By Ken Hissner: This article isn’t putting the twelve current and past heavyweight champions in order, but you can. Let’s start with the current two champions WBC champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury and WBA, WBO, and IBF champion Oleksandr Usyk.
The other 10 are Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis, Rocky “The Brockton Blockbuster” Marciano, Muhammad “The Greatest” Ali, “Iron” Mike Tyson, Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes, Lennox “The Lion” Lewis, “Big” George Foreman, Ken Norton and “Smokin” Joe Frazier.
Let’s start with former four-belt Cruiserweight world champion defending it seven times and current WBA, WBO, and IBF World heavyweight champion southpaw Oleksandr Usyk, 20-0 with 13 stoppages, from Shypyntsi, Ukraine, and Oxnard, CA.
In August of 2022, in a rematch, again Usyk defeated former champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua, 24-2, by a split decision at the Jeddah Superdome in his first defense. He is currently not scheduled for a bout.
The other current world champion is WBC World Heavyweight champion 6’9” Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury, 33-0-1 with 24 stoppages, from Morecambe, UK. He drew with Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, 40-0, and stopped him twice.
Champion Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis, 66-3 with 52 stoppages and 25 title defenses from Detroit, Michigan. He held the title the longest from June 1937 to March 1949. He avenged his first loss to Max Schmeling before winning the title but stopped him after becoming champion. Was stopped by Rocky Marciano at end of his career.
Unbeaten Champion Rocky “The Brocton Blockbuster” Marciano, 49-0 with 43 stoppages, of Brockton, Massachusetts. He won the title from “Jersey” Joe Walcott, 49-18-1, behind on all scores stopping him in the 13th round.
He defended his title 6 times, including a first round rematch stoppage against Walcott. Twice he defeated former champion Ezzard “Cincinnati Cobra” Charles by decision and stoppage, and in his final fight came off the canvas against the knockout king Archie Moore, 149-19-8, in 9 rounds. In his 38th fight, he stopped former champion Joe Louis in 8 rounds.
Champion Muhammad “The Greatest” Ali, 56-5 with 37 stoppages with 19 defenses, was from Louisville, Kentucky. He was the 1960 Olympic Gold Medalist at Light Heavyweight. He was the fastest in hand and foot of all the champions.
He lost over three years in the prime of his career after being suspended by the New York boxing commission. At 30-0, he returned in 1970, losing to “Smokin” Joe Frazier, 26-0, but would go on to defeat him twice. He lost to Ken Norton before defeating him twice. He was the first champion to win the title 3 times.
“Smokin” Joe Frazier, 32-4-1 with 27 stoppages, was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the first to defeat Muhammad Ali, though losing to him twice after that. He was the 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist. He defeated WBA champ Jimmy Ellis for unification. He was stopped twice by “Big” George Foreman.
“Big” George Foreman, 76-5, with 68 stoppages from Houston, Texas. He was the 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist. He stopped “Smokin” Joe Frazier twice. He lost his title to Muhammad Ali. He knocked out Ken Norton and Ron Lyle, with the latter as good a heavyweight fight ever.
“Iron” Mike Tyson, 50-6 with 44 stoppages, from Catskill, New York. He was 37-0, losing to James “Buster” Douglas, 28-4-1. He came back in the next fight, stopping Henry Tillman, 20-4, who he lost to in the Olympic trial finals. He lost twice to Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, 44-10-2.
Former Cruiser and Heavyweight Champion Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, 44-10-2 with 29 stoppages, was from Atlanta, Georgia. He defeated James “Buster Douglas, 29-4-1, for the title. He defeated former champions “Big” George Foreman, 66-2, and Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes, 54-3. At 28-0 lost to Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe, 31-0, defeating him in a rematch, losing to him in the third match.
Champion Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes, 69-6 with 44 stoppages and 19 title defenses, from Easton, Pennsylvania. In 1978, he won the title, defeating Ken Norton 40-4.
Neither wanted a rematch, per Norton’s trainer Eddie Futch due to the brutality of the fight. Holmes was 48-0 when he lost to the first light heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight title, 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist at middleweight Michael “Jinx” Spinks.
In a rematch lost a disputed decision to Spinks. Then he was stopped by Mike Tyson.
Champion Lennox “The Lion” Lewis, 41-2-1 with 32 stoppages, was from London, UK. In 1988 Olympic Gold Medal defeated Riddick Bowe. In 1992 he won the world title defeating Tony “TNT” Tucker 48-1.
Was 25-0 when he lost to Oliver McCall, 24-5. Almost three years later, regaining the title stopped McCall. He drew and defeated Evander Holyfield. He lost to Hasim Rahman, 34-2 but defeated him in the rematch. He stopped Mike Tyson in his next-to-final fight.
Ken Norton, 42-7-1, with 33 stoppages and from San Diego, California. He was the second fighter to defeat Muhammad Ali, breaking his jaw. He did lose to him in their next two highly disputed matches.
Who do you think was the best of these 12 champions?