Heavyweight rankings: Wilder still has it, Sanchez verdict

Boxing’s marquee division is booming right now, and our heavyweights rankings are designed to help you navigate a complicated landscape.

Our fully updated rankings give you an idea of how the division currently shapes up as we head deeper into the boxing year.

The latest update comes on the back of that huge show in Brooklyn in mid-October, which saw Deontay Wilder KO Robert Helenius and Frank Sanchez stop Carlos Negron.

Heavyweights 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:

1 Tyson Fury (32-0-1)

The WBC, and lineal world heavyweight champion, Fury thoroughly deserves his position atop the mountain right now following another epic performance in that UK homecoming vs Dillian Whyte on April 23, 2022. In front of more than 94,000 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium, Fury was peerless as he first befuddled and then battered ‘The Body Snatcher’. Whyte appeared to be gassed three rounds in as ‘The Gypsy King’ boxed smartly – Dillian just could not get close enough to pull the trigger. The coup de grace was a beauty when it came – a picture-perfect uppercut at the end of the sixth round. Next up we were sort of hoping that Fury might finally lock horns with Anthony Joshua, but their planned showdown on December 3 appears to have hit the rocks (again). Now Fury will meet Dereck Chisora in a trilogy fight instead.

Next Fight: Fury vs Dereck Chisora 3 (December 3, 2022)

2 Oleksandr Usyk (20-0)

Usyk proved his unquestionable greatness by overcoming Anthony Joshua for a second time to successfully defend his IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles. He has since been crowned Ring champion too after Fury vacated that title. Usyk was quite brilliant as he recovered from deep waters in Round 9 of an evenly poised fight to finish strong and pull out a split decision victory. Eleven months earlier Usyk had been a far more convincing winner over Joshua in their first meeting in London, but this was a very much improved AJ he was facing in Jeddah. The former cruiserweight king has a stated dream of unifying the belts at both cruiser and heavy, and he is now just one step away from that amazing achievement. Only Tyson Fury stands in his way, and hopefully we might get that fight in early 2023. Assuming of course that Fury comes through his next test in December.

Next Fight: tbc

3 Deontay Wilder (43-2-1)

Wilder lost for a second time to Fury back in 2021, 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. After a year out following that loss, Wilder returned on October 15, 2022 in a WBC eliminator vs Robert Helenius in Brooklyn. He showed – even at a much lighter 214lbs – that he retains dynamite power with a first-round KO courtesy of a devastating short right-hand counter. Next up logically should be Andy Ruiz Jr in a WBC final eliminator, but we’d love to see Deontay face Joshua, Usyk and Joyce at some stage soon.

Next Fight: tbc

4 Anthony Joshua (24-3)

Joshua’s elite heavyweight career stands at the crossroads after he suffered his third defeat in just five fights – an agonising split decision loss to Oleksandr Usyk in their rematch in Saudi Arabia in August 2022. AJ had lost a more clear-cut decision to the Ukrainian maestro in their first meeting in London in September 2021. Now Joshua – who was fighting for the first time under the tutelage of new trainer Robert Garcia – must start to build back to another title shot after a planned December 3 showdown with fellow Brit Tyson Fury fell through after a deal in its broadest terms had been agreed.

Next Fight: tbc

5 Joe Joyce (15-0)

‘The Juggernaut’ moves into our top 5 for the first time after a career-best performance to break down and blast out Joseph Parker in Manchester in September. Joyce did what he always does, systematically breaking down his opponent before closing the show. All the while just eating whatever the other man can throw at him. Joyce is a terrifying prospect for any top heavy with that granite chin, it appears impossible to even put a dent in him. His size (271lbs vs Parker) means his shots, while hardly a thing of beauty, carry brutal power too. It’s a horrible problem for any opponent to try and solve. For now Joyce is at #5 below Joshua, but we would not be betting AJ to beat him. In our view it’s a fight Joyce wins. The Parker win cemented Joyce as mandatory challenger for the WBO heavyweight title held by Usyk. He is now in position for that long-awaited world title shot.

Next Fight: tbc

6 Andy Ruiz Jr (35-2)

Ruiz Jr is again on the brink of a world title shot after outpounting the ageing Luis Ortiz in a WBC title eliminator in Los Angeles in early September. The former IBF, WBA and WBO champion was not exactly super-impressive in that win and it was knockdowns which really decided the fight, not the overall 12 rounds. We worried beforehand that Ortiz was losing his punch resistance as he headed deeper into his 40s and it was a crucial factor. Next up Ruiz should face Deontay Wilder in a WBC final eliminator, but nothing in boxing politics is ever guaranteed.

Next Fight: tbc

7 Joseph Parker (30-3)

Former WBO heavyweight champion Parker stands at the crossroads after being knocked out by Joe Joyce in their battle for the WBO interim title in Manchester in September. Parker did not box badly at all and landed some huge shots on Joyce – the problem is they did not even put a dent in the terrifying ‘Juggernaut’. In hindsight, coming in at a career-heaviest weight of 255lbs might not have been the smartest move for Joe. He was effectively blunting some of his own speed and fighting Joyce at his own game, a game nobody else can apparently win. He was far from disgraced though, and retains his position in the top 10.

Next Fight: tbc

8 Filip Hrgovic (15-0)

Unbeaten Croat Hrgovic is one of the most avoided heavyweights around – a ton of them passed up the opportunity to face him in a final eliminator for the IBF belt currently held by Usyk. It was Chinese giant Zhilei Zhang who finally accepted the challenge and the pair clashed on the Usyk vs Joshua 2 undercard in Saudi Arabia in August 2022. Hrgovic was not at his best on the night, but duly came through to win a decision to stamp his position as next in line once Usyk has likely taken up that massive unification shot vs Tyson Fury.

Next Fight: tbc

9 Dillian Whyte (28-3)

Whyte tumbled out of the top 5 after that hugely disappointing defeat vs Fury in his long-awaited world title shot in April 2022. Dillian – 6lbs heavier than he had been for that rematch win vs Alexander Povetkin – looked slow and ponderous when matched with the freakish athletic puzzle provided by Fury. He could not get close to ‘The Gypsy King’, could not pull the trigger and looked like a club fighter at times. Whyte looked gassed after three rounds and by the sixth he was ready to go, cue that perfect uppercut from Fury. Such was the level of Whyte’s performance, it’s difficult to see a way back to the summit right now. That may have been his one and only chance.

Next Fight: tbc

10 Frank Sanchez (21-0)

‘The Cuban Flash’ remained unbeaten by stopping former Olympian Carlos Negron in Round 9 of their showdown on the Wilder vs Helenius undercard in Brooklyn. Frank may not be the most exciting fighter to watch, but he has the speed and technical skills to give a lot of top heavyweights fits. Now logically he should be moving up towards elite company, and we await his next challenge with interest.

Next Fight: tbc

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