With Luis Ortiz set to return to action this weekend in Monte Carlo, it’s a good time present an updated heavyweight top 10.
Important Note: Tyson Fury is the lineal champion in the division, but has not fought in nearly a year and is not scheduled to fight this year. For that reason, I have dropped him from the rankings. The same is true for Wladimir Klitschko. Alexander Povetkin is now at just over one year inactive, but is scheduled to return in December, so I have included him.
No. 10: Andy Ruiz Jr. Ruiz doesn’t really look like anybody’s idea of a contender with his portly frame. But he’s a talented boxer and has defeated some decent gatekeepers like Tor Hammer, Raphael Love and Franklin Lawrence. He faces Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO belt next month.
No. 9: Bryant Jennings The tough, hard-nosed Philadelphia native has been the only contender willing to face Luis Ortiz. He had not fought since losing to him by TKO last December.
No. 8: Bermane Stiverne The former WBC title holder has only fought once since losing his belt to Deontay Wilder in January 2015. He has been inactive since defeating journeyman Derric Rossy nearly a year ago. But he will face Alexander Povetkin in one of the division’s biggest fights of the year next month.
No. 7: David Haye Since returning to action this year, the Brit has looked like the same explosive puncher he was before retiring following his July 2012 knockout of Dereck Chisora. Hopefully he faces a true contender in 2017.
No. 6: Joseph Parker 2016 has been his breakout year. He defeated a true contender when he decisioned Carlos Takam in May. So far he is 4-0 for the year and is scheduled to face Andy Ruiz for the vacant WBO belt next month.
No. 5: Anthony Joshua, IBF Champion Joshua’s IBF belt is no more authentic than a photocopied c-note, and he has yet to face a true, top-20 caliber contender. But the undefeated Englishman looks like the future of the division to me.
No. 4: Kubrat Pulev The Bulgarian was knocked out by Waldimir Klitschko in his world title challenge in November 2014. He has defeated a roster of second-tier contenders like Dereck Chisora and Tony Thompson.
No. 3: Deontay Wilder, WBC Champion Wilder’s only top-level win came against Stiverne, when he captured his belt. Fans are desperate to see him face a true test. The lanky former college basketball player’s power is undeniable.
No. 2: Luis Ortiz If I was basing this list purely on my own opinion, the Cuban big man would be at the top of the list. His knockout of Bryant Jennings is the most impressive win for any current heavyweight fighter.
No. 1: Alexander Povetkin Following his October 2013 lost to Wladimir Klitschko, Povetkin knockout out four straight contenders in Manuel Charr, Carlos Takam, Mike Perez and Mariusz Wach. Fights Stiverne next month in a major bout. Unfortunately, a fight fell through with Wilder earlier this year, when he failed a PED test.