While Madison Square Garden and Las Vegas' MGM Grand are often considered the kinds of venues in which the best boxers in the world make themselves into legends, many of the best in the sport today and the greatest in the history of boxing announced their arrival with a dominant performance as amateurs in the Olympics. These seven decorated puglists are more than just champion prize fighters; they're also gold medal-winners for their respective nations.
7. Anthony Joshua
While Anthony Joshua's first fight outside of England -- a TKO loss to massive underdog Andy Ruiz Jr. -- was a colossal failure, he remains one of the best in the heavyweight division worldwide. A precise puncher with a strong chin, AJ won gold for Great Britain in 2012 in the super-heavyweight division at the London Games. Despite his sole professional defeat to date, Joshua remains a top talent, and is something adjacent to royalty in his home country.
6. Andre Ward
Andre Ward, who was never even so much as knocked down over the course of his professional career, ended his reign of dominance over the light heavyweight division with a perfect 32-0 record, including two straight wins over his biggest challenger in Sergey Kovalev. In addition to dominating his division for a decade, "Son of God" has some hardware from his time as an Olympian, taking home the 2004 light heavyweight gold in Athens for the United States.
5. Vasiliy Lomachenko
The No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world according to The Ring (and many others), Vasyl Lomachenko's scary speed and accuracy as a puncher has left the best of the lightweight division with their tails between their legs. Unlike most boxers, the Ukranian superstar boasts two gold medals as part of his incredible amateur career-- one in the featherweight division in the 2008 Beijing Games and the other in the lightweight division at London 2012.
4. George Foreman
Yes, we know you're thinking about grills and losing to Ali in the "Rumble In the Jungle" showdown in Zaire, but George Foreman knocked out Joe Frazier twice and Ken Norton once thanks to one of the strongest right hooks boxing has ever seen. His longevity was nothing short of amazing, as he won an IBF and WBO heavyweight titles at age 45 and defended them until he was 48. Also on that laundry list of achievements? The gold medal he won for the US at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
3. Wladimir Klitschko
The Ukranian heavyweight had a long-held reputation as a lethal puncher with exceptional power, and he backed up by setting a record for the most time spent as the defending heavyweight champ in the history of boxing. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Wladimir Klitschko took home gold for his country in a performance that annouced to the world that the heavyweight division had a new ace. For the next two decades, he and his brother, Vitali, set about pulverizing any and all comers.
2. Joe Frazier
At his peak, not even Muhammad Ali could take down Smokin' Joe, who handed Ali his first-ever professional loss and defended his heavyweight title in the Fight of the Century. While late-career losses against Ali and George Foreman, whom he lost to twice each, have blemished his record a bit, those who saw Joe Frazier at his best saw someone with transcendent power-- and before turning pro, he earned a gold for the US at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
1. Muhammad Ali
The one and only GOAT, Muhammad Ali is a transcendent figure not just in his sport, but in all sports, American culture, and modern politics. Before he was either Ali or the heavyweight champion of the world, Cassius Clay was a gold medal-winner for the United States at the 1960 games in Rome. As the story goes, Clay later threw his medal into the Ohio River after being refused service at a diner, showing the type of hatred he had to endure even as a national hero.
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