Boxing is one of the most popular sports on the planet and the heavyweight division attracts plenty of attention. With so much hype surrounding these fights, boxing betting odds can be found months in advance but the heavyweight division isn’t always easy to predict.
In June 2019, Andy Ruiz Jr shocked the boxing universe as he defeated world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua on his United States debut. The Madison Square Garden crowd in attendance were left in shock – it was the biggest heavyweight moment in 30 years.
With so many elite fighters in the heavyweight division, a surprise victory can occur at any moment. Without further ado, we take a look back at some of heavyweight boxing’s biggest and most memorable shock results…
Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman (1974)
Muhammad Ali was incredibly popular during his hey day but many believed that the then-undefeated George Foreman would come out on top in 1974. After defeating the legendary Joe Frazier, Foreman had developed a reputation as the best puncher in the division.
However, Ali defied the odds to claim a shock success. Absorbing Foreman’s powerful hits from the start, Ali hung in there and produced one of his greatest ever performances to out-tactic his opponent.
That ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ fight has gone down in history as one of heavyweight boxing’s most iconic moments. And to be fair, both fighters rank highly on most lists of the greatest ever heavyweight fighters…
Mike Tyson vs Buster Douglas (1990)
By 1990, boxing fans had started to label Mike Tyson as the most complete heavyweight boxer of all-time. So when he travelled to Tokyo for a routine defence of his three heavyweight titles, nobody batted an eyelid.
Step forward, Buster Douglas. A 42/1 shot with betting sites, Douglas was a huge underdog but he defied those hefty odds to win handsomely.
His mother tragically passed away in the build-up to the fight but Douglas kept in control of his emotions and channelled his aggression to stop Tyson in the 10th round. To this day, most believe that Tyson’s loss is the most shocking moment in heavyweight boxing history.
Lennox Lewis vs Oliver McCall (1994)
Back in 1994, Lennox Lewis was a massive draw. The most dominant heavyweight boxer of his time, Lewis was scheduled to make the fourth defence of his WBC title against the 24-5 Oliver McCall.
On paper, it looked like a straightforward title defence. However, what happened next was unbelievable. McCall caught Lewis with a ferocious right hand on the chin just 31 seconds into the second round and that was the end of the fight.
The Wembley crowd couldn’t believe their eyes and boxing fans still discuss the outcome of that fight today. Lewis went on to bigger and better things but heavyweight followers will never forget his first professional defeat.
Wladimir Klitschko vs Tyson Fury (2015)
Winning in your opponent’s backyard is never easy but that is exactly what Tyson Fury did against Wladimir Klitschko. The great Ukrainian had dominated the heavyweight division for the best part of 10 years but the balance of power shifted in November 2015.
A confident Fury kept Klitschko on the back foot throughout the fight, winning on all three of the judges’ scorecards. As a spectacle, it wasn’t the most entertaining of fights but it will go down in history as a key moment in the heavyweight division.
Arguably the best heavyweight boxer right now, Fury is the lineal heavyweight champion of the world and he is eyeing up Deontay Wilder’s WBC title.
Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr (2019)
Anthony Joshua was widely regarded as the top heavyweight boxer on the planet before his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. Heading into the bout, Joshua had a perfect 22-0 record with 21 wins by way of knockout.
However, his American debut didn’t go to plan. The British fighter went down four times in total before the referee stopped the bout, with the result sending shockwaves across the heavyweight division.
At 1/33, Joshua was expected to beat Ruiz with one hand tied behind his back. Instead, the British fighter was left to rue a miserable US debut as Ruiz became the first Mexican fighter to be crowned heavyweight champion of the world.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*