As long as there have been video games, the sports genre has existed. Even the game most widely recognized as the first commercially successful video game, Atari’s Pong, was a virtual version of ping-pong. Every year, players flock to store shelves to pick up the yearly edition of Madden NFL, WWE2K, or EA’s UFC franchise. Boxing fans are no different, though their current options are pretty few and far between.
Nevertheless, there have been some incredible boxing video games that have been released over the years, with these ten being the reigning champions of the virtual ring.
10 Wii Sports
Let’s just get this one out of the way early. 2006’s Wii Sports is still one of the most purchased games to ever be released, as it was a pack-in for the system’s launch. Multiple sports are available to play via the game’s motion sensor controllers, including boxing.
While incredibly simple, Wii Sports is just stupid fun, even in 2023. The boxing mode is no different, as players work their way up facing better and better boxers to get up the leaderboard. The pride in victory was real, as was the agony of defeat when we all realize that our younger sister just knocked us out by flailing her wrists around the room.
9 Knockout Kings 99
The Knockout Kings franchise never really got the same praise that Fight Night did. Still, this EA Sports series was a lot of fun, with the first title being released for the PS1, N64, and Game Boy Advance in late 1998. The roster featured most major names you would expect, including Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield.
While graphically this game might be the worst on this list, the game is still a classic. The arcade-style gameplay holds up well, and the roster is near-perfect, save for the absence of Mike Tyson.
8 Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
The Ready 2 Rumble series of games took the arcade element to another level. Instead of having actual boxers, they instead opted to have names such as Michael Jackson and Bill Clinton, both of whom were playable boxers in the second game, released in 2000 as a launch title for the PlayStation 2, as well as the original PlayStation, N64, Dreamcast, and Game Boy Advance.
This Midway Games title still holds up today and is nothing but fun. Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 doesn’t take itself seriously, and that’s awesome. It’s a shame that the franchise isn’t around today.
7 Super Punch-Out!!
Released in 1994, Super Punch-Out!! was the sequel to the original Punch-Out!! released a few years earlier on the NES. This Super NES release could be considered more of the same, but for fans of the original, this is not a bad thing.
Super Punch-Out!! is an incredibly simple game that is still fun, and holds up well today. Players once again guide Little Mac to become world champion in this title, with the sequel being more akin to the original arcade release, featuring bigger sprites and cleaner graphics.
6 Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
Though the sequel was widely lauded for its use of guest boxers, the original Ready 2 Rumble Boxing set the cartoonish standard. In 1999, this title was first released for the Sega Dreamcast, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and the Game Boy Advance, catching many fans off-guard. While Knockout Kings was arcade gameplay with real boxers, this was something far different.
Instead, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing took the absurdity to the max. However, the developers still paid attention to the finer details of the sport, such as having your boxer develop swelling and more damage as the fight progresses.
5 Fight Night Round 4
2009’s Fight Night Round 4 was yet another classic title in the franchise. For the most part, fans got wanted they wanted with this release. A beautiful looking simulation-title, that has a deep and fun career mode, and addictive gameplay for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
However, the fourth iteration hosted other unique features in its gameplay. For example, Round 4 is the only title in the franchise that allows players to re-create iconic fights, such as Hagler vs. Hearns, De La Hoya vs. Mayweather, and more.
4 Knockout Kings 2001
Knockout Kings 2001 is widely regarded as the best game in the franchise. Released as a Sony exclusive on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, it featured more content than its predecessor.
This title featured over 40 boxers, a 15-fighter improvement from the previous release. It’s also worth noting that this is one of only a few major boxing video games to feature women. Names such as Christy Martin and Mia St. John headline the women’s division.
3 Fight Night Champion
Fight Night Champion remains one of the most unique sports games period. There’s no event creator in this one, nor a way to recreate historical boxing matches. However, notably it does feature an exceptional cinematic story mode, as players follow the life of the fictional Andre Bishop.
Without spoiling much, the story mode takes many dark twists and turns. The gameplay is also realistic as far as damage, helping Fight Night Champion earn its M for Mature rating, a series first. Unfortunately, the twelve year-old title still remains one of the most recent boxing titles for any console. A follow-up is sorely needed.
2 Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!!
Widely considered one of the greatest – and toughest – games ever, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!! was always going to have a spot here. Released originally for arcades, the game was later ported to the NES and released for home consoles in 1987.
This game was mostly the same as the arcade version, save for the inclusion of heavyweight legend Mike Tyson. Simply put, this one is considered a classic, and a demanding challenge, for even the most modern of gamer.
1 Fight Night Round 3
While there are a lot of great boxing games, Fight Night Round 3 stands above the pack. Released for the recently released Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, this game looked gorgeous for the time. However, there were other new features, such as the inclusion of ESPN classic fights.
Furthermore, you were able to do everything from fighting in the first-person mode to having openweight fights in this title. All in all, this 2006 game still holds up as the best boxing video game ever.