Amateur success doesn’t necessarily equal pro success.

Not every Olympian becomes a world titleholder in the pros. Not even the medalists. Of the 178 medalists since 2008, only 20 have gone on to become titleholders.

What that also means – reaching the greatest of heights in the pros doesn’t require being one of the best amateurs in the world. An overwhelming majority of professional world titleholders never competed in the Olympics. Only 11 of the 50 male fighters, or 22 per cent, holding major world titles today are Olympians. And 7 of the 35 women, or 20 per cent, who hold major world titles are Olympians. 

None of that stops us from watching Olympic boxing for a chance to see who some of the future stars could be. And so we’ll tune in to this year’s Olympics, with the first boxing matches scheduled for July 27. 

In the meantime, let’s continue to examine some of the talent that were featured in the past four Olympic Games in 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2021. 

In part one of this two-part series, we looked at the 17 Olympic boxers since 2008 who are world titleholders — including eight lineal champions — as well as 22 Olympians who have never won title belts but are ranked in the Top 10 by the Ring Magazine or the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board.

For the second part, let’s examine the other 37 Olympians who went on to win world titles as professionals.

Fighters in each section are listed in alphabetical order.

Active former world titleholders

Murodjon Akhmadaliev (Uzbekistan): Akhmadaliev earned a bronze medal at bantamweight in the 2016 Olympics and was fast out of the gate in the paid ranks; in his eighth fight as a professional, in 2020, Akhmadaliev defeated Daniel Roman for two world titles at junior featherweight. He lost those belts to Marlon Tapales via split decision in 2023 but remains ranked at 122, where he’s hoping for a fight with the undisputed champion Naoya Inoue.

Demetrius Andrade (United States): Andrade was a quarter-finalist at welterweight in 2008 and has built a career in which his accomplishments don’t quite match his talent. He hasn’t helped himself with his decisions out of the ring – including turning down fights – and in the ring by easing off after stellar starts to fights and coasting to forgettable wins, or simply coasting to forgettable wins. Doing so left Andrade pursuing bigger opportunities, despite his holding world titles at 154 and 160, until he was stopped by David Benavidez at 168 in November 2023.

Joe Cordina (Great Britain): Cordina lost in the second round of the 2016 Olympics at lightweight. In 2022 he unseated Kenichi Ogawa for the IBF belt at junior lightweight, and he made two successful title defenses before suffering an upset loss in May, when he was stopped in eight rounds by Anthony Cacace.

Joseph Diaz Jr. (United States): Diaz lost in his second fight at bantamweight at the 2012 Olympics. He beat Tevin Farmer for the IBF junior-lightweight title in 2020, but conceded it on the scales before his first defense. Today he is competing between lightweight and junior welterweight, and he is clearly at the tail end of his career, having lost five of his past six.

Isaac Dogboe (Ghana): Ousted in his opening fight at the 2012 bantamweight tournament, Dogboe went on to win the WBO junior-featherweight title in 2018, only to lose it to Emanuel Navarrete by the end of the year. Dogboe was stopped in the rematch with Navarrete and competes at 126lbs, where he’s dropped consecutive decisions to Robeisy Ramirez and Nick Ball.

Marlen Esparza (United States): Esparza picked up a bronze at flyweight in the 2012 Olympics, and won the WBC belt at 112lbs in 2021. She had unified three belts by 2023, only to lose them on the scales in April, when then suffering a split-decision loss in a rematch with Gabriela Celeste Alaniz.

Hector Garcia (Dominican Republic): Garcia lost in the opening round at bantamweight in the 2016 Games but succeeded higher up on the scales in the professionals, defeating junior lightweight Chris Colbert in 2022 and then outpointing Roger Gutierrez for the WBA belt later that year. Garcia has since lost two straight – stopped by Gervonta Davis at lightweight in 2023 and then losing to Lamont Roach Jr. by split decision in a junior-lightweight title fight in November.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk (Ukraine): Gvozdyk earned bronze at light heavyweight in the 2012 Olympics and reached even greater heights as a professional by stopping Adonis Stevenson in 2018 to become the lineal 175lbs champion. Ten months later Gvozdyk suffered a TKO at the hands of Artur Beterbiev – then spent more than three years away before returning to the ring in 2023. Gvozdyk’s comeback eventually got him in front of David Benavidez in June; he lost a unanimous decision.

Jamel Herring (United States): Herring was dispatched in his first junior-welterweight fight in the 2012 Olympics. He found more success as he moved down in weight, taking two defeats as a professional lightweight and then dropping to junior lightweight, where he won the WBO title in 2019. Herring’s defenses included wins over Lamont Roach Jr. and Carl Frampton, but he lost that belt to Shakur Stevenson in 2021. He’s since added one victory and two more defeats.

Julius Indongo (Namibia): Indongo lost clearly in 2008 to the eventual lightweight gold medalist. In 2016, he won the IBF junior-welterweight title with a 40-second knockout of Eduard Troyanovsky. Indongo added the WBA belt via a clear decision over Ricky Burns, and be then lost in a fight for the undisputed championship when he was knocked out in three rounds by Terence Crawford in 2017. He’s been in decline ever since. He’s gone from losing quickly to fighters you’ve heard of – like Regis Prograis – to getting knocked out this in January by the little-known Richard Mtangi, who had a record of 4-1-1. Indongo is 41 years old and hasn’t yet retired.

Badou Jack (Gambia): Jack lost in the first round of the 2008 middleweight tournament. He’s since become a three-division world titlist as a professional, by defeating Anthony Dirrell at 168, Nathan Cleverly at 175 and Ilunga Makabu in February 2023 to at cruiserweight title.

Anthony Joshua (Great Britain): Joshua won super-heavyweight gold in 2012 in his home country. He picked up his first professional world title in 2016, and had unified three belts by 2018 – only to lose them, shockingly, to Andy Ruiz in 2019. Joshua won the rematch with Ruiz and regained the belts before dropping them, when losing two fights with Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 2022. He fights the champion Daniel Dubois for the IBF belt on September 2021.

Mikaela Mayer (United States): Mayer, who was dispatched in the lightweight quarter-finals of the 2016 Olympics, won a world title at junior lightweight in 2020, unified titles in 2021, and then lost to Alycia Baumgardner in 2022 in a fight to determine the undisputed champion. Mayer has since gone up in weight classes, dropping a split decision to Natasha Jonas in a welterweight title fight this past January.

Jose Pedraza (Puerto Rico): Pedraza fought at lightweight in the 2008 Olympics and made it to the second round. He won a vacant junior-lightweight belt in 2015 and made two successful defenses before getting stopped by Gervonta “Tank” Davis in 2017. Pedraza soon won a lightweight title against Ray Beltran in 2018 but lost in a unification bout with Vasiliy Lomachenko. He’s become a recurring “B-side”, losing to, among others, Jose Ramirez, Arnold Barboza and Keyshawn Davis, and drawing with Richard Commey.

Jose Ramirez (United States): Ousted in his second lightweight fight at the 2012 Olympics, Ramirez won two junior-welterweight world titles before losing to Josh Taylor in 2021, which made Taylor the undisputed champion. He has won three straight since.

Robeisy Ramirez (Cuba): Ramirez is a two-time gold medalist. He became champion at flyweight in 2012, and bantamweight in 2016. He suffered a surprising decision loss on his professional debut in 2019, but je steadied himself and improved, and outpointed Isaac Dogboe to win the vacant WBO featherweight title in 2023. His reign didn’t last long; he unexpectedly lost to Rafael Espinoza in December.

Jonathan Romero (Colombia): Romero was a first-round departure in the 2008 bantamweight competition. He won a vacant belt at junior featherweight in early 2013, and lost it to Kiko Martinez six months later. He remains active, at 37 years old.

Amnat Ruenroeng (Thailand): Ruenroeng lost in the quarter-finals at junior flyweight in 2008, but went on to hold a flyweight world title as a professional from 2014 to 2016. He later competed as a lightweight at the 2016 Olympics. He’s 44 years old, and has fought twice this year.

Errol Spence (United States): Spence made it to the welterweight quarter-finals in 2012, but the consensus was that he was better suited to being a professional. He knocked out Kell Brook for his first world title in 2017 and added two more while defeating the likes of Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Yordenis Ugas along the way. Spence fought Terence Crawford inm2023 for the undisputed championship, and Crawford won handily, via TKO. Spence is expected to fight later in 2024 at junior middleweight, likely against Sebastian Fundora.

Josh Taylor (Great Britain): Taylor made it to the second round at lightweight at the 2012 Olympics. He did much better in a professional tournament – he won the World Boxing Super Series and two world titles in the process of doing so, and he then added the remaining two when defeating Jose Ramirez. Taylor only made one successful defense as undisputed champion, when awarded controversial decision over Jack Catterall in 2022. He was dethroned as WBO champion by Teofimo Lopez in 2023, having by then vacated the other three titles, and lost a rematch to Catterall earlier in 2024.

Yordenis Ugas (Cuba): Ugas earned a bronze medal at lightweight in 2008, struggled as a professional while competing at junior welterweight, and then had his best days when he moved up to 147lbs. A series of wins earned him a title shot against Shawn Porter. He lost a split decision but was able to pick up the WBA belt in August 2021, when he stepped in for the injured Errol Spence and sent Manny Pacquiao into retirement. Ugas then challenged Spence in April 2022 in a unification bout with three titles on the line. He was stopped in 10 round, and lost a wide decision to Mario Barrios in September 2023.

Oscar Valdez (Mexico): Valdez lost his first fight at the 2008 Olympics and in the quarter-finals in 2012 – both at bantamweight. He went on to win a featherweight world title in 2016, and did the same at junior lightweight with a big knockout of Miguel Berchelt in 2021. Valdez lost a unification bout against Shakur Stevenson in 2022, and came up short against titlist Emanuel Navarrete in 2023.

Rau’shee Warren (United States): Warren fought at junior flyweight at the 2004 Olympics, and at flyweight in 2008 and 2012. He lost in his first appearance each time. As a professional he briefly held the WBA bantamweight title after edging Juan Carlos Payano via majority decision. He then lost it to Zhanat Zhakiyanov in his first defense. He has not fought since 2022, but, aged 37, he has also not yet officially retired.

Deontay Wilder (United States): Wilder’s medal at the 2008 Olympics led to his nickname, “The Bronze Bomber”. Winning that medal was quite an accomplishment given his limited amateur experience, which also meant that he learned on the job as a professional. With great hand speed and some of the heaviest hands in history, Wilder won the WBC title in 2015 and retained it for five years. He lost it in a rematch with Tyson Fury in 2020 – suffering a seventh-round TKO – and was knocked out in the 11th round of their third and final fight in 2021. Wilder got a quick win over Robert Helenius in 2022, but was then outboxed by Joseph Parker in December 2023 and stopped in five by Zhilei Zhang in June.

Note: Maiva Hamadouche already held the women’s IBF junior lightweight title prior to competing at the 2020 Olympics.

Retired former titleholders

Nicola Adams (Great Britain): Adams won gold in the women’s flyweight division at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and briefly held the WBO title at flyweight before retiring in 2019 due to concerns that she could lose her vision if she continued to compete.

Sadam Ali (United States): Ali lost a wide decision in his only Olympics bout, at lightweight in 2008. He was stopped by Jessie Vargas in a welterweight title fight in 2016 but stunned Miguel Cotto to win the WBO belt at junior middleweight the following year. He then lost in his first defense, when he was put away in four rounds by Jaime Munguia in 2018. He last fought in 2019.

Eleider Alvarez (Colombia): Alvarez didn’t advance past his first light-heavyweight fight at the 2008 Olympics but had a decent professional career at 175lbs. He outpointed Jean Pascal and then knocked out Sergey Kovalev in 2018 for the WBO title, only to lose a decision to Kovalev in their rematch in 2019. Alvarez’s last bout came in August 2020, when he was stopped in nine rounds by Joe Smith Jr.

McJoe Arroyo (Puerto Rico): Arroyo lost his first fight at the 2008 Olympics, at bantamweight. He picked up a vacant junior-bantamweight title in 2015 and lost it in his first defense to Jerwin Ancajas. He last fought in 2021.

James DeGale (Great Britain): DeGale won middleweight gold in 2008 and, after an early setback in a close fight with George Groves, went on to become a super-middleweight titleholder as a professional. He outpointed Andre Dirrell for the vacant IBF title in 2015 and went 2-0-1 in his next three defenses, before suffering an upset loss to Caleb Truax in late 2017. DeGale won their rematch, and regained his title, four months later. He’d soon vacate his belt and retired following a loss in February 2019 to Chris Eubank Jr.

Jeff Horn (Australia): Horn exited at the quarter-final stage at junior welterweight at London 2012 when losing to the eventual silver medalist Denys Berinchyk. He was given a controversial decision over Manny Pacquiao in 2017 in their fight for the WBO welterweight title, and was dominated by Terence Crawford two fights later. Horn last fought in 2020 and later announced his retirement, citing issues with his memory.

Ryota Murata (Japan): The gold medalist at middleweight in 2012, Murata was miss-and-hit as a professional, losing to Hassan N’Dam but then winning the rematch by TKO, and then following the same pattern with Rob Brant. Murata eventually landed a fight in April 2022 fight with Gennadiy Golovkin. “GGG” stopped him in nine rounds, in what turned out to be Murata’s final fight.

Nordine Oubaali (France): Oubaali competed in the 2008 Olympics, losing in the second round at junior flyweight, and in 2012, losing in the quarter-finals at flyweight. He won the vacant WBC bantamweight belt in 2019 against Rau’shee Warren, whom Oubaali had also defeated at the Games in 2012. Oubaali held that belt until 2021, when he was beaten by Nonito Donaire. He officially retired in 2022 but then returned in April 2023, losing a split decision to a 9-9 opponent. He hasn’t fought or made any proclamations since about his career.

Juan Carlos Payano (Dominican Republic): Payano made it as far as the second round of the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, competing as a flyweight in both. In 2014 he defeated Anselmo Moreno to win the WBA bantamweight title, and he took a split decision over Rau’shee Warren and then conceded that same belt to Warren in a rematch. Following a good win over Mike Plania in 2018, Payano made it no more than 70 seconds against Naoya Inoue. He last fought in 2021.

Billy Joe Saunders (Great Britain): Saunders lost in his second welterweight fight at the 2008 Olympics. He outpointed Andy Lee in 2015 for the WBO middleweight title, made a few successful defenses and then picked up the vacant WBO title at super middleweight in 2019. Owning that title made Saunders a target for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in Canelo’s campaign for undisputed at 168lbs. Canelo stopped Saunders in 2021. That was Saunders’ last fight. He’s teased returning, but until that happens, he remains in this section.

Francisco Vargas (Mexico): Vargas advanced as far as the second round of the lightweight tournament in 2008. His peak as a professional was brief but fun, and included a title win at junior lightweight over Takashi Miura in 2015, a draw with Orlando Salido in 2016, and a TKO loss to Miguel Berchelt in 2017. He last fought in 2022.

Khalid Yafai (Great Britain): Yafai, who was ousted in his first flyweight fight in the 2008 Olympics, held the WBA junior-bantamweight title from 2016 until a fight in 2020 with Roman Gonzalez. Yafai retired following a first-round TKO loss to Jonathan Rodriguez in November 2023.

Zou Shiming (China): Zou won gold at junior flyweight in 2008 and 2012 – and bronze in the same weight class in 2004. His time as a professional was relatively brief, lasting from 2013 to 2017. He won a WBO title at flyweight in late 2016, lost it in his first defense, and never fought again.

How did boxers from each Olympics do as professionals?

2008: The Beijing Olympics featured 283 boxers. Of those, 23 later won professional world titles – Sadam Ali, Eleider Alvarez, Demetrius Andrade, McJoe Arroyo, Artur Beterbiev, Robson Conceicao, James DeGale, Julius Indongo, Badou Jack, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Nordine Oubaali, Juan Carlos Payano, Jose Pedraza, Amnat Ruenroeng, Billy Joe Saunders, Yordenis Ugas, Oleksandr Usyk, Oscar Valdez, Francisco Vargas, Rau’shee Warren, Deontay Wilder, Khalid Yafai and Zou Shiming.

Five of those were among the 44 total medalists – DeGale, Lomachenko, Ugas, Wilder and Shiming.

2012: The London Olympics featured 286 boxers. Of those, 25 won professional world titles: Nicola Adams, Denys Berinchyk, Beterbiev, Conceicao, Joseph Diaz Jr., Isaac Dogboe, Marlen Esparza, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Jamel Herring, Jeff Horn, Natasha Jonas, Anthony Joshua, Lomachenko, Savannah Marshall, Ryota Murata, Jai Opetaia, Jose Ramirez, Robeisy Ramirez, Claressa Shields, Errol Spence, Josh Taylor, Katie Taylor, Usyk, Valdez, Warren and Shiming.

Twelve of those were among the 52 total medalists: Adams, Berinchyk, Esparza, Gvozdyk, Joshua, Lomachenko, Murata, Robeisy Ramirez, Shields, Katie Taylor, Usyk and Shiming.

2016: The Rio Olympics featured 286 boxers. Of those, 15 later won world titles as professionals: Adams, Murodjon Akhmadaliev, Janibek Alimkhanuly, Conceicao, Joe Cordina, Hector Garcia, Teofimo Lopez, Fernando Martinez, Marshall, Mikaela Mayer, Lawrence Okolie, Robeisy Ramirez, Shields, Shakur Stevenson. and Katie Taylor.

Six of the 52 medalists from the 2016 Olympics became titleholders: Adams, Akhmadaliev, Conceicao, Robeisy Ramirez, Shields and Shakur Stevenson.

2020/2021: The Tokyo Olympics featured 289 boxers. To date three of those fighters have gone on to win world titles: Beatriz Ferreira, Skye Nicolson and Lauren Price.

Ferreira and Price are the two of the 52 medalists from the Tokyo Olympics to win a world title.

Follow David Greisman on Twitter @FightingWords2. His book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” is available on Amazon.