Five of the Best Second-Generation Boxers

This Saturday, Chris Eubank Jr. looks for revenge against Liverpool’s Liam Smith, who knocked him out in the fourth round of their first meeting in January. While Eubank has never come close to matching the achievements of his father, who won middleweight and super middleweight titles in the 1990s, he has been one of the more successful boxing offspring of boxing parents, entering the Smith rematch with a record of 32-3 (23 KOs) and with victories over the likes of Avni Yildirim and James DeGale. 

While plenty of boxers have attempted to emulate the success of their pugilistic parents, few have been especially successful. Witness, for example, the underwhelming pro careers of Shane Mosley, Jr, Aaron Pryor Jr., or Evan Holyfield – or, for that matter, that of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., which once held such promise but has descended into caricature. Conor Benn, son of Eubank Senior’s great rival Nigel, at one point looked as if he might have a shot at joining the select group of boxing progeny to make their own mark in the sport but following the fallout over his reported positive PED test, it is uncertain what his future holds. 

Even so, there are examples of those who have exceeded the in-ring achievements of their fathers – or at least performed sufficiently well to earn their own plaudits. Here is a selection: 

5. Tim Tszyu

Professional career: 2016-present

Achievements: Interim 154-pound world titlist

Record (to date): 23-0 (17)

Tszyu, the son of Hall-of-Famer Kostya, may well end up higher on this list by the time his career is complete. 2023 was supposed to be his breakout year, as he was lined up to face undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo; but with Charlo opting to move up to 168 pounds to take on Canelo Alvarez, Tszyu may now have a clear run at the division’s summit. So far this year he has stopped veteran Tony Harrison and wiped out Carlos Ocampo; he will face Brian Mendoza in October.

4. Laila Ali

Professional career: 1999-2007 

Achievements: World Super Middleweight Champion

Record: 24-0 (21)

Being the daughter of The Greatest carries the weight of expectations, but “She Bee Stingin’” more than met them. While a mooted matchup with Ann Wolfe never came together, Ali put together an unbeaten run that included wins over Christy Martin and Jacqui Frazier-Lyde and secured her induction to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2021.

3. Cory Spinks

Professional career: 1997-2013

Achievements: World Welterweight Champion; Junior Middleweight Titlist

Record: 39-8 (11)

The son of former heavyweight champion Leon and nephew of Michael, “The Next Generation” outpointed Ricardo Mayorga to become lineal welterweight champion in 2013. He then outpointed Zab Judah in his first defense, adding a second defense against Miguel Angel Gonzalez, before falling to Judah by ninth round TKO. He would challenge for several more world titles at 154 and 160, winning the IBF junior middleweight title in 2007 and losing it in 2010.

2. Tyson Fury

Professional career: 2008-present

Achievements: World Heavyweight Champion

Record (to date): 33-0-1 (24)

Fury differs somewhat from the others on the list in that his father John’s professional boxing record was a pedestrian 8-4-1 (1 KO). Fury fils, on the other hand, has estabished himself as his generation’s greatest heavyweight, winning the lineal championship from Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 and returning after a nearly three-year hiatus to score wins over the likes of Deontay Wilder, Dillian Whyte, and Derek Chisora.

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr

Professional career: 1996-2017

Achievements: World Super Featherweight Champion; World Lightweight Champion; World Welterweight Champion; World Junior Middleweight Champion; Super Lightweight Titlist

Record: 50-0 (27)

Mayweather’s father was a lightweight contender, and his uncle was a world titlist, but the younger Mayweather’s career blew both of theirs out of the water. Won his first world title after just two years as a pro, and barely fought in a non-title bout again. His Hall of Fame career included wins over Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, Shane Mosley, and Diego Corrales, lineal championships at multiple weights, and consensus acclamation as the best boxer, pound-for-pound, of his generation.

Honorable Mentions: Guty Espadas Jr. (former featherweight titlist, son of former flyweight titlist Guty Espadas); Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., (former junior featherweight titlist, son of bantamweight and super bantamweight titlist and lineal featherweight champ, Wilfredo Vazquez); Ray Mancini (former lightweight titlist, son of Lenny Mancini); Tracy Harris Patterson (former super bantamweight and super bantamweight titlist, adopted son of former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson).