Anthony Joshua took care of business on Saturday night, knocking out Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round to retain his WBA, IBF, IBO, and WBO heavyweight titles. While Pulev proved to be a game opponent, Joshua dominated the fight from start to finish, scoring four knockdowns against the Bulgarian.

Heavyweight boxing rankings Joshua Fury
Anthony Joshua (right) knocked out Kubrat Pulev (left) to retain his heavyweight titles on Saturday. (Image: Andrew Couldridge/PA/Getty)

An impressive win against a highly regarded opponent bodes well for Joshua moving forward, but how did the victory shake up my heavyweight rankings? Here’s a rundown of my current top 10 in boxing’s premier division.

1: Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 23 KOs)

  • Signature Wins: Deontay Wilder (2020), Wladimir Klitschko
  • Draw: Deontay Wilder (2018)

Fury, the lineal and WBC champion, remains on top by virtue of having the best and most convincing win over another top-tier heavyweight. While the undefeated Fury hasn’t fought during the pandemic, and questions remain over how easily he can get out of a rematch against Deontay Wilder, chances are that we’ll see a unification bout with Joshua sometime in 2021.

2: Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs)

  • Signature Wins: Andy Ruiz Jr. (Dec. 2019), Alexander Povetkin, Wladimir Klitschko, Kubrat Pulev
  • Loss: Andy Ruiz Jr. (June 2019)

Joshua confirmed that he belongs right near the top of this list on Saturday, ending any lingering doubts over his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. last year. He looks ready to take on Fury in what would be an absolutely enormous fight, both in the UK and throughout the boxing-loving world.

3: Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs)

  • Signature Wins: Luis Ortiz (2018, 2019), Gerald Washington
  • Loss: Tyson Fury (2020)

Wilder saw his stock drop after he lost to Fury earlier this year … but only a bit. There’s clearly a top three at the top of the heavyweight mountain right now, and Wilder completes that group. Whether he gets a chance to avenge his Fury loss or finds another high-profile opponent, the American will be hunting for more knockouts and new title opportunities in 2021.

4: Alexander Povetkin (36-2-1, 25 KOs)

  • Signature Wins: Dillian Whyte, Carlos Takam, Marco Huck
  • Losses: Wladimir Klitschko, Anthony Joshua

While it may seem odd to see him here, Povetkin’s upset of Dillian Whyte puts him at the top of the second tier of heavyweights, a group that makes up the remainder of this list. It’s difficult to imagine the 41-year-old Russian winning a world title at this point, but his recent record could make him an attractive opponent for one of the big three. First, however, he’ll have to survive a rematch with Whyte — a fight that Povetkin had to postpone after testing positive for COVID-19 in November.

5: Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs)

  • Signature Wins: Dereck Chisora (Heavyweight), Tony Bellow, Murat Gassiev (Cruiserweight)

Usyk took on a more dangerous opponent for his second heavyweight fight, beating Dereck Chisora in a reasonably close unanimous decision in October. The win confirms Usyk – the former unified cruiserweight champion – as an elite heavyweight, though it’s not enough to prove he can hang with the likes of Fury, Joshua, or Wilder.

6: Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs)

  • Signature Wins: Anthony Joshua (June 2019)
  • Losses: Joseph Parker, Anthony Joshua (Dec. 2019)

7: Dillian Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs)

  • Signature Wins: Dereck Chisora (2016, 2018), Joseph Parker
  • Losses: Anthony Joshua, Alexander Povetkin

8: Luis Ortiz (32-2, 27 KOs)

  • Signature Wins: Christian Hammer, Tony Thompson, Bryant Jennings
  • Losses: Deontay Wilder (2018, 2019)

9: Joe Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs)

  • Signature Wins: Bryant Jennings, Daniel Dubois

10: Kubrat Pulev (28-2, 14 KOs)

  • Signature Wins: Tony Thompson, Dereck Chisora
  • Losses: Wladimir Klitschko, Anthony Joshua

Comments

  1. Luis Ortiz with wins over ‘Christian Hammer, Tony Thompson, Bryant Jennings’….. The reason I suspect he is in your top 10 is because Deontay Wilder struggled and was outboxed by him. Ortiz made Wilder and vice versa. I can see him slipping out of your top 10 in the next few months

    Andy Ruiz has to be above Povetkin (Povetkin lossed to AJ, whilst Ruiz is 1 – 1 with AJ)

    Will be interesting to see your list after the Whyte Povetkin rematch and a potential Joyce vs Usyk match

    It’s hard to argue against the top three

    I highly doubt Povetkin, Ortiz and Pulev will be in your top ten this time next year….

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