring from boxing in 1999. Christophe ended his professional career with a record of 48 wins, two losses, and two draws.
Alexis Vastine was a French amateur boxer who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and participated in the 2012 London Olympics. Born in Nîmes in 1986, Alexis began boxing at the age of six and quickly rose to prominence as one of the most talented amateur boxers in France. Tragically, in 2015, Alexis was killed in a helicopter crash while filming a French reality TV show.
Frédéric Klose, born in 1978, is a French former professional boxer who held the European heavyweight title. He turned professional in 2001 and fought his last fight in 2005 with a record of nine wins and two losses. His biggest achievement was winning the vacant European heavyweight title against the Finnish Juho Haapoja in 2004, making him the first German-speaking boxer of France to hold the title.
Brahim Asloum, born in 1979, is a retired French boxer who won a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the light flyweight division. He turned professional in 2001, and his highlight was winning the WBA and Lineal flyweight championships in 2007 before retiring in 2010. His final record was 36 wins, 6 losses and 0 draws.
Mehdi Sahnoune, born in 1975, was a former French professional boxer who was a former WBA super-middleweight champion. He turned professional in 1998 with a record of 21 wins, 0 losses and 0 draws, and went on to win the super-middleweight championship over Byron Mitchell in 2003. He held the title until losing it in 2005 to Mikkel Kessler in a majority decision.