On February 7th, the former Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World, Anthony Joshua, announced his comeback to the heavyweight division.
The 33 year-old Brit once held three of the four major titles in the division, however back to back defeats against Ukrainian southpaw Oleksandr Usyk has seen his stock tumble and his titles lost. On April 1st however, ‘AJ’ will be back.
The Watford-born star will be facing unheralded American Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena in London, in the hopes of getting his career back on track…
The bout will be Joshua’s first bout in seven years which has not been contested for a World Championship, and both AJ and his promoter Eddie Hearn will be hoping that this is the beginning of the 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist’s route back to the heavyweight division’s summit.
Many were disappointed with the choice of opponent for the former heavyweight kingpin, however. Franklin is coming off the back of a decision loss to Dillian Whyte, the first defeat of his career, and is hardly seen as a major test for Joshua.
But both he and Hearn know that this isn’t the time to be playing roulette (which can, incidentally be found on this site: https://www.ignitioncasino.eu/) with Joshua’s career. AJ’s next bout must win. He’s lost three of his last five matches, and a defeat against the underwhelming American would be curtains down for the former champ.
But with AJ returning to the heavyweight scene, we thought it would be the perfect time to see where he fits into the rankings. So, here are the top three heavyweight boxers on the planet today.
1. Tyson Fury
The number one heavyweight on the planet today is without a doubt, Tyson Fury. The Gypsy King ascended the mountaintop back in November 2015, when he stunned Wladimir Klitschko in Düsseldorf to claim the unified world heavyweight championship.
A severe bout with depression would follow, which saw Fury on the sidelines for the better part of three years.
In 2018 he would return, and he would immediately take aim at the hardest hitter that boxing has ever seen, Deontay Wilder.
Their initial bout ended in a controversial draw back in 2018, but Fury would leave no doubt as to who the better fighter out of the pair was.
In the duo’s second and third fights, Fury would twice knockout Wilder to claim the WBC World Heavyweight Championship and secure his spot as the best heavyweight on the planet.
2. Oleksandr Usyk
While Fury and Wilder were embarking on their thrilling trilogy, Oleksandr Usyk was plotting his own path to the top. The slick Ukrainian became the first man in over a decade to unify the Cruiserweight division, defeating Murat Gassiev in Moscow to become the undisputed champion at 200 pounds.
He then stepped up to heavyweight and beelined straight for the man with all the gold, Anthony Joshua.
Usyk would be made to wait for his opportunity however, courtesy of Joshua losing and then reclaiming his titles to Andy Ruiz Jr. But when he got his shot, he would grasp it with both hands.
The 36year-old southpaw first faced off with the champion Joshua at the 62,000-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in September 2021, and would comprehensively outbox the Brit en route to a unanimous decision victory.
The pair would then face off again 11 months later, and although Joshua did improve, Usyk still did enough to secure the victory and retain his titles.
In the coming months, Usyk will face off with Tyson Fury for all the marbles and the chance to become the division’s first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis two decades ago.
But with The Gypsy King having a far superior height and reach advantage, we expect Usyk to come up short. But thanks to his exploits across two divisions, he is still considered the greatest pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, alongside Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue.
3. Deontay Wilder
For years, the undisputed championship bout in the heavyweight division was Deontay Wilder vs Anthony Joshua.
The pair held the division’s major titles between March 2018 and June 2019 however, couldn’t come to terms on a money-spinning unification bout, with both sides claiming that one ducked the other. Then karma came around and took the titles from the champions.
Wilder lost his strap to Fury, while Joshua lost his titles first to Andy Ruiz and then to Usyk. Now, that undisputed fight is a million miles away for the pair. But despite that, a bout between Wilder and Joshua would still do big business.
We have favored The Bronze Bomber over Joshua primarily due to the fact that the American is the biggest puncher in the division, while the Brit’s chin is suspect, to say the least.
Throughout his career, Wilder has won 42 fights, with 41 of those victories coming by way of knockout. We expect him to eliminate Joshua with a minimum of fuss, as soon as that big right hand connects…