The heavyweight division is boxing’s marquee weight class, and when it’s hot the whole sport is hot. But who is the top dog currently?
The bible of boxing – Ring magazine – has revealed its latest heavyweight rankings, and it makes pretty good reading for UK fight fans with three domestic fighters sat at the top of the tree. A time of unprecedented riches. Here is the full top 10:
Ring Magazine Heavyweight Rankings
Champion: Tyson Fury (30-0-1)
Fury sits alone at the top of the heavyweight division right now, after topping off an incredible comeback from the brink of boxing oblivion to regain the WBC title by crushing the hitherto unbeaten Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas in February. Next up is a trilogy fight with ‘The Bronze Bomber’ and then (dependent on WBC mandatory commitments with Dillian Whyte) potentially a blockbusting double-header with Joshua to unify the belts in 2021.
1: Anthony Joshua (23-1)
The reigning IBF, WBA and WBO champion and due to defend next against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (date tbc). After that he has agreed in principle that deal for a double-header with Fury, though the WBO claim he should face their mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk first. Watch this space.
2: Dillian Whyte (27-1)
‘The Body Snatcher’ has been the WBC’s mandatory challenger now for what feels like an eternity but he is still waiting for that elusive shot. Has reportedly taken legal action against the WBC to try and force the issue with the spectre of Fury vs Joshua threatening to kick his claims even further down the road. Next up though could be a showdown with Russian Alexander Povetkin in Eddie Hearn’s back garden.
3: Deontay Wilder (42-1-1)
It’s unusual to say this of a man with just one defeat in 44 fights, but such was the manner of that devastating TKO at the hands of Fury in Las Vegas in February, many experts believe Deontay Wilder stands in last-chance saloon at the very top level. That last chance will come in the shape of a trilogy fight with ‘The Gypsy King’ later this year. Wilder still possesses dynamite in his fists, but his technical limitations were horribly exposed in both fights against Fury. Can he turn it round? The odds are against.
4: Luis Ortiz (31-2)
The 41-year-old Cuban would still possess a perfect professional record, but for Deontay Wilder. Two challenges for Wilder’s WBC belt ended in defeat inside the distance, but Ortiz remains a dangerous foe against even the very best.
5: Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2)
The Californian created one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when as a late stand-in he handed Anthony Joshua a stunning first career defeat at Madison Square Garden in June 2019. But as well as carrying the IBF, WBA and WBO belts into the ring for their rematch in Saudi Arabia in December 2019, Ruiz also carried a little too much weight. It didn’t appear he’d put too much thought into conditioning, and paid the price as Joshua completely outboxed him en route to a comfortable points success.
6: Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1)
It feels like Povetkin has been around for ever – and at the age of 40 now he pretty much has. The former WBA heavyweight champion lost his title on points to Wladimir Klitschko back in 2013 and hasn’t quite scaled those same heights since. Did challenge for Joshua’s belts at Wembley in 2018 but was stopped by the Englishman. Next up likely is a showdown with Dillian Whyte – potentially in Eddie Hearn’s back garden…
7: Joseph Parker (27-2)
The former WBO world champion lost his belt against the mighty Anthony Joshua when they squared off in Cardiff in 2018. But Parker did give Joshua some interesting problems as he dropped a scrappy encounter on points. Followed that up with his second consecutive defeat as he again went down on points – this time to Dillian Whyte in London.
8: Michael Hunter (18-1-1)
Hunter’s only professional defeat so far came down at cruiserweight when he dropped a unanimous decision against the slick and stylish Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO title back in 2017. Now they are both up at heavy and trying to get in the title midx.
9: Oscar Rivas (26-1)
One of the superior heavyweights on the planet should have a superior nickname, and ‘Kaboom’ fits the bill. The Colombian brought a perfect record to London last year for his meeting with Dillian Whyte for the interim WBC heavyweight title. Rivas dropped a unanimous decision to ‘The Body Snatcher’, who himself is still waiting for that elusive first title shot. Rivas meanwhile has not fought since.
10: Kubrat Pulev (28-1)
The 39-year-old Bulgrian is next up for Anthony Joshua – once a date and venue can be found for his mandatory challenge to AJ. Their fight had been scheduled for June at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Bob Arum – who co-promotes Pulev – is convinced the veteran will smash up Joshua to destroy the dreams of an all-British unification match with Tyson Fury. The odds are stacked against that happening, but we should find out one way or another later this year. Only professional defeat so far came in a challenge for Wladimir Klitschko’s belts in 2014.