A Knockout Compilation: The Best Boxing Docs and Docuseries to Watch Online

April 26, 2023

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." - Muhammad Al

boxing match between two black and white african american men.


Boxing has been an enduring sport that has captured the hearts and minds of audiences worldwide. From the iconic moments of Muhammad Ali to the latest fights of Tyson Fury, boxing has an undeniable appeal to sports enthusiasts and casual viewers alike.

Tracing back to ancient Greece and Rome. It's a sport that demands respect, discipline, and skill from its athletes. The love for boxing is not just about the thrill of watching two fighters go head-to-head in the ring, but also about the stories behind the boxers. The struggles, the training, the determination, and the passion that drives them to succeed.


boxing fight between two African-American men, one of them is knocked down and the other falls triumphant, on one side is the referee

In recent years, documentaries and docuseries have given viewers an intimate look into the world of boxing, from the gritty training sessions to the high stakes fights. These films have captured the raw emotions of the fighters, their families, and their trainers. They have also shed light on the darker aspects of the sport, including exploitation, corruption, and injury.


Some of the must-watch titles include "When We Were Kings," the Oscar-winning documentary about the historic 1974 fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire. If you're looking for something more comprehensive, ESPN's "30 for 30" series has covered many important events and figures in boxing history. From the rivalry between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran to the tragic story of Sonny Liston, these films offer a deep dive into the sport's past and present.


The Top Boxing Documentaries You Need to Watch:


The Fight Of The Century

an African-American man in profile, sweaty, focused, on his way to the ring

This documentary explores the boxing careers of Brazilian fighters Reginaldo Holyfield and Luciano Todo Duro, who rose to fame from poverty. The documentary covers their intense rivalry, which divided two Brazilian states and culminated in six fights, with each winning three. The film captures the fighters' final battle, decades after their original matches, bringing their story to a powerful conclusion.


Buffalo Girls

boxing ring, two girls with boxing gloves, one kneeling and the other with open arms.

Is a riveting documentary that takes us into the controversial child-boxing circuit in Thailand. The film follows two 8-year-old girls, Sam and Pet, who fight to make a living and help their families survive poverty. Director Todd Kellstein provides an intimate look at the training spaces, betting strategies, and the implications for the parents and relatives who support their daughters' fighting careers. While the film does not question the reasons behind the harsh conditions these girls face, Kellstein is always there to interrogate everyone involved about their role in the business. Buffalo Girls is a must-watch for anyone interested in the intersection of sports, poverty, and cultural traditions.


In her Corner

a woman boxer out of focus

Is an inspiring documentary that delves into the lives of three female boxers who share a deep love for the sport. This powerful film features a single mother who has turned pro-boxer, a talented young amateur boxer and visual artist, and a veteran boxer who fought for women's right to box in the US. Through their personal stories, the film shows the humanity, peace, and balance that are integral to the art of boxing. In Her Corner is a moving and eye-opening documentary that provides an intimate look into the lives of these fierce athletes and what drives them to succeed. Whether you're a fan of boxing or not, this film is a must-watch.


Down, But Not Out!

two young boxers in the ring

In "Down But Not Out!" director Miguel Gaudencio follows four amateur Polish boxers on a mission to win an amateur boxing match in a new city. The film captures the psychological tension of the hours leading up to the fight, with the men taking the ring first. Shot in black and white, the documentary focuses on the warming up, breathing, punches, and steps, revealing ephemeral moments that mark the future of the boxers.


Boxing For Freedom

a young muslim woman with lipstick sitting in a boxing ring with her fighting gloves

Is a powerful documentary about two Afghan sisters, Sadaf and Shabnam Rahimi, who challenge patriarchal traditions in their country by pursuing their passion for boxing. Despite facing opposition from their family and community, Sadaf becomes a successful boxer, representing Afghanistan in the Olympics and winning numerous championships. Directed by Juan Antonio Moreno and Silvia Venegas, the film offers an intimate look at the sisters' experiences, fears, and triumphs as they pursue their dreams. Boxing for Freedom is a must-watch for anyone interested in inspiring stories of perseverance and breaking barriers.


When We Were Kings

a very sweaty african american man in closeup

Is an Academy Award-winning documentary about the legendary Rumble in the Jungle fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in 1974. The film features original footage and expert analysis of the historic bout, as well as a backdrop of the political and cultural significance of the fight in Zaire under the rule of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. Director Leon Gast worked for 22 years to secure funding for the film, which received critical acclaim upon its release. Don't miss this must-see documentary for boxing fans and anyone interested in the history of sport and politics.


I Am Durán

a young boxer with black hair, mustache and beard, sweaty, has red boxing gloves, is in the middle of the ring

This captivating documentary tells the story of Roberto Duran, a trailblazing boxer from Panama who became a firestarter for his country's revolution. Featuring interviews with Mike Tyson, Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Sugar Ray Leonard, and others, the film explores Duran's remarkable rise to fame and his profound impact on boxing and his nation. With stunning archival footage and insightful analysis, Roberto Duran is a must-watch for anyone interested in sports, history, and inspiring human stories.


Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

an old boxing match where a referee watches attentively. There is an African-American boxer from the front and a boxer from the back

Is a powerful documentary that explores the remarkable life of Jack Johnson, the first Black heavyweight boxing champion. Against the backdrop of the Jim Crow era, the film charts Johnson's meteoric rise to fame and fortune, his battles in and out of the ring, and his complex relationship with the racial politics of his time. Through a captivating blend of archival footage, expert commentary, and poignant interviews, Unforgivable Blackness sheds light on the legacy of a man who challenged the boundaries of race, sport, and society. From his humble beginnings as the son of former slaves to his triumphant reign as a boxing legend, Johnson's story is a compelling tale of perseverance, determination, and courage in the face of adversity. Unforgivable Blackness is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of sport, race, and social justice in America.



a young female boxer poses in the ring wearing gloves and a golden cape

Is a captivating documentary that shines a light on the remarkable story of Claressa Shields, a rising star in the world of female boxing. Against the backdrop of Flint, Michigan, a city beset by crisis, the film charts Claressa's journey as she strives to defend her title and win gold again at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Through powerful storytelling and stunning visuals, T-Rex delves into the compelling themes of race, class, and gender bias, illuminating the obstacles Claressa has faced on her journey to becoming a champion. With a gripping blend of archive footage and candid interviews, the film paints a vivid portrait of this extraordinary athlete and the challenges she has overcome to become one of the most inspiring and influential figures in boxing today. T-Rex is a must-watch for anyone who loves sports, social justice, and compelling human stories.


Born and Bred

two young boxers with bandaged hands and head protections

Is an engrossing feature-length documentary that follows the gripping journey of a group of young boxers as they fight their way to success in the heart of American boxing, Los Angeles. The film provides an intimate look into the lives of these driven and determined athletes, showcasing their grit, passion, and commitment to their craft. As they navigate the highs and lows of their careers, viewers are invited to witness their triumphs and setbacks, and the personal sacrifices they make to pursue their dreams. Born and Bred is a captivating exploration of the complex world of boxing and the remarkable individuals who dedicate themselves to this demanding and exhilarating sport.


digital boxing paint


So, where to watch it? Many of these titles are available on Guidedoc, and other streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu, while others can be found on YouTube or purchased on Amazon Prime. With so many options, it's easy to explore the many stories and perspectives of boxing through the lens of documentary filmmaking.

In conclusion, boxing is a sport that has captivated audiences for centuries. With the rise of documentaries, docudramas, and docuseries, viewers can now experience the thrill and complexity of boxing from a new angle. These films offer a unique look at the sport's history, culture, and controversies, and showcase the determination and passion of the fighters. Whether you're a fan or just curious, these boxing documentaries and docuseries are a knockout choice.

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