Native American Boxers in the History of Boxing

By: Ken Hissner

When one thinks of Native American boxers you have former world champions in Virgil “Quicksilver” Hill, 51-7 (24), the former WBA light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion from Williston, ND, and IBF and WBC world cruiserweight champion Marvin Camel, 45-13-4 (21), of Missoula, MT. Besides these two are the Lopez brothers who were part Ute Indian. Danny “Little Red” Lopez, 42-6 (39), was the WBC world featherweight champion who was inducted into the IBHOF in 2010. His brother was Ernie “Indian Red” Lopez who was 49-12-1 (25) and a world welterweight title challenger.

Others include WBA heavyweight title challenger Joe “The Boss” Hipp, 43-7 (19), of Yakima, WA, who held the WBF title but lost to Bruce Seldon in challenging for the WBA title. He was inducted into the American-Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. George “Comanche Boy” Tahdooahnippah, 34-3-3 (24), of Lawton, OK, a one-time middleweight contender boxed from 2004 to 2016. He also was a college wrestler at DE State going there on a full scholarship.

Active today we find World WBA lightweight champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, 34-3-1 (25), now at of Oxnard, CA, and heavyweight John Wesley Nofire, 20-1 (16) from the Cherokee Nation in OK now out of Miami, FL, along with female boxer Sonja Fox, 7-0 (2), of McLaughlin, SD. Little known Emerson Chasing Bear, 5-4-2 (3), of Rapid City, SD, was more known for his amateur career then spending five years in the professional ranks from 2007 to 2012. Shawn “The Sioux Warrior” Hawk, 23-3-1 (17), retired in 2012 after challenging for the WBO light heavyweight title losing to Nathan Cleverly.

Hill is probably the best known. He won a Silver Medal at the 1984 Olympics. He boxed professional from 1984 to 2008. He was inducted in 2013 to the IBHOF. His son Virgil Jr., was 5-0 in a brief career. Camel, 45-13-4 (21), was WBC World and IBF World Cruiserweight champion.

We can go all the way back to Luther McCarty, 15-1 (15), of who held the White heavyweight Championship fighting from 1911 to 1913 when he died after suffering this loss. His father was half-Native American.

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