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Ranking the best Spanish boxers of all time

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  • Ranking the best Spanish boxers of all time

    Spain hasn't produced too many great or famous boxers. But they've had a few. Therefore, I decided to rank them. I will do one on Italian boxers too, but that one is a bit more difficult since they produced more greats.

    1. Javier Castillejo
    Castillejo was the best light middleweight Spain ever had. He turned pro in 1988 and won the European title from Bernard Razzano by RTD6 in 1994. Before that he unsuccessfully challenged the long-reigning WBA champion Julio Cesar Vasquez and dropped a unanimous decision to him; despite the fight being competitive, Castillejo suffered five knockdowns and thus had no chance to win on points. After defending the European belt 4 times, he lost it by TKO 9 to the excellent Laurent Boudouani. After failing to recapture it against the same guy, dropping a UD12, he managed to do it against Akhmet Dottuev, after Boudouani had vacated the belt. He then won his first world title in 1999 by beating Keith Mullings by majority decision at home in Spain. He made 5 successful defenses before losing the belt to the great Oscar de la Hoya in 2001, where he was down once and just overmatched, but lasted the distance and gave it all he had, in the end losing by UD. He won the Euro title for the third time in 2002 and then in his perhaps greatest achievement, decisioned the 29-0-1 Roman Karmazin by UD12 to win the interim WBC title. In 2006, he went to Germany to fight the WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm and pulled off a great upset by stopping Sturm by TKO10 and thus winning his second full world title, at a second weight class. He lost it to Sturm in a rematch, but by a decision in a very close fight, in 2007. After getting knocked out in 12 by Sebastian Sylvester and then drawing against a local fighter in Spain, Castillejo retired in 2009, with a record of 62 wins, 43 by ko, 8 losses and 1 draw. He has been named the Spanish fighter of the year no less then eleven times!


    2. Pedro Carrasco
    This amazing lightweight won the WBC title from Mando Ramos in 1971 and then lost it in the rematch in 1972. Before that, his record was an amazing 103-1! His first loss came early in his career, when he lost to the far more experienced Aldo Pravisani of Italy, fighting away in Rome, on points. He defeated Pravisani in the rematch, also on points. Carrasco won the European title in 1967 by stopping the excellent Dane BÝrge Krogh by a corner retirement in 8 rounds. Carrasco was an aggressive two-fisted fighter who could also box and at 5'9 was a very tall lightweight. He would go on to make 6 defenses of the Euro belt, among others beating Olli Maki on points and fellow Spaniard, then-undefeated Miguel Velazquez, also on points. He also stopped Tore Magnussen (once a fine amateur) of Norway in 3 rounds in another defense. Carrasco faced the WBC champion Mando Ramos at home in Madrid in November '71 and won after being knocked out with what was judged to be an illegal blow in the 12th round and thus won by a disqualification. The controversial judging call led to a rematch in L.A. in February next year and this time Ramos prevailed, but by a split decision after 15 rounds. A third fight was then scheduled and it happened in June, once again in Madrid. This time Carrasco was down twice but fought well and again lost by split decision. After that fight he had two more low-level fights before retiring with a record of 105 wins, 66 by ko, 3 losses and 1 draw. He was named the Spanish fighter of the year in 1969 and 1971. Pedro Carrasco died of a heart attack 27 January 2001, aged 57. He was a very popular persona in Spain and his death was a major shock.

    3. Kiko Martinez
    The best super bantamweight that Spain ever had, Martinez was a true little fighting bulldog, known for his ferociousness, power and toughness. He turned pro in 2004 and won the European title rather fast, in his 12th fight. His first notable victory was over the 24-0 Irish Bernard Dunne, a future world champion, in 2007. Fighting away in Dublin, Kiko came out roaring and dropped Dunne twice before the fight was over-after 1 minute 26 seconds! It was the only time Dunne would be taken out so fast. However, in his next, third defense, he lost the title by a majority decision to English Rendall Munroe, fighting away in Nottingham. It was a paper-thin decision, but Munroe beat Martinez more convincingly in their rematch in 2009. After also dropping a decision to Takalani Ndlovu in an IBF eliminator, it looked like the early promise Kiko had shown had faded. However, he managed to recapture the Euro title by decisioning Arsen Martirosyan in 2010 and then beat Jason Booth by KO10, before again fighting Martirosyan and this time stopping him in the 12th and last round by TKO. However, he once again lost his title fighting away in UK, this time to the Northern Irish star Carl Frampton, who stopped Martinez for the first time in his career by TKO9. It was a wild back and forth fight before Frampton dropped him in that ninth round and then stopped him on his feet. After this, few thought that Kiko would become a world champion, but he defied the odds when he went to Atlantic City in August 2013 to fight the unbeaten Jhonatan Romero and stopped him with a barrage against the ropes in round 6. With that, he became the IBF champion. He made 2 successful defenses, first knocking out Jeffrey Mathebula, himself a former IBF champion, in 9 and then stopping the former WBC bantam champ Hosumi Hasegawa by TKO7. But once again, Frampton became his Kryptonite and this time, Kiko lost by a UD, despite being dropped once, 6 September 2014, once again in Belfast. Thus, his reign ended. He has since then suffered a string of devastating losses, first being blown out in 2 by Scott Quigg, then being stopped in 5 by Leo Santa Cruz and after dropping a MD to Josh Warrington, earlier this year he was taken out by Gary Russell jr by TKO5, after getting a serious cut above the eye. Martinez's record is 39 wins with 28 ko's, 9 losses and 2 draws. He was named the Spanish fighter of the year 4 years in a row, between 2011 and 2014.

    4. Jose Manuel Duran
    The second best Spanish light middleweight, Duran was a talented boxer with a good stamina who compiled a record of 49-2-6 before winning the European title against the Frenchman Jacques Kechichian in 1974, by UD15. He defended it 3 times, stopping the German Eckhard Dagge, a future WBC champion, by TKO11, European welter champion Johann Orsolics by TKO14 and then-undefeated Franz Csandl by UD15. On 7 May '75 he fought for the vacant WBC title against Miguel de Oliveira of Brazil. losing on points after 15 rounds. He then lost his Euro title in a rematch with Dagge, getting stopped by TKO9, only a month later. On 18 May '76, he went to Japan to fight the WBA champion Koichi Wajima and this time was victorious, putting Wajima down three times before winning by a KO14. He lost the title in his first defense against Miguel Angel Castellini of Argentina, 8 October '76 in Madrid, by SD15. After getting knocked out by hard-hitting Rocky Mattioli in an attempt to win the WBC title in 1978, Duran retired with a record of 64 wins, 23 by ko, 6 losses and 9 draws. He was the Spanish fighter of the year in 1976.

    5. Paulino Uzcudun
    The best Spanish heavyweight. Known as "Basque Woodchopper", Uzcudun was as tough as they come and a come forward slug it out fighter. He fought out of crouch and with his guard raised high and packed a good punch. He never won a world title but beat men like Max Baer (by a 20-round decision!), Harry Wills (by KO4), Otto von Porat (by PTS10), Les Kennedy (by TKO4) and Pierre Charles, whom he beat by SD15 to win the European title in 1933. Uzcudun also gave Primo Carnera, Tommy Loughran and King Levinsky tough fights, losing to them all by split decision. Despite standing only 5'10 to Carnera's 6'6, his ferocity and strength was such that Carnera was just unable to put him away. 22 October '33, they fought for Carnera's world title, with Paulino's European title at stake and Basque Woodchopper once again went the distance in a losing but brave effort, for 15 rounds. In his next fight, he drew against Max Schmeling, fighting in Barcelona. The rematch was in Germany and this time Uzcudun lost by decision. On 13 December '35, Paulino fought for the last time against Joe Louis and got stopped for the first and only time in his career at Madison Square Garden. Uzcudun was dropped in round 4, for the first time in his career, and a big gash opened in his face which led to a technical stoppage. Before that, he was doing well and confusing Louis with his unorthodox style. Uzcudun retired with a record of 51 wins, 35 by ko, 17 losses and 3 draws. He died on 5 July '85, aged 86. He was the Spanish fighter of the year in 1926, 1928 and 1933.

    6. Jose Manuel Urtain
    Another Basque strongman and second greatest heavyweight Spain has had, Urtain was the European champion twice, but was never offered a world title bout, most likely due to losing some important bouts. His best wins were a TKO2 over Jack Bodell, when he recaptured the Euro title, a UD10 over Vicente Rondon, a UD15 over Juergen Blin and finally a KO4 over Richard Dunn, his last victory of note. Urtain retired after getting knocked out in 4 by Jean-Pierre Copmann in 1977, leaving behind a record of 53 wins with 38 ko's, 11 losses and 4 draws. He tried to come back in 1986 but was denied a boxing license due to his age. Urtain died tragically after falling from a hotel window in 1992, aged 49. He was famous for once lifting Muhammad Ali above his head. The Spanish government offered Joe Frazier a large sum to defend his world title against Urtain in Spain, but Frazier declined. Urtain was a big fan of Hollywood westerns and Mexican music and likely the strongest man to have put on boxing gloves.

    7. Miguel Velazquez
    A fine lightweight and super lightweight, Velazquez turned pro in December 1966 and won his first 33 fights before losing to Pedro Carrasco on points, in a bid for the European lightweight title. His greatest achievement was winning the vacant European title by beating Ken Buchanan of Scotland, 29 January 1970 in Madrid. The fight was very close but Velazquez dropped Buchanan in round 9 and won on points after 15 rounds. Buchanan was 33-0 at the time and would go on to win the world title. Velazquez defended his title exactly a year later against the noted Italian Antonio Puddu, who had a record of 39-1. The result was as draw and Velazquez retained his title, but they had a rematch on 31 July that year in Italy and this time Puddu knocked Velazquez down twice in round 4 to win by TKO. Velazquez moved up to super lightweight after this and won his first 12 fights there before losing to Jose Ramon Gomez Fouz by UD8 in 1975. Next year he fought against the reigning WBC-champion Saensak Muangsurin of Thailand, one of the best super lightweights then and ever. The fight was in Madrid on 30 June and Suangsurin was too much for Velazquez, knocking him down twice before knocking him out in round 4. However, the punch was landed after the bell and thus Muangsurin lost by disqualification. Thus, much like his compatriot Carrasco before him, Velazquez became a world champion by default. After knocking out the noted German contender Lothar Abend in 3, he again faced Suangsurin in his first defense and this time he was helplessly blown out in 2 rounds after being decked four times in the second. Velazquez was now almost 32 and he retired with a record of 66 wins, 33 by ko, 4 losses and 3 draws. He was the 1970 Spanish fighter of the year.

    8. Perico Fernandez
    Another fine super lightweight who has won the WBC title and the European title, but has had a very mixed career. After a fine start, Fernandez's career unravelled, especially in the last 3 years and he ended with 28 losses on his record. One might well say he fought too long past his prime. A native of Zaragoza, Aragon, Fernandez turned pro in 1972 and his first fight ended a draw. He lost in his fourth fight by disqualification against Kid Figaro. After that he was undefeated in 23 fights, winning 19 of them. After getting stopped for the first time in 8 rounds by Jean-Pierre Younsi, he won the Euro title in 1974 by knocking out Antonio Ortiz in 12 rounds. He made one defense by KO2 against Piero Ceru before fighting for the vacant WBC title against Japanese Lion Furuyama, 21 September '74 in Rome. After 15 rounds, Fernandez was victorious after two judges gave him the fight and the third, a Japanese, scored against him. After dropping a decision in a non-title fight against Italian Romano Fanali, he made his first defense and knocked out Joao Henrique of Brazil in 9 in Barcelona, 19 April '75. He then became another Spanish victim of the Thai warrior Saensak Muangsurin, who set a world record by becoming a world champion in his third pro fight. Fernandez had to defend his title in Bangkok and lost by a KO8, 15 July that same year. He recaptured the Euro title by TKO1 against Fernand Roelands of Belgium and defended it against Giancarlo Usai of Italy by MD15 before again challenging Muangsurin for his old title. This time the fight was in Madrid, 17 June '77, but it didn't help much as Fernandez lost a rather close but unanimous decision. He then also lost the Euro title to Scottish Jim Watt by UD15, 17 February '78. That was pretty much it for Perico Fernandez and his last notable fight was in 1984, when he lost in a bid for European welterweight title against Gianfranco Rosi, by a shutout UD12, in Rosi's hometown of Perugia. Fernandez retired in 1987, after losing 9 of his last 11 fights. He was 35. His record is 82 wins with 47 ko's, 28 losses (but only 4 by ko) and a wallopping 15 draws. He was the 1974, 1975 and 1984 Spanish fighter of the year. Fernandez died 11 November 2016, aged 64.

    9. Gabriel Campillo
    Probably the best Spanish light heavyweight ever, Campillo was the WBA and European champion during his career and has come on the wrong end of a couple controversial decisions. Tall for the division at 6'2, with above average boxing skills, Campillo's great weakness was his lack of power. He had excellent stamina but his chin wasn't top notch. He was stopped in his 13th pro fight by hard-hitting Ukrainian Vyacheslav Uzelkov, in a fight for the vacant WBA Inter-Continental title, by KO6. That was in 2007 and in 2008 he lost a close majority decision to German-based Karo Murat in a fight for the European super middle title. It was his first 12-rounder and it seemed to affect him as he faded in the late rounds. Next year however, Campillo succeeded in winning the same title against Lolenga Mock, a solid and very tough journeyman/fringe contender from Congo, by UD12. On 20 June that year, he was matched against the reigning WBA champion Hugo Hernan Garay from Argentina, in a fight in Garay's homeland. Nobody gave Campillo mutch of a chance to win against the very good champion, but he surprised everyone by defeating Garay by a close majority decision and taking home the title. He defended it already 2 months later against the 8-0 Kazakh powerhouse Beibut Shumenov and handed Shumenov his first loss with another MD12. However, in their rematch in January next year, which happened in Las Vegas, Campillo was robbed of his title as the corrupt judges chose to award the decision to Shumenov, two of them anyway, despite Campillo being clearly dominant. Campillo asked WBA to mandate a rematch, but was turned down. In 2011 he had a rematch with Karo Murat and this time it ended as a draw. He then landed a fight against the IBF-champion Tavoris Cloud, a hot new name in the division, which happened 18 February 2012. Once again, Campillo was the better man but found himself robbed as two judges scored the fight against him. The third judge had him clearly ahead by 115-111. He was then stopped by rising contender Sergey Kovalev in 3 rounds and that was it for him as a serious contender. Campillo retired in 2015, after being stopped in 1 round by Marcus Browne. Before that he had also been stopped by Andrzej Fonfara in 9 and Artur Beterbiev in 4. His record is 25 wins, 12 by ko, 8 losses and 1 draw. He was named the fighter of the year in Spain in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

    10. Poli Diaz
    One of the best Spanish fighters of his era, Diaz was a fine lightweight who captured the Euro title in 1988 and made 7 defenses of it. Diaz stands 5'5 or 166 cm and was a hard hitter with good skills and tough, even though he got stopped twice but past his prime. A native of Madrid, Diaz was born Policarpo Diaz Arevalo, 21 November 1967 in the Spanish capital. He won the national amateur feather title in 1984 and ended his amateur career with a record of 59-2. He turned pro in March 1986 and went undefeated undil July 1991, when he was beaten by Pernell Whitaker in a fight for the undisputed world title. Before that, he won the Euro lightweight title by KO5 against Luca de Lorenzi of Italy, 30 November '88 in Chiavari, Italy. In his second defense, he stopped Gert Bo Jacobsen by TKO6; Jacobsen would later briefly capture the WBO welter title. After making his seventh sucessful defense, he challenged the undisputed champ Pernell Whitaker and fought him on 27 July '91 at Scope Arena in Norfolk, Whitaker's hometown. Diaz was down in round 7 but lasted the distance and landed 153 punches, but lost by a shutout decision. He took two years off from boxing before coming back in 1993. After winning 6 easy fights, he was stopped by underdog Mark Ramsey by TKO4, 28 June '96 in Madrid. In his next fight, he was again stopped by Lorant Szabo of Hungary, by a corner retirement in 7. It was clear his best days were behind him, but he won 6 more fights before retiring in 2001. His record is 44 with 28 ko's and 3 losses. He was the Spanish fighter of the year in 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1990.

  • #2
    --- What about Alfredo Evangilista who challenged both Ali and Holmes?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by LondonRingRules View Post
      --- What about Alfredo Evangilista who challenged both Ali and Holmes?
      I may just add him...but he was from Uruguay really.

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      • #4
        Updated! I replaced Juan Albornoz with Poli Diaz for #10. More deserving.

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