This Was The Fastest Knockout In Pro Boxing History

In 2000, ESPN ran an obituary for Al Couture, a welterweight prizefighter from the 1940s. Couture had never held the title, but he once reached sixth place among the contenders, ahead of the legendary Jake LaMotta, before the latter moved up to middleweight. In all, Couture fought 296 professional bouts, but the most famous of all was on September 24, 1946, against Ralph Walton.

As ESPN tells it, just as the starting bell rang, one of Walton's cornermen saw something alarming: Walton had forgotten to put in his mouthguard. He called out to the fighter. Walton must have heard the urgency is his cornerman's voice, because he turned his head slightly to look back at him. Couture, seeing his head turn, slammed him with a hook to the jaw. Walton crumpled, unable to get up for the 10 count. It may have been the shortest fight in boxing history until then: 10.5 seconds.

But was it the fastest?

But was the Couture-Walton fight really the quickest K.O. in boxing history? The ESPN obituary insisted that it was. However, others on the internet have compiled their own lists which contradict that claim.

One of the problems of boxing statistics is that there's no central body to consult. As Boxing Insider explains, four competing federations dominate international prizefighting. Called the Big Four, they are (in order of age): the World Boxing Association (WBA), the World Boxing Council (WBC), the International Boxing Federation (IBF), and the World Boxing Organization (WBO). (This list does not include amateur leagues, like the International Olympic Committee.)

Each of the Big Four offer their own titles, meaning that at any given time there can be four Heavyweight Champions of the World.  They set their own weight class limits, enforce their own rules, and collect their own statistics. Many boxers fight in multiple federations and hold simultaneous titles, but the situation makes collecting statistics, like fastest-ever K.O.s, rather difficult.

The other contenders

Difficult, but not impossible. It seems like we can identify the fastest K.O. in boxing history, as well as a number of runners-up and pretenders. UPI reports that the fastest non-professional K.O. happened the year after Couture's vaunted 1946 10.5 second knockout, in the 1947 Golden Gloves tournament in Minneapolis. Mike Collins knocked out his opponent, Pat Brownson, in four seconds. The starting bell was likely still echoing.

What about professional bouts?  UPI claims it was a cruiserweight fight in 1984 between Ricky Parkey and Broderick Mason. Parkey knocked out his man in eight seconds flat. There are other contenders, though. Boxing News Online claims it was Phil Williams in 2007, knocking out his opponent in 10 seconds. 

None of these are true, though. DAZN has the real answer: in 2020, 28-year-old Seniesa "Superbad" Estrada knocked out Miranda Atkins in seven seconds. There's something depressingly familiar in the fact that a world record held by a woman should be so widely ignored.