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The Heavyweight Division: Is it really booming?

By Rameez Haider: After my previous article on Anthony Joshua, I have had several tweets debating whether David Haye would beat him? Is Wladimir Klitschko a step up for Joshua? Do these fights matter when the number one heavyweight Tyson Fury is inactive? How will Joshua hold up against Deontay Wilder?

The questions got me thinking about the heavyweight division and where we currently sit. I think it is fair to say that everyone will agree on the current top heavyweights in the division:

– Anthony Joshua
– Deontay Wilder
– Tyson Fury
– Wladimir Klitschko
– David Haye
– Louis Ortiz
– Joseph Parker

You then have the likes of Povetkin, Stiverne etc. who I would say are just behind these guys. But overall when people debate with me about Anthony Joshua being the best, they will mention the above names.

First off I would say that there are some top-class fighters in the division and I think each of them have their own skill sets and persona that makes them different to each other. But when people say that Anthony Joshua has been fighting bums, and he needs to step up etc. I just think people need to put the whole division into check.

Anthony Joshua has had 18 wins with 18 KO’s. His last 3 fights prior to Eric Molina were 3 undefeated heavyweights, one of which was world champion in Charles Martin. But if you look at the other names on the list, who have they fought? Are their records that much better?

Deontay Wilder has is 37 – 0 with 36 KO’s. It’s a fantastic record and this guy is a pure athlete in the ring and by the looks of it a great guy outside the ring. I think he represents the U.S. in great fashion. But in his 37 fights, in my opinion the best 2 fighters he has faced is Stiverne and Molina. Molina gave Wilder his toughest fight and rocked him yet Joshua took him out in a way that has had an adverse effect on Joshua as now more people claim he beat a bum. Against Stiverne I thought Wilder was a class act and I am not taking nothing away from him but he has not fought anyone of note.

Tyson Fury is rated the number 1 heavyweight. The unified champion, undefeated, the man that ended the 10-year reign that so many boxers tried and failed with. I think for all his antics; the guy is a very underrated fighter. Arguably the best mover and naturally gifted boxer of all the heavyweights. 25 – 0 with 18 KO’s is his record, but again who has he fought. If you take away the Klitschko fight, his best win was arguably Dereck Chisora. What’s more interesting is if Joshua was to win in April, then Joshua would be 19 – 0 he would have beat the best person Fury beat, beat a better second opponent than Fury in Dillian Whyte, so what does that make Joshua the best heavyweight on the planet?

Wladimir Klitschko is the gate keeper of the division and has beat nearly everyone put in front of him in the last 10 years. He has beaten the likes of Povetkin, Pulev, Haye, Chagaev etc. His record is one that people can’t deny. However what people do rightfully say is that over a 10-year period how many truly tough challenges has he faced. This is not diminishing his achievements in any which way it is simply fact.

David Haye is possibly the most dangerous heavyweight of the bunch in terms of his speed and power. He has shown he has the ability on his day to take out any boxer in the division. But his resume as a heavyweight is the same story. Valuev, Ruiz, Harrison, Klitschko, De Mori and Gjergjaj are the fights he has had as a heavyweight. I think the 2 toughest opponents or actual opponents of any note were Klitschko who he lost to and quite badly might I add and Ruiz. But again, same question, does this record really warrant the best heavyweight on the planet tag?

Louis Ortiz, 27 – 0 with 23 KO’s. This is the guy a lot of people across the pond say is the number 1 heavyweight in the world. The most avoided man in the division. Maybe he is, but from what I have seen in his last 2 fights there is nothing for the other top heavyweights to look at and be concerned with. Granted I have not seen enough of him to make an honest assessment but my question is who has he beat? Allen, Scott, Thompson and Jennings are the biggest names on his record. All four of these would get wiped out by the above-mentioned heavyweights. What has he done in his career to suggest he is the number 1 heavyweight.

Joseph Parker, 22 – 0 with 18 KO’s. Great young talent in my opinion and had he been of the U.K. or U.S. far more people would be talking about him. Best names on his resume are Takam and Ruiz Jr. Decent fighters but nowhere near the elite of the division. He was mandatory for Joshua and decided to go down the WBO route and fight Ruiz Jr. I think it was a wise choice from a business perspective, take the easier title route, get a belt and bring more to the negotiating table and earn more money. But again, where are the big names in his resume to suggest he is the best.

The truth is that Klitschko aside, every boxers record is around the same. They have all dispatched average to decent fighters. None of them have taken the next step and thus none of us can truly argue who is the best. We can only go off potential and what we have seen so far.

When Anthony Joshua mentioned him beating Klitschko is the start of the legendary status, he was totally right. For any one of these heavyweights to become a legend of this era, they need to beat the others. It is quite alarming that if Joshua wins his next fight, he has a record on par with the unified heavyweight champion of the world. What does that say about the division?

People have complained about Joshua’s next fight saying Klitschko went old over night, he is washed up etc. but can’t a boxer have a bad night? Couldn’t it just be that Fury’s mind games got to Klitschko? Technically Joshua is fighting the heavyweight with the most experience and the best record, so surely it means something if he wins. In the same way, if Wilder fights and beats Povetkin, someone highly rated in the division, surely it stands for something?

We are always so quick to discredit boxers for taking the easy fights etc. but the heavyweight division is still not the best. The truth is we have 6 or 7 strong exciting heavyweights in an otherwise poor division and until they fight each other we won’t know who is the best. I think it is highly unfair to criticise the likes of Joshua and Wilder, when they have beat everyone put in front of them, done it in style and represent the sport so well outside the ring. So, what is they have been hurt, it does not make them any less of a fighter. I don’t think we can name one boxer who hasn’t been rocked in their career.

What I would love to see happen is Wilder vs Parker on the Joshua vs Klitschko undercard. Two world title unification bouts with the winners facing off for the unified title later in the year.

To read more of my articles, follow me on twitter @RameezHaider13

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