In a career spanning 16 years and 9 months, Sonny Liston fought 54 times with 50 wins and 4 losses. By his last professional fight on June 29, 1970, Liston's boxing record stood at 50-4 (39 KO wins, 3 KO losses).
Sonny Liston (The Big Bear) was an American professional boxer. He was born in Sand Slough, Arkansas, U.S. on May 8, 1932. Liston made his professional boxing debut at the age of 21 on September 2, 1953. He was a heavyweight world champion. He died on December 30, 1970 at the age of 38 years. Liston is a Hall of Famer.
|Total Title Wins||4|
|Title-Fight KO Wins||2|
|Losses via KO||3|
|54||Jun 29, 1970||38||Chuck Wepner||Win||RTD9|
|53||Dec 6, 1969||37||Leotis Martin||Loss||KO9|
|52||Sep 23, 1969||37||Sonny Moore||Win||KO3|
|51||May 19, 1969||37||George Johnson||Win||TKO7|
|50||Mar 28, 1969||36||Billy Joiner||Win||UD|
|49||Dec 10, 1968||36||Amos Lincoln||Win||KO2|
|48||Nov 12, 1968||36||Roger Rischer||Win||KO3|
|47||Nov 3, 1968||36||Willis Earls||Win||KO2|
|46||Oct 14, 1968||36||Sonny Moore||Win||TKO3|
|45||Jul 6, 1968||36||Henry Clark||Win||TKO7|
|44||May 23, 1968||36||Billy Joiner||Win||RTD7|
|43||Mar 16, 1968||35||Bill McMurray||Win||TKO4|
|42||Apr 28, 1967||34||Elmer Rush||Win||TKO6|
|41||Mar 30, 1967||34||Dave Bailey||Win||KO1|
|40||Aug 19, 1966||34||Amos Johnson||Win||KO3|
|39||Jul 1, 1966||34||Gerhard Zech||Win||KO7|
|38||May 25, 1965||33||Muhammad Ali||Loss||KO1|
|37||Feb 25, 1964||31||Cassius Clay||Loss||RTD6|
|36||Jul 22, 1963||31||Floyd Patterson||Win||KO1|
|35||Sep 25, 1962||30||Floyd Patterson||Win||KO1|
|34||Dec 4, 1961||29||Albert Westphal||Win||KO1|
|33||Mar 8, 1961||28||Howard King||Win||TKO3|
|32||Sep 7, 1960||28||Eddie Machen||Win||UD|
|31||Jul 18, 1960||28||Zora Folley||Win||KO3|
|30||Apr 25, 1960||27||Roy Harris||Win||TKO1|
|29||Mar 21, 1960||27||Cleveland Williams||Win||TKO2|
|28||Feb 23, 1960||27||Howard King||Win||RTD7|
|27||Dec 9, 1959||27||Willi Besmanoff||Win||RTD6|
|26||Aug 5, 1959||27||Niño Valdés||Win||KO3|
|25||Apr 15, 1959||26||Cleveland Williams||Win||TKO3|
|24||Feb 18, 1959||26||Mike DeJohn||Win||TKO6|
|23||Nov 18, 1958||26||Ernie Cab||Win||RTD7|
|22||Oct 24, 1958||26||Bert Whitehurst||Win||UD|
|21||Oct 7, 1958||26||Frankie Daniels||Win||KO1|
|20||Aug 6, 1958||26||Wayne Bethea||Win||TKO1|
|19||May 14, 1958||26||Julio Mederos||Win||RTD2|
|18||Apr 3, 1958||25||Bert Whitehurst||Win||PTS|
|17||Mar 11, 1958||25||Ben Wise||Win||TKO4|
|16||Jan 29, 1958||25||Billy Hunter||Win||TKO2|
|15||Mar 6, 1956||23||Marty Marshall||Win||UD|
|14||Dec 13, 1955||23||Larry Watson||Win||TKO4|
|13||Sep 13, 1955||23||Johnny Gray||Win||TKO6|
|12||May 25, 1955||23||Calvin Butler||Win||TKO2|
|11||May 5, 1955||22||Emil Brtko||Win||TKO5|
|10||Apr 21, 1955||22||Marty Marshall||Win||TKO6|
|9||Mar 1, 1955||22||Neal Welch||Win||PTS|
|8||Sep 7, 1954||22||Marty Marshall||Loss||SD|
|7||Aug 10, 1954||22||Johnny Summerlin||Win||SD|
|6||Jun 29, 1954||22||Johnny Summerlin||Win||UD|
|5||Mar 31, 1954||21||Stanley Howlett||Win||PTS|
|4||Jan 25, 1954||21||Martin Lee||Win||TKO6|
|3||Nov 21, 1953||21||Bennie Thomas||Win||SD|
|2||Sep 17, 1953||21||Ponce de Leon||Win||PTS|
|1||Sep 2, 1953||21||Don Smith||Win||TKO1|
Sonny Liston's professional boxing career spanned more than 16 years — from 1953 to 1970.
Liston made his debut against Don Smith at the age of 21 on September 2, 1953, defeating Smith via 1st round TKO. He went on to win 6 more consecutive fights after the debut, which included 1 wins via stoppage.
Liston had his first world title fight at the age of 30 on September 25, 1962 after 34 professional fights, against Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight NYSAC, WBA, and The Ring titles. He defeated Patterson via 1st round KO to become the heavyweight champion of the world.
He was a one-time undisputed heavyweight world champion, and won three world titles at heavyweight. For all the details about Liston's world title wins and defenses refer to "Sonny Liston World Titles".
Some of Liston's best fights and notable victories include wins over Hall-of-Famer Floyd Patterson, Cleveland Williams, Amos Lincoln, George Johnson, Billy Joiner, Sonny Moore, and Willis Earls.
Sonny Liston had a total of four losses in his professional boxing career — two of them in title bouts and two in non-title bouts. He suffered his first loss against Marty Marshall via 8 round split-decision on September 7, 1954. He was stopped three times and lost once via decision. For more details about these defeats, refer to "All of Sonny Liston's losses".
His last professional fight was a non-title bout against fellow American boxer Chuck Wepner at 38 years of age, on June 29, 1970. Liston won the fight via 9th round RTD.
He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) in 1991.
Sonny Liston fought a total of 54 times during his professional career. He was among the very best of his generation and was known for his great performances. These four fights are the highlight of his career.
This is the first remarkable performance in Sonny Liston's career. A 26-year old Liston (23-1, 14 KO) faced Cleveland Williams on April 15, 1959. Williams was 25 years old with a record of 43-2. Williams was on a 12-fight win streak with 35 KO wins, and was the taller of the two by 3 cms but Liston had a 10 cm reach advantage over Williams.
Liston defeated Williams via 3rd round TKO.
In a rematch, a 27-year old Sonny Liston (27-1, 18 KO) faced Cleveland Williams, who was now 26 years old with a record of 45-3. Williams was on a two-fight win streak with 37 KO wins, and was the taller of the two by 3 cms but Liston had a 10 cm reach advantage over Williams.
Liston defeated Williams via 2nd round TKO.
A 30-year old Sonny Liston (33-1, 23 KO) faced Floyd Patterson, who was 27 years old with a record of 38-2. Patterson was on a three-fight win streak with 29 KO wins. Liston was the taller of the two by 2 cms and also had a 33 cm reach advantage.
Liston defeated Patterson via 1st round KO to win the NYSAC, WBA, and Ring Magazine heavyweight titles.
In an immediate rematch, a 31-year old Sonny Liston (34-1, 24 KO) faced Floyd Patterson, who was now 28 years old with a record of 38-3 in a undisputed heavyweight championship bout. Patterson had lost to Liston in their last fight. Liston was the taller of the two by 2 cms and also had a 33 cm reach advantage.
Liston defeated Patterson via 1st round KO to win the WBC heavyweight title and retain the NYSAC, WBA, and Ring Magazine heavyweight titles.
Some of Liston's best wins were against Floyd Patterson, Cleveland Williams, Amos Lincoln, George Johnson, Billy Joiner, Sonny Moore, and Willis Earls.
Liston knocked out 39 of his 54 opponents. By his last fight, his KO ratio was at 72.2%. Of his total 50 wins, 39 of them were via KO (78%).
Liston had four losses. Leotis Martin, Muhammad Ali, Cassius Clay, and Marty Marshall are the four boxers who have beaten Liston.