The Big Question: Who is the number one heavyweight in the world?

Boxing Monthly
13/06/2019 6:47pm

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In the wake of Anthony Joshua's shock defeat against Andy Ruiz Jr, we asked members of the BM online team who they rank as the number one heavyweight in the world, with Tyson Fury emerging as the consensus pick.

NB: The official BM rankings will be updated one week before the end of this month, when readers will discover the magazine's new heavyweight top ten. The below views are of individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect what the new standings will be...

I’d have Fury as the number one best heavyweight, based on the fact he should’ve beaten Wilder and also what happened with Joshua recently. - Lee Gormley

While on recent form this honour should go to Deontay Wilder, the Dominic Breazeale fight showed us nothing new, plus a lot of us thought Breazeale had no business being in there with the Bronze Bomber anyway. Because 'styles make fights' I can't see Ruiz getting the chance to do to Wilder or Fury what he did to Joshua, and I think a fitter and less ring rusty version of Fury outpoints Wilder. Therefore, I have Fury as the top man in the division again. - Colin Harris

Tyson Fury. He beat Wilder in their first fight on my scorecard, no doubt. I would pick him to beat Wilder again, to deal with Ruiz Jr and to outbox Joshua. I'm interested to see how Fury gets on against Schwarz, a guy who he should really dominate and get out of there early doors. I don't think there's an active heavyweight who can beat Fury. - Shaun Brown

Fury has by far the best skill set at the weight. Although that doesn't automatically make him 'number one', the division is so convoluted now that Ruiz has picked up some of the straps I'll have to put Fury in the number one spot. I don't think anyone around right now beats him. - James Oddy

With AJ coming off the back of that loss he has to have slipped to fourth now behind Ruiz Jr who climbs to number three. Fury, in my opinion, beat Wilder in their first fight and will do so again in the rematch and then again the trilogy - if we are to believe Bob Arum. Therefore Fury has to be seen as the number one at heavyweight in my opinion. - James Lupton

Regardless of who you 'thought' deserved to win Wilder vs Fury, the result was a draw, effectively ruling Wilder and Fury equals. This means we need to look at their respective resumes to separate the two. Wilder has copped a lot of criticism for his level of opposition and perhaps rightly so. But if we run a ruler over Fury’s ledger, we find his record is not much better. Remove Wladimire Klitschko from Fury’s resume and the best boxer he has beaten is Dereck Chisora. After that, it’s blown up cruiserweight Steve Cunningham. Certainly Wilder’s victories over Ortiz and Breazeale compare favourably to these last two names. That leads it to the manner of victory. Who do you rate higher, a fighter who almost always ends his bouts by knockout or a boxer who barely loses a round? And what kind of weighting do we put on recent form and activity? All things considered, I’m leaning towards Wilder - just. - Anthony Cocks

Wilder is riding the momentum wave - a sentence I never thought I'd write - with highlight reel knockouts coming thick and fast against all of his opponents to date ... except for Fury, who I feel sits nicely at the top of division for the manner in which he was able to out-box Klitschko and Wilder for most of their contests. - Oliver McManus

This question is open to interpretation. Any logical set of ratings would have Ruiz ranked 1st, as he beat the consensus no. 1 in Joshua. If you’re talking best heavyweight based on ability and record, then you’d edge towards Fury. Concentrating on top ten rated opponents (when they fought them), Fury has a win over Chisora (second fight), the upset of Klitschko (away from home), and the draw with Wilder (which he got the better of). Wilder outpointed Stiverne (first fight), won an up-and-downer over Ortiz, and was second best for much of the Fury fight. Advantage Fury. - Andrew Harrison

I think by default it’s Fury, until a couple of weeks ago I would’ve said Joshua as he had the highest number of good wins but after his stoppage loss the focus has to go to Fury and Wilder who fought what I felt was a rightful draw in LA last December. The issue is both Fury and Wilder lack depth on their respective records but Fury’s win over long time champion Wladimir Klitschko tips the balance in his favour. - Callum Rudge

This is really a case of what you like, I think. Prior to the shocker that was the Ruiz fight, Joshua's ranking as the leading heavyweight was approaching a consensus - or as close to a consensus as you'll find in this splintered, fractious sport - with all of Boxing Monthly, Boxing News, The Ring, ESPN, and TBRB having installed the Watford man at the top (albeit with the 'champion' spot conspicuously vacant). For me, the heavyweight with the best recent win on their record is Ruiz Jr, and there's an argument that a four-knockdown dismantling of the previous number 1 is enough for him to leapfrog the rest. Of the 'Big 3' (or should that now be 'Big 4'?), the hardest to make an argument for in terms of going top is Wilder: his win against Ortiz was an excellent one, but my eyes saw him lose in December, despite those two knockdowns bringing the scorecards far closer than many will acknowledge. There's a real danger, too, that should we get as far as the rematch, Wilder catches Fury again and closes the show. It's a different kind of criteria, of course, but put them all into a round robin and my money would be on Fury emerging with the most wins. - Tom Craze