The heavyweight boxing landscape flipped on its head earlier this month after Andy Ruiz Jr’s surprise victory over the previously unbeaten Anthony Joshua. That result could go down as one of the biggest shocks in boxing history…
With so many elite fighters in the heavyweight division, picking a standout boxer is difficult but we’ve given it a go. Without further ado, here are our top five heavyweight boxers right now…
The golden boy of British boxing, Joshua was widely regarded as the best heavyweight boxer on the planet prior to his fight with Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019. However, what followed at Madison Square Garden, New York was a crushing moment for Joshua fans…
Joshua was handed the first defeat of his professional career, with Ruiz knocking him to the floor four times in the space of four rounds. The result sent shockwaves across the boxing world and Joshua will need to prove that he is mentally strong enough to bounce back.
Whether it was a case of complacency or not, Joshua’s unbeaten record is gone – and it will never return. 888sport boxing odds show Joshua at 3/10 to make amends in a rematch later this year and plenty of punters fancy the British fighter to do just that.
Let’s not write Joshua off just yet. With 22 wins and one defeat on his professional record, it would be foolish to suggest that his career is about to go downhill. His next fight is crucial though – this is the ideal chance for Joshua to prove his status as an elite boxing star.
After spending the majority of his career fighting at amateur level, Usyk decided to try his hand at professional boxing in 2013. He finished his amateur career 335 wins from 350 fights – the highlight being a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Usyk will make his heavyweight debut at some point in the near future and the rest of the division will be keeping a close eye on his progress. If he can make a smooth transition from cruiserweight to heavyweight, the likes of Fury and Wilder will be wary of his skillset.
The biggest negative surrounding Usyk’s chances of heavyweight glory is his build. Standing at 6 foot 3 and weighing approximately 14 stone, he may be found wanting at this level. He may not be able to generate the same sort of power as other heavyweight fighters…
Boxing fans are excited to see whether Usyk can make the transition. If Usyk can maintain that same agility and dominance in the heavyweight division, it will be only be a matter of time before he is involved in a world title fight.
Widely regarded as the most dangerous fighter in the sport of boxing, Wilder’s reputation is growing. The 33-year-old has a 41-0-1 professional record with 40 of those victories coming inside the scheduled distance – that’s an incredible 98% knockout rate.
Wilder has successfully defended the WBO heavyweight title on nine occasions and he will put his world title on the line once again in September. Cuban Luis Ortiz has been granted a second opportunity to face Wilder after losing to the American in March 2018.
Sometimes rash in the ring, Wilder has been accused of going too gung-ho at times and he is one of boxing’s controversial figures. As a person, he has made a handful of eyebrow-raising comments over the years but as a boxer, his record in the ring speaks for itself.
With a future rematch with Fury looking likely in 2020, Wilder will be quietly confident of confirming his status as the most dangerous heavyweight boxer on the planet. Beating Fury will not be easy but the American may take a more aggressive approach in the rematch.
Andy Ruiz Jr
Did anyone really expect Ruiz Jr to defeat Joshua? The Mexican was a massive underdog on most betting sites, with 888sport going 1/20 for Joshua to win the fight. However, Ruiz Jr dug deep to secure one of the greatest heavyweight victories ever.
Ruiz Jr acted like the utmost professional all week ahead of the bout. He was asking to hold the world title belts, requesting photographs with Joshua and conducted himself well in the press conferences. Was he trying to lure Joshua into a false sense of security? Possibly…
On fight night, Ruiz Jr looked calm and collected approaching the ring. What happened over the next seven rounds of heavyweight boxing was incredible, with Ruiz silencing his critics – and there were plenty of them. In the blink of an eye, he shot up the world rankings.
With three world heavyweight titles under his belt, Ruiz Jr has to rank as one of the top two fighters on the planet. Remember, he had just five weeks to prepare after stepping up as a late replacement for Jarrell Miller. Just imagine how good he could be with a 12-week training camp!
Still the lineal heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury is arguably the best in what is one of boxing’s deepest divisions. Fury got his career off to a flyer with a first-round knockout over Bela Gyongyosi in 2008 and he always looked destined for greatness.
He was a huge underdog ahead of his fight with the great Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 but Fury taught the Ukrainian a lesson. Awarded the win by unanimous decision, Fury was at the top of the world.
Personal issues got the better of him for some time but Fury made a comeback to the sport in June 2018 – over two and a half years after the Klitschko bout. Since then, the hunger for boxing has returned and Fury was up on most scorecards when facing Wilder in December.
However, the judges scored the bout all square and rumours of a potential rematch in 2020 are rife. Fury is priced at 4/6 in 888’s sports betting odds to silence his critics and add a loss on Wilder’s record. He sets the benchmark for success in boxing’s heavyweight division.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*