Top 20 Greatest Female Professional Boxers of All Time

Celebrating the Greatest Female Boxers in History

From Olympic gold medalists to record-breaking world champions, female professional boxers have shattered barriers and proven their dominance in the ring. 

Explore the top 20 greatest female boxers of all time – trailblazers who paved the way and modern icons continuing to elevate the sport.

Pioneering Women Who Paved the Way

Though facing immense opposition, early pioneers fought to establish women’s professional boxing. Figures like Barbara Buttrick gained attention in the 1950s, while Cathy “Cat” Davis drew crowds in the 70s. In 1997, Christy Martin made history as the first female boxer to headline a casino main event and later championed rules changes requiring women fighters have their own titles and weight classes. 

These trailblazers cleared the path for the female boxing stars we celebrate today.

An Era of Champions Emerges

Into the new millennium, female boxers earned mainstream recognition and championship glory. Laila Ali went undefeated from 1999-2007 as a World Boxing Champion in multiple weight classes, cementing her status as one of the best. 

2000s stars like Ann Wolfe, Regina Halmich, and Lucia Rijker also gained fame with title reigns.

In more recent years, Claressa Shields has taken over as a dominant force claiming gold medals and professional championships. On the grandest stage, Nicola Adams made history as the first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal in 2012.

Laila Ali – Undefeated Champion and Daughter of the Legend

Laila Ali - Undefeated Champion and Daughter of the Legend
Key StatsAccomplishments
24-0 Record8 Year Undefeated Professional Career
21 KOsWIBA, IWBF, IBA Super Middleweight Champion
Daughter of Muhammad AliWBC, WIBA and IWBF Light Heavyweight Champion

“She moves well and she has good hand speed. But I don’t think she’s a go-out-and-press type of fighter like myself.” – Laila Ali on female fighter Christy Martin

Laila Ali followed her father’s footsteps into the ring, proving her championship mettle from 1999-2007. With an undefeated 24-0 record, she dominated across weight classes like no other female in the game. Humble yet confident, Ali overcame early opposition to make women’s boxing unforgettable.

Ann Wolfe – Relentless Powerhouse in the Ring

Ann Wolfe - Relentless Powerhouse in the Ring
Key StatsAccomplishments
24-1 Record2006 IWBF Female Fighter of the Year
16 KOs4x Middleweight World Champion
Heavy HandsRecord 32 Combined Title Defenses

Ann Wolfe overwhelmed foes through the late 90s and 2000s with her relentless pressure and vicious power. She captured multiple middleweight titles, making 32 successful defenses over her reign. 

Wolfe stands out as one of the most active and dominant female professional champions ever.

Regina Halmich – Germany’s Golden Girl of Boxing

Regina Halmich - Germany's Golden Girl of Boxing
Key StatsAccomplishments
54-1-1 RecordWIBF and WIBA Flyweight World Champion
16 KOsDefended titles 19 times over 13 years
Olympic Bronze 1992First German woman to win world boxing title

Regina Halmich made history as Germany’s most successful female boxer of all time. Her accolades include a 13-year title reign, Olympic bronze medal, and 54-1-1 record. In 2003, she became the first female professional to gross $1 million in earnings from a single event.

Halmich’s skills and marketability elevated women’s boxing.

Lucia Rijker – Dutch Destroyer with a Legendary Career

Lucia Rijker - Dutch Destroyer with a Legendary Career
Key StatsAccomplishments
17-0 RecordWIBF, IWBF, IBC World Champion
14 KOsVoted Greatest Female Boxer by Boxing Writers Assoc.
5 Division ChampionInducted into World Boxing Hall of Fame

“She is the best women boxer that ever put on gloves.” – Bob Arum on Lucia Rijker

From 1992-1996, no female boxer was more feared or dominant than Lucia Rijker. With ruthless power and technical brilliance, “The Dutch Destroyer” ran through the super featherweight, lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight ranks. 

Rijker’s legendary 17-0 career earned her a plaque in the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame.

Christy Martin – Trailblazer for Pay-Per-View Women’s Boxing

Key StatsAccomplishments
49-7-3 Record4x WBC and WBA Champion
31 KOsFirst female main event at MGM Grand Garden Arena
Headlined First Women’s Boxing PPVFought Mike Tyson on charity event undercard

Before the rise of women’s boxing today, Christy Martin made history as a true pioneer. In 1996, she headlined the first female boxing match broadcast on premium cable and just two years later, became the first female to headline a major casino venue main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Martin faced great adversity, including a near-fatal 2010 attack by her husband, but overcame to champion rule changes and shine a spotlight on female fighters during pivotal years. She is credited with generating mainstream interest and paving the way for the growth of female boxing.

Nicola Adams – Historic Olympic Gold Medalist

Nicola Adams - Historic Olympic Gold Medalist
Key StatsAccomplishments
17-0-1 Record (Pro)First female to win Olympic boxing gold (2012)
Undefeated as AmateurDefended title in 2016 Rio Olympics
Held Female Flyweight TitlesOnly female boxer to hold Olympic and Commonwealth titles

Hailing from Leeds, England, Nicola Adams made history at the 2012 London Olympics becoming the first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal. She successfully retained her title at the 2016 Rio Games. Turning pro in 2017, Adams claimed the WBO female flyweight championship and unified the division belts. Her trailblazing career transcended gender barriers in global boxing.

Amanda Serrano – Puerto Rican Powerhouse Across Seven Divisions

Amanda Serrano - Puerto Rican Powerhouse Across Seven Divisions
Key StatsAccomplishments
42-1-1 Record7 Weight Class World Champion
30 KOsFirst Puerto Rican Female Boxing Champion
Multi-Division Record HolderFuture Hall of Famer

“I always want to fight the best and those are the fights that fans want to see.” – Amanda Serrano

Amanda Serrano’s blend of speed and power has seen her hold world championships in an astonishing 7 weight classes from 115 to 140 pounds. The Puerto Rican phenomenon has already secured future Hall of Fame status. Serrano continues pursuing legacy defining fights, like her upcoming dream match with [opponent TBA].

Katie Taylor – Irish Icon and Unified Lightweight Champion

Katie Taylor - Irish Icon and Unified Lightweight Champion
Key StatsAccomplishments
21-0 RecordOlympic Gold Medalist (2012)
6 KOs5 Time World Amateur Champion
Dominant Pro CareerCurrent Undisputed Lightweight Champion

As one of Ireland’s most celebrated athletes, Katie Taylor has proven unstoppable as a professional. After Olympic gold in the 2012 London games, Taylor has won and unified all the major lightweight belts with dominant skill.

Her epic 2022 Madison Square Garden victory over Amanda Serrano cemented her icon status.

Claressa Shields – Olympic Glory and Professional Dominance

Claressa Shields - Olympic Glory and Professional Dominance
Key StatsAccomplishments
12-0 Record3x Olympic Gold Medalist (2012, 2016, 2020)
2 KOsUnified Champion at 160 and 154 lbs
Only Boxer to Hold Undisputed Titles in Two Weight ClassesFirst Double-Undisputed Champion

“I am the GWOAT, that’s Greatest Woman of All Time. Prove me wrong.” – Claressa Shields

Is there anything Claressa Shields cannot achieve? The Flint, Michigan native made history as the first American boxer, male or female, to capture consecutive Olympic gold medals. 

Turning professional in 2016, she has rapidly unified world titles in middleweight and junior middleweight, becoming the first boxer in the four-belt era to hold all championships in two weight classes simultaneously.

Shields is well on her way to GWOAT (Greatest Woman of All Time) status, continuing to seek mega-fights and historic achievements. With her sublime skills, iron will, and dominant performances, she is cementing herself as an all-time boxing great.

Holly Holm – MMA Crossover Star and Former Champ

Holly Holm - MMA Crossover Star and Former Champ
Key StatsAccomplishments
14-5 Record (Boxing)UFC Bantamweight Champion
10-4 Record (MMA)Defeat of Ronda Rousey at UFC 193
33-2-3 Record (Pro Boxing)18x Boxing World Champion (3 divisions)

Holly Holm first made her name in the boxing ring, capturing 18 world titles across 3 weight classes in a stellar 11-year pro career. After transitioning to MMA in 2011, she gained mainstream fame with her shocking 2015 head kick KO of Ronda Rousey to claim UFC gold. 

Holm’s elite boxing skills have made her a force across combat sports.

Cecilia Braekhus – Norway’s ‘First Lady’ and Welterweight Queen

Cecilia Braekhus - Norway's 'First Lady' and Welterweight Queen
Key StatsAccomplishments
36-1 RecordFirst Female to Unify Welterweight Titles
25 World Title DefensesCurrent Record of 21 Consecutive Title Defenses
Reigned 2009-202011 Year World Title Reign

“The First Lady” Cecilia Braekhus dominated the welterweight division for over a decade with her precise technique and brilliant ring generalship. 

The Norwegian southpaw unified all major 147 lb titles and compiled 25 world championship defenses – at one point stringing together 21 consecutive successful retentions. Braekhus’ Hall of Fame credentials are unquestioned.

Seniesa Estrada – Rising Talent in the Lower Weight Classes

Seniesa Estrada – Rising Talent in the Lower Weight Classes
Key StatsAccomplishments
23-0 RecordWBA and WBC Silver Titles
9 KOsTop Prospect in Flyweight Division
Formidable All-Around GameDefeated Top Contenders Marlen Esparza & Anabel Ortiz

Nicknamed the “Superbad Mexican”, Seniesa Estrada has rapidly risen to become one of the most exciting female fighters in the lower weight classes. The undefeated contender recently made a statement against decorated Olympian Marlen Esparza, dominating en route to a unanimous decision. Estrada has the blend of technique, power and dynamic footwork to compete for world titles soon.

Jessica McCaskill – Chicago’s ‘CasKILLA’ Taking Over Welterweight

Jessica McCaskill - Chicago's 'CasKILLA' Taking Over Welterweight
Key StatsAccomplishments
12-2 RecordCurrent Unified Welterweight World Champion
5 KOsChampionship Victories Over Cecilia Braekhus (x2)
Late Career BreakoutUnderdog Mindset & Never-Say-Die Determination

After turning pro late at age 33, Jessica McCaskill burst onto the championship scene in 2020 as a huge underdog. The “CasKILLA” upset long-reigning queen Cecilia Braekhus twice to claim the welterweight throne, adding two more title defenses since. McCaskill’s heart, willpower, and relentless body attack make her nightmare for anyone in the division.

Marlen Esparza – Storied Amateur and Pro Flyweight Star

Marlen Esparza - Storied Amateur and Pro Flyweight Star
Key StatsAccomplishments
12-1 Record2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist
1 KO6x US Amateur National Champion
Stellar Recent FormWBC & WBA Flyweight Title Challenger

Marlen Esparza’s amateur pedigree was second to none with medals at Pan-Am Games, World Championships and the Olympics. Since turning professional, the Houston native has gradually found her rhythm and style in the paid ranks. Riding a 6-fight win streak with title attempts on the horizon, Esparza has the footwork and combinations to rule the flyweight division.

Mikaela Mayer – Olympian Making Waves as a Super Featherweight

Mikaela Mayer - Olympian Making Waves as a Super Featherweight
Key StatsAccomplishments
17-0 Record2016 Olympian for Team USA
5 KOsCurrent WBO Super Featherweight Champion
Top Prospect & Rising StarComing into Her Prime at Age 32

After representing the United States at the 2016 Rio Games, the Los Angeles born Mikaela Mayer turned pro and has steadily climbed the ranks. In 2020 she captured the WBO super featherweight title, successfully defending it three times. Mayer combines world class skills with a charismatic personality. The 32 year old is now blossoming into her prime years as one of boxing’s most promising talents.

Alycia Baumgardner – Powerful Puncher Claiming Junior Lightweight Gold

Alycia Baumgardner - Powerful Puncher Claiming Junior Lightweight Gold
Key StatsAccomplishments
12-1 RecordCurrent Unified Junior Lightweight World Champion
7 KOsChampionship Victory Over Mikaela Mayer in 2022
Heavy Hands & Relentless PressureCame Through the Tough Detroit Fight Scene

Don’t let her baby face fool you – “The Bomb” Alycia Baumgardner packs brutal punching power and stopping ability. Following an upset loss early in her career, the Detroit native remained determined, steadily improving. 

In 2022, Baumgardner shocked unified champion Mikaela Mayer via split decision to claim the WBC, IBF and IBO 130 lb titles. With her aggression, grit and thudding blows, she has announced herself as a real force.

The Next Generation: Prospects to Watch

The future of women’s boxing burns bright with talent coming up through the ranks:

  • Featherweight Heather Hardy has a cult following and endless heart
  • Young prodigy Ramla Ali is taking the UK scene by storm
  • Japan’s Tsunami Tenkai has flashed KO power and technique at 102 lbs
  • Amanda Serrano’s sister Cindy is an undefeated superbantamweight contender
  • Amateur standout Rashida Ellis aims to make a splash since turning pro

With more high-profile female fights and expanding media coverage, women’s boxing is witnessing an impressive surge in mainstream popularity and opportunities. The next generation will only continue elevating the sport.

The Future of Women’s Boxing

The Future of Women's Boxing

After decades of obstruction, female boxers now command the spotlight with regularly sold-out arenas, premium TV deals and lucrative purses never seen before. Boxing’s power brokers see women athletes as prime attractions, not novelty acts.

Trailblazers past and present have laid the foundations for women’s boxing to reach incredible new summits. The influx of dedicated young talent spanning all weight divisions points to an era of unprecedented depth and competitiveness. Meanwhile, crossover superstar appeal will only grow following the sport’s inclusion in the Olympics and rising staple on digital platforms.

As Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach stated: “The future of boxing isn’t limited to men. These women are the future of the sport. They’re ready to take it to another level.”

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