Top 15 Hardest Punchers In Sports

Any fighter can throw a left hook when the blood gets pumping. The ferocity of the contest demands as much, but it’s the brutality and impact of the hits that separates the good fighters from the devastating ones. Right here we won’t be looking at the sharpest athletes to have entered the boxing or UFC rings, we will take time to admire the guys who deliver blunt force trauma every time they lace a glove or throw a fist. The ones that can punch someone so hard, their ancestors will feel it.

The hardest punchers in these sports are revered in the locker room, even if they don’t cash the biggest checks or fly private jets to red carpet events. Money Mayweather can fling around all the bling in the world he wants, the fact is these 15 fighters have promoters scrambling to find matchups and leave potential opponents hiding behind the sofa.

The hardest punchers leave a legacy well after they’ve put the cue in the rack. Muhammad Ali is the greatest name in boxing history, but it’s the poundings he took from the heavy fists that earns genuine respect. In his junior days he could dance around the ring - Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee! Rumble young man rumble! Fast-forward to his encounter with George Foreman and Cassius Clay had to endure raw pain on the ropes, suffering bomb after bomb of pure power.

Heavy punchers make or break fighters. When you enter the ring there is no escape and those that can stomach the hits are idolized into fighting folklore. Here are the men who literally left an imprint on their industry – the top 15 hardest punchers in sports history.

15 Anthony Johnson

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

14 Ron Lyle


13 Tommy Hearns


12 Mark Hunt

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

11 Joe Louis


10 Wladimir Klitschko


9 Gennady Golovkin

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

8 Sonny Liston


Liston rose from the ashes to put his name in lights. Arrested more than 20 times in his life, Sonny Liston was rescued through boxing which he discovered in prison as a mechanism to cope mentally and physically. If only the boxing world could prepare themselves for the animal that unleashed.

7 Roy Nelson

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

6 Lennox Lewis


5 Mariusz Pudzianowski


4 George Foreman


3 Mike Tyson


2 David Tua


1 Earnie Shavers


For a sport as brutal as boxing, there is a lot of nuance and subjectivity about the hardest punchers. But no one has the courage to debate Earnie Shavers status as the best of them all. No one. Muhammad Ali spoke during a Q&A session with the press and identified Shavers as the hardest of the bunch. “He took all I had and he hit real hard.” This coming from a man who absorbed the biggest hits dished out in a boxing ring. While other fighters of his generation had a swagger and style, Shavers was pure heavy metal violence on a mission to hurt people. Fighters universally agree, Earnie Shavers is unequivocally the hardest puncher in sports history.

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Top 15 Hardest Punchers In Sports