Saturday’s destructive victory over the previously-undefeated Tom Schwarz again demonstrated that Tyson Fury might be the most complete fighter in the division.
Here’s a look at the top fighters in a fascinating division.
If the 30-year-old was not already considered the very best when he returned from essentially three years’ inactivity to outbox the dangerous Deontay Wilder in December’s thrilling draw, when his performance deserved victory, then Anthony Joshua’s defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr and the victory over Schwarz makes Tyson many people’s choice to be heavyweight leader. At a time when the heavyweight division is again thriving, Fury is its most charismatic and talented fighter.
The WBC champion, 33, is among the most powerful punchers in history, as he again demonstrated with his recent first-round stoppage of the tough Dominic Breazeale, but was fortunate to be awarded a draw when he defended his title against Fury. A rematch is the only way to resolve the blot on his record.
Andy Ruiz Jr
The Mexican, 29, produced one of the greatest upsets in heavyweight history earlier this month when he recovered from a third-round knockdown to unexpectedly stop the previously-undefeated and highly-rated Joshua in seven. Ruiz Jr, who has a strong case to be No.1, even accepted the fight at late notice; they are expected to have a rematch later this year.
The decorated Olympic gold medallist should be in his prime but showed signs of regression throughout a poor performance as he suffered his first defeat against Ruiz Jr on his US debut. If he really is as good as he previously suggested and many continue to believe, he will convincingly avenge that defeat in an immediate rematch, and then pursue fights with Wilder and Fury.
Ukraine’s outstanding Usyk, 32, furthered his status as one of the greatest cruiserweights in history in his past fight, when he explosively stopped Tony Bellew to unify the IBF, WBA, WBO and WBC titles. He is yet to make his heavyweight debut but will do so later this year, and possesses such natural boxing abilities and athleticism that he already appears capable of immediately threatening the division’s three biggest names.
The 31-year-old contender who has arguably done the most to secure a world title shot still has a mountain to climb before he gets there. Some might say he only has himself to blame after passing on the chance to challenge Joshua earlier this year but Whyte – who has beaten Dereck Chisora, Lucas Browne, Robert Helenius and Joseph Parker – now has to get past Oscar Rivas in a tricky July 20 assignment.