Who’s the True King of Heavyweight division?
By Matthew J. Hunter: WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder defended his title in a 9th round knockout over Artur Szpilka last Saturday at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. It was a competitive fight that featured the Polish underdog, who confused Wilder via his southpaw stance and superior footwork. While the fight itself wasn’t a massive fight, the event itself spurred the renewed interest in the Heavyweight division.
The Heavyweight division, which has in recent memory been a shadow of the golden era of the mid to late 20th century, has in the past couple years built a massive amount of momentum towards becoming a glamour division in boxing. At the top, depending who you ask, sits Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder. They are both big heavyweights who seem to be vying for the heavyweight throne. After Wilder’s last fight, Fury entered the ring and cut a memorable WWE style promo. On one side there’s Fury almost singing, “There’s only one Tyson Fury,” and the other, the Alabama native going back to his Southern roots and stating, “I will baptize you.”
While Wilder may be a bigger name in the States, Fury beat the last King of the division in Vladimir Klitschko. That will keep Fury ranked ahead of Wilder until Wilder proves otherwise. Fury may not be the natural athlete that Wilder is, but he is much more of the natural boxer between the two. His ability to connect punches together in combination come much more smoothly than Wilder, and with the ability to switch between orthodox and southpaw, a stance that obviously gives Wilder trouble, and adds a whole new level to Fury’s game that Wilder just doesn’t have yet. Fury doesn’t have the one punch knockout power that Wilder has, but if Fury ever fights Wilder, going for the knockout would be ill advised against an opponent with power like Wilder.
Wilder is not a natural boxer and even took up the sport late in life. However he makes up for the technical flaws with an imposing physical frame and ability that is purely unmatched at heavyweight. Wilder is the type of athlete that can dunk a basketball, run marathons, and probably hit home runs. He’s a J.J. Watt type of athlete. However in any sport to reach to absolute top, the athlete has to have the elite level of technique to back up the athleticism to achieve elite level status. But in the unpredictable sport of boxing, power is a huge equalizer.
After Wilder and Fury, there are a handful of other contenders that could stake their claim as King. Luis Ortiz, the Cuban southpaw, has stormed onto the scene with a TKO of Bryant Jennings. At 37 years old father time is against him, but Ortiz is a massive heavyweight with knockout power to rival Wilder and has the excellent technique that a lifetime at the Cuban boxing academy teaches. Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker are in similar positions. Both are young and impressive prospects who could be the next big thing, however neither has faced top 15 talent so until then, they are still just prospects.
Veterans of the game and former opponents, Klitschko and David Haye could also throw a monkey wrench in the future of the heavyweight division. Haye could potentially face fellow countrymen Joshua and Parker, and Haye has the experience to beat up and comers. Klitschko is lined up for an instant rematch against Tyson Fury, and if the Klitschko of old shows up and schools Fury, then the next wave of heavyweight is again stagnated by the Dr. Steelhammer.
Heavyweight was once the glamour division of boxing. The saga of the 60’s-70’s that featured legends like Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and the next era of the 80’s-90’s which had mega stars such as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes, Lennox Lewis who are now retired, and have been for what seems like an eternity in the sports world. The era of the Klitschko’s was one of lack of depth and technical dominance to the point of annoyance. The Klitschko’s are greats. They belong in the top 10-15 in heavyweight history, and no one can take that away from them.
Their era however was one that most fans want to forget about unfortunately. This new era with the loudmouth Tyson Fury, the American hope of Deontay Wilder, the boogeyman of the division in Luis Ortiz, and the young guns in Joshua and Parker can create a new era at heavyweight, and an era that is vastly different than the last one for all the right reasons.
- Anthony Joshua update on Tyson Fury: June should be date
- Eddie Hearn: Tyson Fury is going to lose
- Eddie Hearn: Tyson Fury has nowhere to run or hide; Joshua
- Tyson Fury on Deontay Wilder: The Chapter’s done, I beat him twice