In boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts, a gatekeeper is a skillful and well-regarded fighter, but one who does not have the popularity or brilliance of a title contender. They are considered to be a cut above most journeymen. A gatekeeper will often have an impressive record in terms of wins versus losses but will have a difficult time getting people behind them and especially obtaining promotion.
Gatekeepers will frequently have the following characteristics:
The following fighters have all been described as gatekeepers:
Hasim Sharif Rahman is an American retired professional boxer who competed from 1994 to 2014. He is a two-time world heavyweight champion, having held the unified WBC, IBF, IBO and lineal titles in 2001; and the WBC title again from 2005 to 2006. He was ranked as the world's top 10 heavyweight by BoxRec from 2000 to 2005, and reached his highest ranking of world No.6 at the conclusion of 2004.
Vitali Volodymyrovych Klitschko is a Ukrainian politician and former professional boxer. He currently serves as Mayor of Kyiv and head of the Kyiv City State Administration, having held both offices since June 2014. Klitschko is a former leader of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and a former Member of the Ukrainian Parliament. He became actively involved in Ukrainian politics in 2005 and combined this with his professional boxing career until his retirement from the sport in 2013.
Harold Johnson was a professional boxer. He held the World Light Heavyweight Championship from 1962 to 1963.
Faumuina To'aletai Mafaufau David Tua, best known as David Tua, is a Samoan-born former New Zealand professional boxer who competed from 1992 to 2013. A highly ranked heavyweight contender for most of his career, Tua was known for his formidable punching power, especially in his devastating left hook. He scored sixteen wins by knockout in the first round, which included knockouts of world heavyweight champions John Ruiz and Michael Moorer within thirty seconds of the first round, as well as late stoppages of world champions Oleg Maskaev and Hasim Rahman. He was ranked by BoxRec as the world's top 10 heavyweight from 1996 to 2003, reaching his highest ranking of No.3 in 1998. Tua ended his career with a knockout-to-win ratio of 82.6%. In a 2003 article by The Ring magazine, Tua was ranked 48th on a list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.
Jameel McCline is an American former professional boxer. He challenged for the world heavyweight title on an unprecedented four occasions, losing all four attempts to Wladimir Klitschko, Chris Byrd, Nikolai Valuev and Samuel Peter. Despite never winning a world title, McCline did defeat former champions and top contenders in Michael Grant, Lance Whitaker, Al Cole, Cedric Boswell and Shannon Briggs. McCline retired in 2012 at the age of 42.
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Odlanier Solís Fonte is a Cuban professional boxer. He has challenged once for the WBC heavyweight title in 2011, and is a former top-rated contender in that division. As an amateur heavyweight, Solis was one of the most celebrated and decorated amateur stars of the 2000s, winning a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, and three consecutive golds at the World Championships in 2001, 2003, and 2005. Odlanier Solís beat Luis Ortiz multiple times in the amateur's, never losing to him.
Avetik Grigorievich Abrahamyan, best known as Arthur Abraham, is an Armenian-German former professional boxer who competed from 2003 to 2018. He held multiple world championships in two weight classes, including the IBF middleweight title from 2005 to 2009, and the WBO super-middleweight title twice between 2012 and 2016.
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Peter Quillin is an American professional boxer who held the WBO middleweight title from 2012 to 2014.