Boxing’s marquee division is booming right now, and our heavyweight rankings are designed to help you navigate a complicated landscape.
We have assessed the seismic shockwaves caused by Oleksandr Usyk’s upset defeat of Anthony Joshua, and now it is time to sift through the wonderful wreckage of the slugfest that was Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3.
Our fully updated rankings give you an idea of how the division currently shapes up as we head deeper into the boxing year. Our latest updates major on Fury’s latest win over Wilder – and the slew of fascinating supporting heavyweight fights on that Vegas show.
Heavyweight rankings: World top 10
Our rankings are based on achievement and analysis, and they ignore the current ratings of the sport’s alphabet sanctioning bodies. And they will be updated after all major fights affecting our top 10:
The WBC, Ring magazine and lineal world heavyweight champion, Fury thoroughly deserves his position atop the mountain right now following another epic performance in the aforementioned trilogy showdown with Wilder at T-Mobile Arena on October 9. Despite coming in at a career-heaviest 277lbs and being down twice in the fourth round, Fury roared back to dominate for most of a terrific fight before finally stopping ‘The Bronze Bomber’ in Round 11. It was a heavyweight thriller for the ages – and one which again showcased everything that is good about Fury. We saw that ringcraft and savvy he is so famed for, agression and power befitting such a big man, and also the quite frankly unbelievable stamina and powers of recovery he possesses. It will take a very special heavyweight to hand him a first professional loss and take this #1 spot away from him – we’re just not sure that heavyweight exists right now…Next up could well be a title defence against fellow Brit Dillian Whyte. The WBC has ordered it, assuming Whyte beats Otto Wallin on October 30. Then we must wait to see if Fury wants it too.
Next Fight: tbc
2 Oleksandr Usyk (19-0)
The slick former cruiserweight king became a world champion in two weight classes when he comprehensively outpointed Anthony Joshua in front of more than 67,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The Ukrainian, who struck Olympic gold en route to a 335-15 amateur record before turning pro, claimed the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles in the process. He also wrecked any prospect in the near future of Joshua facing British rival Fury in that eagerly-hoped-for unification match. Usyk was brilliant on the night, showing the elite ringcraft we knew he possessed, but also standing in the pocket to unleashing blinding flurries which had AJ struggling to stay on his feet as the final bell sounded. Next up will be a rematch with Joshua – already activated by the Briton – and we expect that to take place in spring 2022.
Next Fight: Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 (spring 2022)
Joshua had already lost his world titles once – in that first professional defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019 – and now he has done it again. This time he came unstuck against the master of the sweet science that is Oleksandr Usyk. The Watford man avenged the loss to Ruiz Jr with a masterful boxing display in their rematch in Saudi Arabia in December 2019, and now he will need to do the same against Usyk. Only this time it’s different. Then AJ turned from puncher to boxer to beat Ruiz, this time he will likely have to show more aggression to turn the tables on the Ukrainian. Trying to play chess with the grand master went horribly wrong in their first meeting, and Joshua must change tack for the rematch.
Next Fight: Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk 2 (spring 2022)
4 Deontay Wilder (42-2-1)
Wilder lost for a second time to Fury on October 9, but as with many of the greatest fights in heavyweight history, the loser left with his reputation enhanced. All the excuses from that second fight in February 2020 were forgotten as Deontay showed amazing heart and courage to somehow hang with Fury for 11 brutal rounds at T-Mobile Arena. He came very close to gaining the redemption he so craved when he had the Brit down twice – as he had done in their first meeting in 2018. Coming in a career-heaviest 238lbs may not have been the smartest move – while it added power it also appeared to leave Wilder gassed by the halfway stage. He showed real cojones though to stay upright and continue to wing away with right hands well into the penultimate session. Props to a spectacularly entertaining fighter who is still good enough to beat anybody not named Fury. There are a ton of fights we’d like to see him in now, but if he did decide to ride off into the sunset, he’d do so with his reputation fully intact.
Next Fight: tbc
5 Andy Ruiz Jr (34-2)
Maintains his position at #4 after returning from a 17-month hiatus with a unanimous decision over Chris Arreola in Carson, California. Andy was down in Round 2 and hurt badly in the third before recovering to post a comfortable victory. He again showed the high motor and blurring hand speed we know he possesses. And under the tutelage of Eddy Reynoso, he also appears to have found discipline – coming in 27lbs lighter than he did for the rematch with Anthony Joshua in 2019. The way Arreola was able to get to him – particularly early – showed he must beware getting drawn into brawls. Some enticing options for what comes next – Luis Ortiz might be the favourite though we love potential matchups with Dillian Whyte and the aforementioned Wilder.
Next Fight: tbc
6 Dillian Whyte (28-2)
Dillian Whyte’s world was turned upside down on August 22, 2020 when he was stopped by a brutal left uppercut from Alexander Povetkin. That destroyed Whyte’s hopes of a WBC title shot as his long wait as mandatory was destroyed at the final hurdle. All is well again with ‘The Body Snatcher’ now though after he gained revenge over Povetkin in their March 27 rematch on Gibraltar. Dillian came out with bad intentions and dominated a struggling Povetkin from the word go. He was aggressive throughout and closed the show in terrific style in the fourth with an impressive stoppage. Was all set to cement his position as WBC mandatory challenger in a huge London clash with Otto Wallin on October 30, but has now been forced to pull out with a shoulder injury.
Next Fight: tbc
7 Joseph Parker (29-2)
Parker was favoured to defeat Dereck Chisora in their recent pay-per-view matchup, but he didn’t do enough to advance his ranking in this list. The margin of victory was wafer-thin – a split decision with the deciding card reading 115-113. And Parker had to recover from a very shaky start highlighted by suffering a knockdown just seven seconds into the bout. The way Parker – with Andy Lee heading up his corner for the first time – recovered to dominate later on was commendable. But he still has us unconvinced yet that he can really threaten the top four or five men on this elite list. Now Parker and Chisora will do it again just before Christmas in Manchester.
Next Fight: Joseph Parker vs Dereck Chisora 2 (December 18)
8 Michael Hunter (20-1-1)
Very few top heavyweights want a piece of ‘The Bounty’ – he couldn’t even get a bite when he offered to fight Dillian Whyte for free recently. Instead the Californian’s latest outing was a much less taxing assignment against a 38-year-old career cruiserweight in Mike Wilson. Hunter did was expected, dominating throughout en route to a highlight-reel fourth-round knockout, and knocked off any rust caused by having just one fight in 19 months. Much bigger and stiffer tests – we hope – are coming up next.
Next Fight: tbc
9 Joe Joyce (13-0)
‘The Juggernaut’ is now a fixture in the top 10 after his latest victory came via an impressive stoppage of French warhorse Carlos Takam in July. That was another step in the right direction for Joyce, who had earlier handed the much-heralded Daniel Dubois his first professional defeat in their eagerly-awaited showdown last November. The 35-year-old made his experience count by executing a plan to perfection against the 23-year-old Dubois (now 15-1). Joe used a stiff left lead to produce swelling around Dubois’ left eye from an early stage. By Round 10 the eye was closed and Daniel took a knee to be counted out. Joyce will be a match for most elite heavyweights, he has a granite chin and a relentless style – he just keeps on coming whatever you throw at him.
Next Fight: tbc
10 Filip Hrgovic (13-0)
Like Joyce, an exciting and unbeaten prospect, and one we can see going a long way. Hrgovic easily disposed of the hitherto unbeaten Marko Radonjic in his most recent outing in early September, and has heavy hands and a mean streak all big men need. Nobody it appears fancies locking horns with Hrgovic right now – mooted match-ups with both Michael Hunter and Joseph Parker never happened earlier this year. He yearns for a step up in class but who wants a piece of him?
Next fight: tbc
Honourable Mentions: The stacked Fury vs Wilder 3 undercard in Las Vegas had a ton of fascinating heavyweight storylines to get fight fans excited.
The chief support saw ‘Cuban Flash’ Frank Sanchez (now 19-0) comfortably outpoint Nigerian star Efe Ajagba in a 10-rounder at T-Mobile Arena. Sanchez was technically superb in a fight which perhaps didn’t excite the fans in the arena, but made the purists purr. Ajagba was so befuddled by the smart movement and slick counter-punching from Sanchez, he appeared unable to pull the trigger. Props to Frank for an impressive performance.
Another impressive performer on the Fury vs Wilder 3 undercard was Robert Helenius, who showed his 2020 upset of Adam Kownacki was no fluke as he repeated the performance. Helenius (31-3) put himself right back in the elite heavyweight picture with a sixth-round stoppage victory. For Kownacki (now 20-2) meanwhile, the road back to the top appears to be a long one.
Last but not least on the Fury vs Wilder 3 show, the unbeaten Jared ‘Big Baby’ Anderson showed that he will soon be pushing for a step up in class as he overwhelmed the overmatched Vladimir Tereshkin inside two rounds. The Top Rank prospect has an enticing mix of speed and power, and looks booked for big things.
Another Fury is pushing for inclusion in the top heavyweights around in the shape of the 27-year-old Hughie Fury. Tyson’s cousin improved to 26-3 with a comfortable stoppage of Christian Hammer in Newcastle on October 16.
Exciting British prospect Daniel Dubois has silenced plenty of doubters in coming back strong from that devastating first pro defeat at the hands of Joyce last year. He crushed Bogdan Dinu and Joe Cusumano over the summer to show that he will come again, and we expect him to be pushing for the top 10 in 2022.
NB: Rankings updated on October 18, 2021.