Champion: Tyson Fury Fury has been inactive for more than a year now and that is an argument to replace him here. But he still has the lineal claim. And historically, other champions have gone longer without defending. Still, if he does not face Joshua by the end of 2017, his claim will no longer have any legitimacy.
No. 1: Anthony Joshua He hardly looked perfect against Klitschko, but he continued to look like a big, dangerous puncher. The uppercut that set up the final assault was a brilliant punch.
No. 2: Wladimir Klitschko He showed grit and courage in defeat against Joshua. If he wants to come back for a rematch, he’ll deserve it. But the priority should be Joshua vs. Fury.
No. 3: Alexander Povetkin The best heavyweight of this century not named Klitschko. Was badly defeated by Wladimir Klitschko in October 2013, but the referee allowed Klitschko to get away with murder in terms of clinching and leaning. Cannot seem to pass a PED test of late, though.
No. 4: Luis Ortiz The most avoided man in the division. His sensational knockout of Bryant Jennings in December 2015 is one of the most impressive wins any fighter in the division has had lately.
No. 5: Deontay Wilder Wilder’s power cannot be denied–he could knock down a barn. But almost 40 fights into his career, he has faced a single top-10 contender.
No. 6: Joseph Parker The WBO belt holder from New Zealand is a big, athletic boxer-puncher. He should factor into some of the division’s major fights in the next few years.
No. 7: Kubrat Pulev The big Bulgarian was knocked out by Wladimir Klitschko in November 2014, but that is his only loss.
No. 8: Andy Ruiz Jr. The rotund Mexican is not going to win any beautiful body contests. But he gave Parker all he could handle when they battled for the vacant WBO belt.
No. 9: Carlos Takam He was knocked out by Povetkin in October 2014 and lost by decision to Parker in May 2016 and at 36, he may be on the downside of his career. But I still judge him inside the division’s top 10.
No. 10: Mariusz Wach He lost by decision to Wladimir Klitschko in October 2012 and got knocked out by Povetkin in November 2015. But his victory last March over Erkan Teper demonstrated he is still a top contender. He has a very interesting fight scheduled for June against Dillian Whyte.