The heavyweight division is often referred to as the Blue Riband weight class of the boxing world, but it has left a bit to be desired at times recently.
However, some big fights appear to be on the horizon in the coming year, and it’s the perfect opportunity for many of the heavyweights to prove their class and show the world they are still the cream of the crop.
With a lot happening that could entirely change the dynamics of the division, we’ve ranked who we think are the top five heavyweights right now.
1. Oleksandr Usyk
A controversial one to begin with, many are probably still of the belief that Tyson Fury is the No.1-ranked heavyweight. However, after his performance against Francis Ngannou, we have gone with Oleksandr Usyk.
The Ukrainian very quickly made his way up the heavyweight standings after making the step up from cruiserweight, and he made a name for himself when he dominated Anthony Joshua in their first bout at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
He was less convincing in their second clash at King Abdullah Sports City when winning by a split decision, while he was arguably fortunate against Daniel Dubois in August.
But, he’s the unified heavyweight champion, and therefore number one for us.
2. Tyson Fury
While Fury is the WBC heavyweight champion, and went unbeaten in 2022 with wins over fellow Brits Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora, he comes in at second on our list.
Two wins over ‘AJ’ and a victory over Dubois arguably outweigh Fury’s recent achievements, and a fight against former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou instead of facing the likes of Joshua or Usyk was also lacklustre for boxing fans.
It has been confirmed that the Gypsy King will finally trade blows with Usyk, with the 35-year-old even stating he would like the fight to take place for Christmas. Fury is the favourite if you’re looking for a bet on boxing, and he will return to number one with a win.
3. Anthony Joshua
Another somewhat controversial decision, with a lot of pundits and fans alike of the opinion that the man we’ve ranked in fourth is currently above him, we’ve put Joshua at third.
There’s no doubt that AJ’s career took a massive hit following those two defeats to Usyk, with some even questioning his status as a true great. But he’s been rebuilding with successive wins over Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius earlier this year.
Whether or not Joshua will ever get his hands back on a heavyweight title remains up for debate. However, he can prove himself as a top player in the division with a win over Wilder should that much-anticipated fight be made.
4. Deontay Wilder
Wilder is also on something of a rebuilding process following his thrilling trilogy with Tyson Fury, drawing with the Gypsy King on their first meeting in Los Angeles before suffering back-to-back defeats to the Briton in Vegas.
It took The Bronze Bomber 12 months to return to the ring after the third Fury encounter. But he returned with a bang last October, knocking out Helenius early in the first round of their title eliminator at the Barclays Center in New York.
He hasn’t been seen since though, and a potential fight with Joshua might not take place until 2024 — possibly leaving the 38-year-old out of action for 18 months.
— possibly leaving the 38-year-old out of action for 18 months.
5. Zhilei Zhang
Zhilei Zhang pips Joshua’s old foe Andy Ruiz Jr. to the fifth spot.
The American has fought merely twice since his 2019 defeat to AJ, and neither of those unanimous decision wins over Chris Arreola or Luis Ortiz were entirely convincing. Therefore, we believe veteran Zhang has passed him into fifth.
The 40-year-old had a controversial decision go against him for the first defeat of his career against Filip Hrgovic in August 2022, but he’s bounced back with two commanding knockout victories over Joe Joyce.