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History

10 of the tallest boxers in boxing history

Ewart Potgieter
Nikolai Valuev might be the most successful seven-footer to have graced the boxing ring, but he isn’t the only one
  1. Gogea Mitu (7-foot-4-inches)
    Recognised as not only the tallest boxer to have entered the ring, but the tallest Romanian to have walked the Earth, Mitu boxed professional three times in 1935 after being scouted by an Italian boxer while working for a circus company.
  2. John Rankin (7-foot-4)
    ‘Big’ Jon Rankin boxed just once as a professional, weighing 300 pounds the night he beat 197-pound Willie Lee over four rounds in 1967. He had previously been working as a doorman in New Orleans.
  3. Ewart Potgieter (7-foot-2)
    No circus act, Potgieter originated from South Africa and won 11 of 14 pro fights, even pushing James J. Parker, who fought men like Archie Moore and Niño Valdés, to a 10-round draw.
  4. Jim Cully (7-foot-2)
    Tipperary’s Jim Cully won three of his six pro fights and claimed the Irish national heavyweight title with a stoppage of Butcher Howell in 1942. He then lost the title in his next fight, when knocked down seven times by Chris Cole in Dalymount Park.
  5. Tom Payne (7-foot-2)
    Payne played in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks during the 1971-72 season only to later be imprisoned for three rape convictions. In between jail terms, he boxed, compiling a 3-2 pro record between ’84 and ’85.
  6. Julius Long (7-foot-1)
    Known as the ‘Towering Inferno’, Long, an American based in New Zealand, possesses a reach of 90 inches and is probably best known for being flattened inside two rounds by Audley Harrison in 2002.
  7. Nikolai Valuev (7 feet)
    By far the most successful of the seven-foot giants, Valuev won 50 of his 53 pro fights and was a two-time WBA heavyweight belt-holder, securing that title in 2005 and then again in 2008.
  8. Taishan Dong (7 feet)
    China’s Dong attempted basketball, hockey and kickboxing before deciding to take up boxing in 2014. Trained by Buddy McGirt, and promoted by Golden Boy, he won his first six pro fights, then never boxed again.
  1. Marcellus Brown (7 feet)
    Michigan’s Marcellus Brown boxed Tommy Morrison, Trevor Berbick and Lamon Brewster and lost 15 times as a pro. Though weighing 273 pounds for his last fight in 2004, he somehow weighed 197 pounds for a fight in 1990.
  2. Gil Anderson (7 feet)
    Californian Anderson had two pro fights in Richmond in 1954 and won both via stoppage. He beat Bill Mathis inside two rounds, then Pat Costello inside nine.

Read Thomas Hauser’s special feature on Nikolai Valuev here

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