It’s been (arguably) 20 years since the heavyweight division was worth talking about. The Evander Holyfield vs Mike Tyson showdown (Nov. 1996) seems like forever ago, but finally, this division is something to be excited about again. There are American champions, Worldwide appeal, and British interest all back within this division for the first time in a long time.
We see the likes of outspoken Deontay Wilder traveling to Russia and taking on his “Black Rocky” persona when facing Alexander Povetkin to defend his WBC title. Lucas Browne of Australia is the WBA title holder, and loud-mouth Tyson Fury of the United Kingdom is stirring up drama as he looks to face Klitschko for the 2nd time after beating him for all of his belts back in November of 2015.
Not to be overlooked, we even have the older 37 year old WBA interim champion Luis “King Kong” Ortiz rising in the ranks with his impressive knockout power. Ortiz sits at 25-0 (22 KO’s) and deserves the attention of the top heavyweights as he looks to collect the belts. We are also witnessing the rise of the young 26 year old, hard hitting, KO artist Anthony Joshua who is adding steam to this already surging division. Joshua, who just defeated Charles Martin at the O2 Arena in London is looking to clean up the division and become the best heavyweight in the world.
Joshua is now focused on Tyson Fury who he wants to fight within the next 12 months before taking on Wilder to be the unified champion all by the end of 2017. However, Joshua knows he has to set up some top names for defenses this summer which already includes names like Bryant Jennings, Malik Scott, and Bermane Stiverne.
The current top 10 according to boxrec.com is:
1. Tyson Fury (25-0)
2. Wladimir Klitschko (64-4)
3. Alexander Povetkin (30-1)
4. Deontay Wilder (36-0)
5. Kubrat Pulev (22-1)
6. Luis Ortiz (25-0)
7. Anthony Joshua (16-0)
8. Lucas Browne (24-0)
9. Malik Scott (38-2-1)
10. Erkan Teper (15-0)
With these current rankings, we will see #3 Povetkin vs #4 Wilder in May and #1 Fury vs #2 Klitschko in July. These bracket like match ups are what the fans want to see, and the heavyweight division is producing them. With the rise of Joshua, he is looking at a defense before his potential Fury match up against a top 10 fighter which will only continue to rise his stock.
Assuming Fury and Wilder defend their belts, and Joshua makes a successful first defense vs a top 10 opponent; we could see the heavyweight division back on top being the most talked about division in the sport once again. A Fury-Wilder match up will be the most talked about, but the Fury-Joshua fight could end up happening before that showdown.
The state of the heavyweight division has never been better in the last two decades, and with this summer providing some notable fights, we are in for a long, yet fun, return of the most talked about division in boxing.
Who do you guys want to see fight next? What is your thoughts on the division? And who is your pick for the best heavyweight fighter and why?