Combat sports are like drugs, they are addictive. Whether you are a Boxer, Spectator, or even if you are in just for the risky business (betting), once you get the taste of it, it’s really hard to shake it off. No wonder why many athletes over the years have switched to boxing. Let us take a look at four famous athletes who had a successful career in boxing:
- Anthony Mundine: (rugby to boxing)
Being a son of a boxer and inspired by the legend Ali, Anthony was always enthused by the ring. His rugby league debut was at the age of 18 and quickly earned his name in the game. He became the key component in the line-up of St George-Illawarra Dragons. His concerns over racism in rugby and inspiration from Ali were enough to ignite his talent for the family trade. Trained by his own father, Tony Mundine, he entered the ring at the age of 25 and went on to set records.
He won the WBA super middleweight title twice, WBC silver light-middleweight titles, the WBA Interim, international, and the IBO middleweight crown. He is one of the most outspoken at the age of 40 with a record of 47-7 and 27 knockouts.
- Charlie Powell: (NFL to boxing)
In the 1950s, Charlie Powell was both a Top 10 heavyweight contender and a top defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers. He’s the only NFL player who boxed Ali and Patterson.
Charlie Powell debuted as a San Francisco 49ers defensive end in 1952 and made his pro debut as a boxer in 1953. It was the alternating sports that cut his boxing career short. Yet he rose to be the No. 4 in the Ring magazine heavyweight rankings.
On March 4, 1959, he knocked out the second-ranked heavyweight challenger Nino Valdes in Miami. He was a serious fighter and the passion reflected in his games. This is probably why they oversold him and he fought many big names early on. He was knocked out in the third round by Ali on Jan. 24, 1963, and on Dec. 12, 1964, Powell was stopped by Floyd Patterson on his way to the Heavyweight title. When Powell finished, he was at 25-11-3 with 17 knockouts. He was 82 when he died on the labour day in 2014.
- Sonny Bill Williams (Rugby to Boxing)
Sonny Bill Williams is a super rugby title holder in rugby union and two-time world cup winner. Bill Williams is a prodigy when it comes to rugby and a professional boxer.
He believes that Boxing has made him a better person. But it seems like he was never able to make his mind as to which game to play. Around his rugby career, he made his boxing debut in 2009 and he went on to go unbeaten for 7 fights in New Zealand, winning all of his heavyweight bouts.
He seemingly quit boxing in 2013 because of the criticism over his controversial win against Frank Botha. In 2015 his daughter gave him the motivation to give the ring another try where he revealed that it was the 2013 controversial win that rendered him unable to focus and he had to quit boxing. Despite the return being premature in a sense that it was lacking the strength in training, he won with the judges scoring 80–72, 80–72 and 79–73 in his favour.
- Katie Taylor – Football to Boxing
One of the most successful transition, Irish superstar Katie Taylor’s boxing career was one of the most successful ones.
She was a decent footballer, decent enough to represent her country at senior level for more than eleven occasions. Taylor made her final appearance in the green shirt in 2009. After that, she decided to give her full attention to boxing. It actually proved to be the best decision, she was a better boxer than a decent footballer. She won a gold medal at the London Olympics. Now, she’s on her way to a world title.