As the first month of the new year draws to a conclusion, the heavyweight landscape has already seen some tangible shifts.
I thought it would be an apt time accordingly to take a stab (well, my attempt at least) at putting together a list on the current top 10 big men in boxing, on the world stage.
This division has seen more press, changes and activity in general over recent months than it has in arguably the last decade. Where the heavyweight division goes this year and beyond is a mystery (in a positive way I feel).
But for the meantime (as of 27/01/16), here’s my top 10 world heavyweights – expect a lot of chopping and changing on the below this year:
10. Joseph Parker (18-0-16KO)
A tremendous young contender from New Zealand who continues to go from strength to strength and in my opinion, just gets into the top ten heavyweights in the world at the moment.
With a solid TKO win to start of his campaign in January 2016 in Samoa, he’ll probably look to fight more international competition in Europe and the US later in the year, where we’ll really be able to see how he stacks up with the competition.
A really exciting talent to look forward to this year though.
9. Anthony Joshua (15-0-15KO)
Perhaps a controversial inclusion in the top 10 list for some, but his win over domestic rival Dillian Whyte answered the questions for me surrounding his chin.
Of course, he’s already ranked number 2 in the world with the WBO and WBC and has now had the news that he will fight in an eliminator for the IBF title (recently stripped from Tyson Fury) later in 2016, but realistically, he still has a lot of developing and questions to answer (stamina, defense, etc) before warranting those rankings in my opinion.
An outstanding prospect, who could (potentially) bring the heavyweight division back to its glory days, if he turns out to be as good as most boxing fans are hoping for him to be.
8. Charles Martin (23-0-1-21KO)
(IBF champion Martin’s recent opinion on Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder via ESNews)
A southpaw American who has burst onto the scene with his recent win of the IBF heavyweight title in January 2015 against Vyacheslav Glazkov at the Barclays Center in New York.
Perhaps not too well known to the casual fight fan, he’s nonetheless a man who is now in the mix in lists like this as the new IBF heavyweight champion, despite the fact the title was stripped from Tyson Fury (rather unceremoniously) not long after he won it in late 2015.
The hard punching 29 year old has been very impressive in his career thus far, with notable blowout win (1st round TKO) over Tom Dallas at Madison Square Garden last year, before his three round annihilation of Glazkov to win the IBF belt earlier this month.
7. Kubrat Pulev (22-1-12KO)
Since the sole loss of his pro career to Wladimir Klitschko, he’s come back with two wins in Germany and looks to be taking training as serious as ever again, coming in considerably lighter in his last two fights than he did in a number of bouts over recent years, and indeed his career overall.
I’ve always been a fan of the Bulgarian’s technical boxing proficiency and if he keeps focused on his training like he has been recently, I don’t see any logical reason why he can’t get another crack at a version of the heavyweight title before the end of the year.
Certainly not a man to discount from the heavyweight mix in 2016.
6. David Haye (27-2-25KO)
Perhaps controversially high on the list for some considering he only just made a comeback to the heavyweight scene after a three and half year hiatus, and against very limited opposition, however under new trainer Shane McGuigan and the talent that even a 35 year old David Haye still has, I think he has enough about him to beat an awful lot of heavyweights out there at the moment.
With news of his next fight coming in May 2016 already, he’ll need a stiff upgrade in competition from previous opponent Mark de Mori to establish a realistic barometer of how much he has left in the tank, but for my buck, a trainer as diligent as McGuigan wouldn’t have taken on the job with Haye unless he thought he could get him to the top.
Love him or hate him, it’s good to have him back in the heavyweight mix.
5. Luis Ortiz (24-0-21KO)
(Ortiz’s recent 7th round destruction over Bryant Jennings via HBO Boxing)
A relatively new addition to the top tier world heavyweight scene, but a highly skilled one. So much so that he’s (sadly) already starting to find it difficult to land big fights.
Hopefully this doesn’t turn out to be a heavyweight type situation of the difficulty that fellow country man Guillermo Rigondeaux has experienced in recent years, in terms of finding it hard to catch a break with getting fights.
This 36 year old undefeated Cuban southpaw maestro proved his world level worth against Bryant Jennings recently, and with a decent punch to boot, could make a run at some of the champions this year.
4. Alexander Povetkin (31-1-22KO)
Despite losing to Wladimir Klitschko (in a foul filled win by Wlad I might add) this talented and hardened Russian sweet science practitioner still commands huge respect in world boxing.
Since defeat to Klitschko back in 2013, he has rattled off four stellar stoppage victories over credible opposition in Mariusz Wach, Mike Perez, Carlos Takam and Manuel Charr.
He has a massive opportunity coming up against the next man on this list in 2016, when he should have a tilt at champion Deontay Wilder via a mandated contest by the WBC.
3. Deontay Wilder (36-0-35KO)
He comes in for a fair bit of flack online for not fighting tough competition in the heavyweight division, however in my view, he’s done what he’s had to do in his career at this point, and that’s all anyone can ask.
He’s amassed an incredible KO ratio on route too, and in particular in the Bermane Stiverne fight, showed to me he could box (used a nice jab that night), take a punch and go the distance when needed.
He now looks like he will definitely have to face his mandatory contender Alexander Povetkin in 2016 and this will get rid of a lot of questions from some skeptics that still exist, should he emerge victorious.
2. Wladimir Klitschko (64-4-53KO)
Despite losing his multiple heavyweight crowns not long ago to Manchester’s Tyson Fury, I’d still have to put Wlad in at number two both for his previous extensive tenure as champion, and the fact that he’s gone after the Fury rematch straight away in 2016.
It shows to me his belief in himself that he can still beat Fury and become the best in the world. I personally think Fury wins the rematch more convincingly this time however, but time will tell what sort of Wlad will turn up in the rematch.
1. Tyson Fury (25-0-18KO)
The undisputed best heavyweight in the world at the moment for me, no matter what anyone says. He’s the “man who beat the man” as they say, with his recent triumph over Wladimir Klitschko – on away soil in Germany too.
His technical boxing acumen have long been underestimated by many, but in my opinion, he outboxes in heavyweight in the world at the moment.
A highly skilled big man who can fight comfortably on both the inside and outside, with a fighting heart as big as his personality.
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