- Boxing has a bustling heavyweight division and two of its marquee attractions, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, contest a high-profile rematch in Las Vegas on Saturday.
- Wilder, Fury, and 10 other heavyweights have been ranked by Business Insider ahead of the MGM Grand Garden Arena showdown.
- Joining America’s heavy-hitting fighter and Britain’s unpredictable boxer in this list are Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte, and Andy Ruiz Jr., who have all had good wins of late.
- Then there are rising stars Michael Hunter, Oleksandr Usyk, and Adam Kownacki.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
12: Luis Ortiz — Cuba.
Record: 31 wins (26 KOs) against 2 losses (2 KOs).
Biggest wins: Bryant Jennings, Tony Thompson, and Malik Scott.
At 40, Luis Ortiz’s better days may be behind him, but he showed in his most recent bout, a 2019 knockout loss to Deontay Wilder, that he can still compete at a high level.
Ortiz was doing everything right in that fight, winning every minute of every round until bang, he was knocked out by Wilder’s right hand.
11: Kubrat Pulev — Bulgaria.
Record: 28 wins (14 KOs) against 1 loss (1 KO).
Biggest wins: Alexander Dimitrenko and Tony Thompson.
Kubrat Pulev’s only loss was a resounding defeat to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014.
Since then, he has gotten himself into a mandatory challenger situation, and will likely fight for Anthony Joshua’s world titles in the summer.
10: Oleksandr Usyk — Ukraine.
Record: 17 wins (13 KOs), unbeaten.
Biggest wins: Mairis Briedis, Murat Gassiev, and Tony Bellew.
The way Oleksandr Usyk cleared out the cruiserweight division was truly a sight to behold.
The 33-year-old left the 200-pound weight class in 2018, but has fought only once since then, an uninspiring win over Chazz Witherspoon at heavyweight in 2019.
It is unclear when he will fight again, but if he is to climb this ranking he will need to take on other ranked fighters, and win.
9: Joseph Parker — New Zealand.
Record: 26 wins (20 KOs) against 2 losses.
Biggest wins: Carlos Takam, Alexander Dimitrenko, and Andy Ruiz Jr.
Joseph Parker’s reputation as a world champion was so dangerous that, in 2018, when he fought Anthony Joshua, he made the Brit box differently — cautiously — in their unification fight.
Though Parker lost by decision, he failed to win in his return, losing for a second time in a row against Dillian Whyte later that year.
The 28-year-old has since claimed easy wins as he looks to rebuild his name value.
8: Adam Kownacki — US.
Record: 20 wins (15 KOs), unbeaten.
Biggest wins: Charles Martin, Gerald Washington, and Chris Arreola.
Volume-punching big man Adam Kownacki is a fast-rising heavyweight who has been making the Barclays Center in New York his home.
Kownacki has fought at the Barclays Center since 2015, attracting attention for his activity in the ring and knockout-winning ability.
His last three wins, Martin, Washington, and Arreola, show he is going name-hunting, and he is looking to add another scalp when he takes on Robert Helenius in Brooklyn in March.
7: Michael Hunter — US.
Record: 18 wins (12 KOs) against 1 loss and 1 draw.
Best performance: The disputed draw with Alexander Povetkin.
After a cruiserweight campaign in which his only loss was to the eventual undisputed champion of the division, Oleksandr Usyk, Hunter moved to heavyweight in 2018 and steadily tallied his wins.
A decision win over Sergey Kuzmin in September, 2019, led to a match against Alexander Povetkin three months later and Hunter was faced with the biggest test of his career since the Usyk loss.
Though Hunter and Povetkin fought to a draw, the nature of the American’s performance — outlanding the Russian — showed he could compete with the top names at heavyweight.
6: Alexander Povetkin — Russia.
Record: 35 wins (24 KOs) against 2 losses (1 KO) and 1 draw.
Biggest wins: Ruslan Chagaev, Marco Huck, and Carlos Takam.
A former 2004 Olympic gold medallist, Povetkin has been boxing professionally for 15 years. He’s fought a who’s who of challengers and champions, losing only to Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua.
At 40, his best days are behind him but he can still provide a rugged examination of his younger rivals, as he scored a draw against Michael Hunter on the undercard for the Ruiz Jr. vs. Joshua rematch in Saudi Arabia in December, 2019.
5: Andy Ruiz Jr. — Mexico.
Record: 33 wins (22 KOs) against 2 losses.
Biggest win: Anthony Joshua.
Andy Ruiz Jr. was brought in as a late replacement after Anthony Joshua’s original opponent, Jarrell Miller, was found to have a cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs in his system as he failed three separate drug tests in April, 2019.
Nobody expected Ruiz Jr. to win in June. But he shook up the world with a beatdown so convincing that it is still regarded as the greatest upset the heavyweight division has seen since Buster Douglas stopped Mike Tyson at the Tokyo Dome in 1990.
Though Ruiz Jr. failed to repeat that feat in the rematch, weighing even heavier for the rematch in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, the Mexican has enough name value to warrant high-profile fights.
Win those, and he could climb this ranking and challenge for a world title again.
4: Dillian Whyte — UK.
Record: 27 wins (18 KOs) against 1 loss (1 KO).
Biggest wins: Dereck Chisora, Joseph Parker, and Oscar Rivas.
Five years ago, two unbeaten British heavyweight headlined London’s 02 Arena. In a lively battle, Anthony Joshua bettered Dillian Whyte, knocking him out in the seventh round.
It remains the only blemish on Whyte’s record, and he has since picked up good wins over many fighters in or close to the top 10.
Whyte has been the WBC interim heavyweight champion since 2019, and has had a favorable ranking with the WBC for years. He’s just not been able to force a mandatory challenge to the outright champion, Deontay Wilder.
With Wilder tied up with the Fury rivalry, which could warrant a third fight as has been contracted, Whyte may not get his title shot until 2021.
3: Anthony Joshua — UK.
Record: 23 wins (21 KOs) against 1 loss (1 KO).
Biggest wins: Dillian Whyte, Charles Martin, Wladimir Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Andy Ruiz Jr.
Anthony Joshua was humiliatingly beaten in New York last summer.
There is no other way to describe it. It was his American debut and those who attended Madison Square Garden, together with people who had tuned into the TV, were expecting to see a bulldozing Brit conquer America.
He was supposed to be to boxing what Roger Federer is to tennis.
But he failed. A late replacement opponent Andy Ruiz Jr., who had his weight ridiculed pre-fight, knocked Joshua down four times. It wasn’t a lucky punch. It wasn’t a fluke knockout. It was a resounding, one-sided, beatdown.
But Joshua did something extraordinary in the months after. He refocused, called an immediate rematch, and won — easily. That is the mark of a true fighter and a real champion.
World titles: WBA, WBO, and IBF championships.
2: Tyson Fury — UK.
Record: 29 wins (20 KOs) against 1 draw, unbeaten.
Best performances: The Wladimir Klitschko win and the disputed Deontay Wilder draw.
The tall tale-telling of Tyson Fury has sent media around the world into overdrive.
He masturbates seven times a day, dips his fists into petrol to increase his punching power, and, after he beats Wilder in Las Vegas on Saturday, he’ll binge cocaine and prostitutes …
… so he says.
But look beyond Fury the raconteur and you’ll see Fury the magician — one who has his opponents spell-bound by his box-and-move tricks.
Fury, despite his 6-foot-9 size, has footwork that is more befitting to a sharp-shooting middleweight. And he is rarely, if ever, outboxed.
The way he bamboozled Klitschko in Germany in 2015 is, by far, the greatest win any fighter on this ranking has ever secured.
1: Deontay Wilder — US.
Record: 42 wins (41 KOs) against 1 draw, unbeaten.
Biggest wins: Dominic Breazeale and Luis Ortiz (twice).
Wilder, right now, is the best heavyweight on the planet.
He takes extraordinary knockout-winning form into the high-stakes rematch at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, having scored a ‘KO of the Year’ contender against Breazeale, before thumping Ortiz for good measure in 2019.
There will be criticism regarding his No.1 spot. His resume, particularly when compared to Joshua, is thin. But Wilder remains unbeaten, has rarely been troubled, and has put everyone he has ever faced on their back.
Now, if he adds Fury to his ever-growing list of “Bomb Squad” victims, there will be no question as to his status.
World title: WBC championship.