Top 5 Countries where Boxing is Popular in 2019

by Julia on January 25, 2019

Boxing is a sport that is popular in many countries around the world. There are four bodies that are recognized in the world of boxing. They are the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO. They offer 17 weight classes and 85 titles that can be won. Just as certain countries are prominently represented in hockey, baseball, and football, there are certain countries that are more prominently represented when it comes to winners in the world of boxing.

1. The United States of America

It comes as no surprise that the United States holds more world titles in boxing than any other country. Currently, the United States holds 15 titles. This includes the heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder as well as the banter weight champion Daniel Roman.

Throughout the history of boxing, the United States has been home to more than 430 world champions. This makes the United States the most powerful boxing nation in the world. When people think about boxing legends, they think about North Americans like Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson, Sherry Robinson, and Mohammed Ali.

Research would suggest that boxing is losing popularity in the United States. But one should not expect the United States to lose its number one ranking when it comes to heavyweight championships anytime soon. For many in the United States, boxing represents consistency and strength. The endurance of a boxer and their ability to overcome overwhelming odds has become a mainstay in popular US cinema.

The theme songs for movies like Rocky are forever linked to the idea of motivation and perseverance. If you are like many people, after hearing the Rocky theme song or after watching a Rocky movie, you are checking out online stores looking for boxing gear because the stories are told in a way that motivates you to action.

2. Mexico

Many people would assume that soccer is the most popular sport in Mexico. The truth is that boxing rules supreme in Mexico. Mexico has been home to more than 204 world champions.

During the late 19th century, boxing was something that was done for price fights. It was a sport that was held in low regard. It was thought to be something that was practiced by drunks, thieves, and people who were of lower classes.

When amateur boxing first came on the scene in Mexico, sailors would fight each other for drinking money. Instead of using gloves, they would wrap napkins around their hands. In 1921, boxing became legitimized in Mexico thanks to the set-up of the first boxing commission.

During the 1930′s, Mexico experienced its first boxing golden age. Throughout the 1960′s, Mexican boxers found their way around the world. By the 1980′s, boxing was once again popular in Mexico thanks in part to boxing sensation who Julio Cesar Chavez. At one point, Chavez had an 87 fight win streak.

3. The United Kingdom

It is no surprise that boxing is popular in the United Kingdom since it is the birthplace of boxing as it is known today. Marquess of Queensberry, originating in London in 1867, set the standards for what boxing should be. For more than 150 years, boxing has been part of the national landscape.

Unlike the United States, which is experiencing a decline in interest in boxing, it seems like the United Kingdom’s interest in the sport has never been stronger. Around the country, arenas quickly sell out as throngs of impassioned fans come to support their home town fighters. For example, in September 2016, the 02 Arena sold out in 11 minutes for a fight that took place between Gennady Golovkin and hometown favorite Kell Brook.

In the UK, major boxing bouts generate excitement. Fans are loyal and extremely supportive. Boxing is a booming business that shows no sign of petering out. Not only is this apparent when you look at the attendance in stadiums, but you can also see it when you look at the television viewership figures. When people in the UK purchase all sports subscriptions, the networks make sure that there is ample boxing on the stations. Additionally, BoxNation is a station that is constantly growing as it shows fights not only in the United Kingdom but from around the world.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the United Kingdom is one of the most dominant forces in the boxing community right now. The United Kingdom has produced 14 reigning world titleholders.

4. Japan

Japan is in the top five of countries where boxing is popular. In 1921, the first official boxing gym was established in the country. In 1952, Yoshio Shirai became the first Japanese world champion. From that time to this date, Japan has produced a total of 40 world champions.

Many see the period from 1960 to 1980 as the golden age of boxing in Japan. During the 70′s, Japan had five world champions at the same time. Boxing is popular on Japanese media as well. Since Yoshio Shirai’s victory in the early 1950′s, boxing has been steadily growing in popularity. It is a sport that is connected to some social status. Today, there are a number of Tokyo-based TV networks that feature monthly boxing programs. The majority of these ballots are between high-level Japanese boxers. Japanese newspapers show boxing results in the sports section, and there are a number of magazines that specialize in boxing.

5. Cuba

Cuban boxers have built a reputation for themselves as being some of the best boxers in the world. When Cuba entered the boxing scene in the 1970′s, they quickly emerged as world-class competitors. Since then Cuba has taken home more than 100 medals in Olympic Games as well as in amateur boxing competitions.

The first professional fight was held in Cuba in 1909. Since the early part of the 20th century, Cuba was a travel destination of choice for Americans, so boxing matches became very popular in Havana. Eligio Sardinias-Montalbo, known as “Kid Chocolate,” was the first champion to come out of Cuba.

In the 1960′s, Fidel Castro banned professional sports. This led to a number of boxers as well as their managers fleeing the country to places where they could practice their sport and earn a living at it. This did not mean that boxing in Cuba was dead. To the contrary, working alongside with the Soviets, Cuba started an amateur boxing program. The goal was to create boxers who were not motivated by economic incentives but instead because of their love of the sport, their love of their country, and their love of glory. These athletes were required to endure personal sacrifices with composure and dignity.

The program was an unparalleled success. It led to Felix Savon and Teófilo Stevenson each winning three Olympic gold medals. Boxing made it possible for poor Cuban families to have family members who traveled abroad. As they boxed, they could earn money that could be sent back to help their families at home. Even today, children as young as 12 years old start training as boxers. This has created a love for the sport throughout the country that has endured and will likely continue to endure in the future.

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