My list of the top 5 heavyweights heading into the year 2022.
#1 Tyson Fury (Great Britain)
After Tyson Fury’s war with Deontay Wilder little argument needs to be made as to who is the best heavyweight.
Fury showed incredible heart as he rose to his feet after receiving a straight right hand to the forehead that would of likely put the rest of his heavyweight cohort to sleep.
It wasn’t his most technical performance in the ring to date however when you factor in the 18 month lay off, the disrupted camp due to his newly born daughters illness and his 2 positive COVID tests its hard to not admire his performance in what is now a modern day classic.
Fury who holds a 2-0-1 record in his trilogy with Deontay Wilder showed once again that he has Wilders number and arguably beat Deontay Wilder 3 times across their trilogy. Factor in his masterful performance against Klitschko on away soil in Dusseldorf in 2015 ending the greats 11 year reign as heavyweight champion, and his wins against top 15 heavyweights against the likes of Derek Chisora and Otto Wallin then you have to put the undefeated Gypsy King in the number 1 spot. Fury is the clear and outstanding man of this era.
#2 Oleksandr Usyk (Ukraine)
Usyk proved many people in boxing wrong. It was expected that he would have early success in his recent fight with Anthony Joshua.
However Joshua was expecting to use his size and power to finally catch Usyk and over power him as the fight entered the second half. Usyk managed to win across all three scorecards and even came on late in the fight almost forcing the stoppage himself in the 12th round.
Usyk remained disciplined throughout the fight and reminded us why he held all 4 belts at Cruiserweight. Also holding a win over Chisora all be it a much older and weathered Chisora than the version that Fury faced. A little more needs to be seen from Usyk at heavyweight to open the conversation between him and Fury and the number 1 spot.
#3 Deontay Wilder (USA)
Wilder holds a terrifying record of 42 wins and 41 knockouts and is undoubtedly the single hardest puncher in Heavyweight boxing today.
Wilder also has an impressive 11 title defences and although the quality of his opponents are questioned by many he still held the WBC belt for an impressive 5 year reign. The first Ortiz win is Wilders best win as he fought back from moments of real danger to finally stop his opponent.
Wilders flaws are obvious as he continually falls over his front foot when throwing, consistently telegraphs his right hand and sometimes even crosses his feet when throwing one of his right hands so far out of range that they can only be described as from the gods. However, he possess an equaliser like no other and really only has to land one punch in the whole 36 minuets in order to win the fight.
Wilder possess an incredible heart, both he and Fury were prepared to die in the ring in all three fights, making it one of the greatest trilogies the sport has ever seen. The version of Wilder that showed up to his final bout against Fury on October the 9th would outlast and beat any of the other heavyweights in the world right now. He sustained an incredible amount of punishment but remained on his feet swinging haymakers until finally Fury cracked him with a right hand and put him down and out in the 11th. I have to however based on the fact he was stopped in his last two fights with Fury put Wilder bellow Usyk. But his heart and performance still ranks him in at a respectable 3.
#4 Anthony Joshua (Great Britain)
Not too long ago a fair case could have been made to have Joshua as the #1 heavyweight. He has some great title wins against solid top ten heavyweights at the time of the fights against Parker, Povetkin, Pulev and Whyte.
However, since the shock Ruiz defeat in his first fight across the pond at MSG Joshua hasn’t looked quiet like the killer he once did. Whether he still has that instinct is not a question, however, does he fear what is being thrown back at him is more of an interesting question. But of course, this is all here say and he only slides down to 4 due to the Usyk defeat and he also falls victim to the incredible fight between Fury and Wilder where both fighters have to rank above him.
A lot of people have called for Joshua to impose himself and use his size and strength. This is easier said than done, it isn’t a matter of Joshua using his size more effectively and roughing Usyk up because Usyk is too skilled to allow him to do that.
For me Joshua needs to make adjustments in his rematch against Usyk then he can certainly win. He has a problem setting up offence when he is shown distance. When Usyk took away Joshua’s jab and he couldn’t use it to get off his right hand Usyk looked in serious control. Joshua has a lack of creativity when he is forced to fight on the outside due to a real difficulty setting up shots.
When Joshua can get into middle distance he is a lethal finisher but Usyk forced to him to the outside and took away his jab. Joshua needs a plan B, all he was doing was throwing a straight right hand out of range and an occasional right hand counter.
He needs to feint up and down and probe, he needs to take angels to the left and right to set up different shots when on the outside. He cant walk in behind the jab every fight at the same pace. Especially not against top operators. Look the fight wasn’t a one-sided beatdown whilst Joshua lost it was realistically only probably an 8-4 maybe a 7-5 loss, so hope is not lost and a win in the rematch will certainly move him quickly back up the rankings.
#5 Dillian Whyte (Great Britain)
Whyte deserves a title shot now. He is long overdue a shot at the WBC belt and hopefully we can see him as the opponent for Fury’s second title defence.
He has amassed wins over the Finnish giant Helenius who after his destruction of Kownacki on the Fury vs Wilder III undercard looks like a win that is aging nicely, Rivas, Povetkin and Parker. Whyte is the next best opponent for Fury as noise around the step aside situation with Joshua seems to have died down.
Despite suffering two devastating KO losses in his domestic dust up vs Joshua back in 2016 and more recently against Povetkin Whyte avenged his Povetkin loss back in March and added Povetkin’s scalp to his underrated resume. Whyte has a left hook from hell and is a danger to anyone in the division however he is clumsy and his technique looks uncoordinated, and his footwork leaves a lot to be desired.
I don’t think he beats any of the aforementioned and is likely the perfect style for Fury, however he is a credible #5 and has earnt a fight for the title.