10 Olympic gold medallists who went on to become world champions lennox lewis james degale wlad klitschko sugar ray leonard

10 Olympic gold medallists who went on to become world champions

Published On Friday, July 30, 2021By British Boxing News

10 Golden Champions

To commemorate the Tokyo Olympic Games taking place right now, is seems apt to remember those professional boxers, who not only reached the pinnacle of amateur boxing to win an Olympic gold medal, but to also conquer the world as a professional too.

We proudly and fondly recall just 10 of these greats without any specific order or hierarchy:


Vasiliy Lomachenko

Vasiliy Lomachenko

The Ukrainian fighter managed to compete in two Olympics, Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Both times he won the gold medal, the first at featherweight and the second in the lightweight division. Moving into the professional ranks, Vasiliy has won a title in three different divisions; featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight, and was even once a unified champion.



Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was part of the 1960 Rome Olympics where he managed to win the gold medal at light heavyweight. Ali then decided to take the next giant step towards his historic pro career. During his 21 years as pro, he achieved an incredible legacy.  Muhammad twice won the heavyweight title and successfully defended it 11 times.


Claressa Shields

Claressa competed in two Olympic Games. Firstly, in the London 2012 , where she won the middleweight gold medal by defeating Russia’s Nedezda Torlopova. Four years later, at Rio 2016, Claressa won the gold medal for the second consecutive time after defeating Nouchka Foutijn. That same year, Claressa decided to became professional. She has already won titles in three different divisions and right now, she is the undisputed champion.


Lennox Lewis

The British boxer made his appearance at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but he was representing Canada by having dual citizenship. Lennox won the super heavyweight gold medal. Months later, he decided to take the leap into professional boxing. During his career as a pro Lennox was Boxing`s elite. He is considered as one of the greatest heavyweight champions in all history.


Ray Leonard

One of the greatest fighters of all time. Ray was part of the 1976 Montreal, Olympics and managed to win the super lightweight gold medal. After debuting as pro, Sugar Ray Leonard won titles in five different divisions thus writing his name on the golden pages of boxing…with a flourish!


Wladimir Klitschko

A legend of the heavyweight division. The Ukrainian fighter was part of the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996. He won the gold medal as heavyweight. After this, Wladimir became a professional boxer and, together with his older brother Vitali, conquered the division for almost a decade, dominating all four belts.


Meldrick Taylor

Meldrick conquered the Olympic glory in Los Angeles 1984. Taylor competed in the featherweight division and took home the gold medal. After this great feat, Meldrick debuted as professional and he won titles in two different divisions; super lightweight and welterweight.


Pernell Whitaker

‘Sweet Pea’ was also part of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic. In the lightweight division, he won the gold medal. Then, he debuted as professional. A supremely gifted boxer, Pernell won titles in four divisions: lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight.



Katie Taylor

The Irish fighter competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games where she won the gold medal in lightweight division by defeating Russian Sofya Ochigava, being the first medallist in this division, as it was the first time that women boxers were included in the Olympics. Four years later she returned to the Olympic Games in Rio 2016, but did not make it to the semi-finals. Later that year, she decided to debut as profession where she has already won titles in two divisions. She is the undisputed lightweight champion!


Oleksandr Usyk

The Ukrainian boxer competed at the 2012 London Olympics and won the heavyweight gold medal by defeating Italian Clemente Russo in the finals. The following year, Usyk debuted as professional. In 2018, he became the undisputed cruiserweight champion during the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Oleksandr has shown in each of his fights great and tenacious ability, in addition to his extraordinary power and his desire to make history.


HÖRFA are proud sponsors of British Boxing News