Ask most people to imagine a World Heavyweight Champion boxer and the chances are that what will come to mind is a near seven foot tall man mountain who looks like he could probably eat you alive. In the case of some heavyweight champions – most notably in recent years Nicolay Valuev – that’s not far from the mark, but it is not always the case. What follows is a countdown of the five shortest boxers to have captured a World Heavyweight Title, and you might just be surprised at the quality of the fighters who make this list.
5. Bob Fitzsimmons – 5’ 11 ¼“
A New Zealand national who was actually born in Helston in Cornwall, Bob ‘the Freckled Wonder’ Fitzsimmons may have been small in stature in comparison to many fighters but stands head and shoulders above most in terms of achievement.
Fitzsimmons was boxing’s first three-division world champion, having taken the middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight titles during his career, still holds the record as the lightest heavyweight champion in history and won his heavyweight belt by defeating one of the legends of the sport.
The legend in question was ‘Gentleman’ Jim Corbett and Fitzsimmons knocked him out when they fought in 1897, in spite of weighing in a whole stone lighter than his opponent.