10 boxers who went into politics
- History has prominent names of boxers who went into politics
- They are well-versed in the intricacies of a wide variety of political structures
- Manny Pacquiao, Vitali Klitschko rank high in this list
At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be much crossover between the boxing ring and the political arena. But history has prominent names of boxers who went into politics.
It doesn’t seem like a natural pairing to debate politics while also jumping rope. But maybe most boxers are better prepared to enter politics than you believe.
They are already good at building up excitement for a bout. They know how to handle the media and have an intimate understanding of their opponents’ strengths and limitations.
Somehow, they are well-versed in the intricacies of various political structures. It’s definitely easier to negotiate Senate Reform than a title fight with Tyson Fury.
That so many former boxers went into politics makes more sense. As such, below is a rundown of boxers who went into politics against all odds.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the three-weight world champion reigned supreme. The Ring magazine places Arguello at number 20 on their list of the finest punchers of all time. He never lost a world title fight and only dropped weight divisions.
Arguello was also celebrated as a national hero in Nicaragua, where he was elected mayor of Managua at the age of 57 in 2008. He later became the president, but he tragically killed himself just months afterwards.
In his home country of Canada, Tommy Douglas enjoys widespread adulation. The previous premier of Saskatchewan (roughly similar to the U.S. governor) is warmly remembered as the man who established national healthcare for all Canadians.
However, Canadians might be astonished to find that Douglas won the amateur lightweight title in 1922 and defended it the following year. He is among successful boxers who went into politics and made it.
As the first Heavyweight champion to rule in three separate decades, Vitali Klitschko is well-known to boxing fans. His bouts against Lennox Lewis and Shannon Briggs remain etched in the minds of his fans.
A member of the Kyiv City Council since 2010 and the Mayor of the Ukrainian city since 2014, Klitschko is a go-getter. He holds the distinction of being the first professional boxing world champion to earn a doctorate degree.
Dan Vandal, a current member of Canada’s Cabinet, has a fruitful political career. He started out as a Winnipeg city councilman and ended up as Canada’s Minister of Northern Affairs
Even in the ring, Vandal held his own. He left the sport with an 18-6 record and a 50% knockout percentage. He even attempted to compete in the Canadian Middleweight Championship but was ultimately unsuccessful.
The military dictator in Uganda was a fighter from the start and is remembered as one of the most ruthless rulers in history. Human rights organizations estimate that between 100,000 and 500,000 Ugandans perished under his presidency.
Amin reigned as Uganda’s Light Heavyweight champion for 9 years before he rose to power. He is among boxers who went into politics but has a sour history of brutality in Uganda.
The recently retired eight-time world champion is undoubtedly not just the most famous boxer who turned to politics.
Since 2010, when he first entered the political arena, Manny Pacquiao has been actively involved in Philippine politics. Balancing training for world title fights with his political obligations didn’t seem to be a problem, given his 15 world title matches during that time.
However, Pacquiao’s political ambitions finally overtook his desire to continue boxing. He officially retired to vie for the presidency but failed.
The former Republican senator from Arizona was widely known and respected across the United States. He was admired by both sides of the political spectrum as a combat hero.
But before he entered politics, he was a Navy lightweight boxer. His teammates said things like, “He was not the most skilled, but he was the most feared… He kept going even when it was tough.
McCain said that the mental and physical resilience he gained from boxing helped him endure torture while a prisoner of war.
The future Mexican Hall of Famer won championships in four weight classes and had legendary feuds with Pacquiao and Barrera. A beloved figure in his hometown of Tijuana, he was elected to the Mexican Congress in 2018. This was just six years after his retirement—and is now a member of the Committee on Sports.
Provodnikov, also known as the “Siberian Rocky,” met each of his opponents with unwavering determination. Although he had a solid chin, endurance, and drive to win, Ruslan went unrecognized.
But, he was well-liked in his home country of Siberia. His fighting technique was a hit with the crowds. After retiring, Provodnikov wasted no time jumping into politics and is now a representative for the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region in his native Russia’s State Duma.
Valuev became famous for his massive bulk in the boxing arena. Valuev is among boxers who went into politics and became so tall. He is 7 feet tall and weighs over 300 pounds.
He is the world’s biggest and tallest Heavyweight champion. He won the WBA World heavyweight title twice. However, Valuev didn’t waste any time turning his newfound notoriety in Russia into a political career.
Valuev began his term in the Russian state Duma in 2011, just two years after he retired as a heavyweight champion, and he has successfully defended his place in elections.