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Commemorative stamps: Boxers no stranger to high honor

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Upon its inception in the late 19th Century, the martial art of modern boxing, or prizefighting, was primarily a sport of dubious legitimacy.

But even then, top fighters captured the imagination of the public and paved the way for future stars to cement the 'Sweet Science' as one of the world's most respected sporting endeavors.

Today, the most recognizable face is in the world doesn't belong to a politician, musician or soccer star - It belongs to a boxing champion.

Although Muhammad Ali may not be as well-known as the Mona Lisa, he is far more popular than Pele and Michael Jordan.

Worldwide, few athletes have been given a commemorative stamp by their respective homelands yet a handful of fighters have been deemed worthy enough to be held in such high regard.

A commemorative stamp is a postage stamp, often issued on a significant date such as an anniversary, to honor or commemorate a place, event, person, or object.

Prince Naseem Hamed is featured on Yemeni postage
Naseem Hamed 1995 Yemen stamp3

Commemorative stamps can be often be used alongside ordinary stamps but are usually printed in limited quantities and sold for a much shorter period of time, usually until supplies run out.

In 2010, the Ukrainian National Post Office issued a postage stamp commemorating world heavyweight champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. Roughly 170,000 were printed and the stamp was worth $1.50 in U.S. funds.

The following boxers have been bestowed the incredible honor of donning national postage:
  • Joe Louis, U.S.A., 1993
  • Prince Naseem Hamed, Yemen (circa 1997)
  • Jack Dempsey, U.S.A., 1998
  • Rocky Marciano, U.S.A. 1999
  • Sugar Ray Robinson, U.S.A, 2006
  • Manny Pacquiao, The Philippines
  • Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, Ukraine, 2010

Can you name more? If so, let us know.


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