Boxers are a popular concept in media around the world, including video games. However, only a few boxers stand out as true-blue champions.
The concept of a Boxer Character has always been a common appearance in video games. Over the years, however, some video game boxers stand out as being especially strong or likeable.
Anyone whose ever tried boxing, or even played against Matt in Wii Sports, knows hard hard the sport can be. As one of the foremost martial arts of the modern world, the art of boxing is a cultural icon. Figures like Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali have captured the eye of the mainstream through their prowess and personality. As a result, their influence can be seen in movies, novels, and even video games.
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While many games have taken inspiration from the sport, only a few boxers in gaming can be considered the best. Whether it be for their strength or for the quality of their writing, these boxers are among the few who can be truly called champions.
Best Video Game Boxer – Little Mac
If being an underdog was its own competition, Little Mac would take first place. The pint-sized protagonist of the classic Punch Out!! series is so small that every one of his bouts is a battle akin to David vs Goliath. But what this puny pugilist lacks in size, he makes up for in skill and spirit. Through patience and practice, Little Mac rose up the ranks of the World Video Boxing Association and earned the chance to take on its champion, Mike Tyson.
Melting down Iron Mike is no joke, but somehow Little Mac continues to one-up himself. Since then, Mac has lost and reclaimed his champion status several times, and even fought the likes of Donkey Kong in multiple arenas. Whether it’s in Super Smash Bros. or Punch Out for the Wii, Little Mac has proven that he has the stuff to go head-to-head with Nintendo’s heaviest hitters.
Best Video Game Boxer – Balrog
Speaking of heavy hitters, few video game boxers are as beloved as Street Fighter‘s Balrog. He’s one of the oldest boxers in fighting game history, with origins dating back to the character Mike from the very first Street Fighter. While the two aren’t canonically one and the same, there is evidence pointing to them being connected.
Balrog’s Japanese name, “M. Bison” is a loose parody of Mike Tyson, the professional boxer who serves as the inspiration for both characters’ designs. Since then, Balrog has appeared in almost every mainline SF title, and is still a popular choice among fans after multiple incarnations throughout the series’ decades-long history. Much of this can be attributed to how Balrog has evolved over the years, with changes in his move set and design ensuring that the money-hungry villain remains fresh as the series progresses. His character’s personality has also developed with time, slightly softening after forming an attachment to his adopted son, Ed in Street Fighter V.
Best Video Game Boxer – Akihiko Sanada
The Persona series is already famous for its incredibly strong character writing. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the franchise’s resident Boxer Character ranks among the best in all of gaming. While not a professional boxer like Little Mac or Balrog, Akihiko has more than what it takes in the ring to qualify. Though he was only in high school during his debut appearance in Persona 3, Akihiko had already dedicated his life to training and gaining power. Needless to say, he has some deep motivations for becoming so strong.
After failing to recue his sister from dying in a fire as a child, Akihiko became determined to gain power and protect those close to him. As a result, he follows a workout routine roughly comparable to Saitama’s from One-Punch Man, and could easily lay the smack down on most people without even needing to use his Persona. With his persona, however, his mixture of magic and martial arts makes him an absolute beast on the battlefield. Furthermore, his calm and cool personality and overall reliability has made him one of the most popular characters in the series. When it comes to Japanese RPGs, no boxer ranks as highly as Akihiko.
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