23. Nigel Benn
Very famous in his native Britain, Nigel Benn is the first athlete on this list to have served in the Royal Army. A former WBO middleweight and WBC super-middleweight champion, Benn was an excellent boxer who competed during the early 90s. Renowned for his savage power, 35 of his 42 wins came by either KO or TKO.
But it’s his time outside the ring that truly defines him as an inspiration. Benn served in the UK Army for four-and-a-half years, including time stationed in West Germany and Northern Ireland. Members of his regiment, the Royal Fusiliers were recognizable later at his professional fights, often attending in their uniforms. In sum, he was both a brilliant athlete and a hero for his nation.