Heavyweight rankings: Top 10 ahead of Joshua vs Ngannou and Fury vs Usyk

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 massive ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in Saudi Arabia.

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 (34-0-1)

Fury is no longer alone at the top of the heavyweight mountain. The WBC, and lineal world heavyweight champion struggled in his ‘crossover’ fight against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in Riyadh. ‘The Gypsy King’ showed all his trademark resilience to get up from a third-round knockdown and eke out a controversial split-decision victory over a man who had never boxed before. This was a far cry from the utterly dominant performances in 2022 which had seen Fury destroy both Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora. Next up, at last, is that eagerly-awaited unification match against Oleksandr Usyk – though we will have to wait for that after the planned February 17 date was scuppered when Fury sustained a ‘freak cut’ in sparring. It’s now rescheduled for May.

Next Fight: Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk (May 18, 2024)

1=Oleksandr Usyk (21-0)

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 was also 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. Usyk returned in 2023 to stop Daniel Dubois in nine rounds and now the path is clear to that showdown with Fury. 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.

Next Fight: Usyk vs Tyson Fury (May 18, 2024)

3 Anthony Joshua (27-3)

What is not to like about AJ’s 2023? Three fights, three wins and job done in terms of rebuilding his reputation after those back-to-back losses to Usyk in 2021 and 2022. The points win over Jermaine Franklin wasn’t super impressive, and there were flaws in the knockout win over late stand-in Robert Helenius. But against the dangerous Otto Wallin in Saudi, Joshua was sharp, crisp and ruthless in forcing the Swede to be retired by his corner after five one-sided rounds. Next was supposed to be that March 9 superfight vs Deontay Wilder, but that dream died with Wilder’s shock loss to Joseph Parker. Instead, Joshua moves on to a showdown with former UFC star Francis Ngannou in March.

Next Fight: Joshua vs Francis Ngannou (March 8, 2024)

4 Joseph Parker (34-3)

Parker absolutely deserves his lofty position after a terrific performance to completely befuddle Deontay Wilder in their showdown in Riyadh. Joseph boxed smartly and landed the bigger shots in a punch-perfect performance, masterminded by the excellent Andy Lee. That bruising defeat by Joe Joyce last year looked like it might signal the end for Parker at the very top level, not so. Since then he has won four times, with the Wilder success the best of his career so far. On this evidence, another world title shot is on the cards – sooner rather than later.

Next Fight: Parker vs Zhilei Zhang (March 8, 2024)

5 Deontay Wilder (43-3-1)

The worst thing you can say about Deontay’s performance in the loss to Parker was that he looked like a 38-year-old fighter who had been out of the ring for 14 months. He was extremely disappointing and it looked like he just couldn’t pull the trigger any more. He was strangely becalmed for the first half of the fight, and it was swings and misses when he finally woke up to the fact he was likely well behind on the cards. That loss would appear to wreck plans for that Joshua superfight in March. There are bigger questions for Deontay right now – notably does he want to do this any more?

Next Fight: tbc

6 Zhilei Zhang (26-1-1)

The Chinese giant is, unquestionably, now for real. A couple of years ago we would have laughed at the notion of ‘Big Bang’ appearing this high on any heavyweight rankings list. But now he deserves his place after terrific performances in the last 15 months. First he lost a questionable decision to the much-feared Croat Filip Hrgovic on the AJ vs Usyk 2 undercard in Saudi Arabia. But then he was absolutely terrific in back-to-back victories over another much-avoided heavyweight, Britain’s Joe Joyce. Both times Zhang was dominant as he not only handled everything ‘The Juggernaut’ could throw at him, he was also a potent offensive force. A bout with Joshua has long been talked about, and maybe we get that next after AJ’s Wilder plans fell apart?

Next Fight: Zhang vs Joseph Parker (March 8, 2024)

7 Filip Hrgovic (17-0)

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. So for now ‘El Animal’ is marking time in ‘stay busy’ fights until he gets the title shot he unquestionably deserves. The latest outing was against the massively overmatched Mark De Mori on that ‘Day of Reckoning’ card, and it lasted about as long as we expected. Hrgovic again showcased those heavy hands to blast out De Mori inside a round. Next up hopefully will be a prime slot on the Joshua vs Ngannou undercard with SIX potential opponents mooted – Daniel Dubois; Jarrell Miller; Agit Kabayel; Frank Sanchez; Martin Bakole and Jared Anderson.

Next Fight: Hrgovic vs tbc (March 8, 2024)

8 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. It is not long since Ruiz was in our top 5 on this list, but inactivity is hurting him and he needs to fight again soon. Maybe a trilogy fight with AJ in March?

Next Fight: tbc

9 Frank Sanchez (24-0)

‘The Cuban Flash’ is an impressive talent, but we are desperate to see him thrown in against somebody who can tell us just how good he is. Sanchez is a terrific technical fighter and so far has handled easily everything put in front of him. Three comfortable wins in 2023 have padded his record – the latest a seventh-round stoppage of Junior Fa in Riyadh – but at some stage soon he needs to go in against a top-10 fighter. An easy decision against Efe Ajagba in October 2021 gave a glimpse of what might be possible, but we need to see more.

Next Fight: tbc

10 Agit Kabayel (24-0)

The European champion cracked our top 10 with a highly impressive demolition job to burst the giant bubble of Arslanbek Makhmudov on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in Saudi. Beforehand the fear was that Kabayel would be too small and easy meat for the huge Russian, but not a bit of it. Instead he boxed his way smartly into the fight before absolutey battering Makhmudov, first with head shots and then a body attack which culminated in a fourth-round stoppage. His power was surprising and things are definitely looking up for the German star.

Next Fight: tbc