The top 10 heavyweight champion knockout percentages in boxing history

  • Rob Swan

Deontay Wilder further enhanced his status as one of the greatest boxers of his era thanks to a ruthless knockout of Luis Ortiz in Las Vegas last weekend.

The 34-year-old American retained his WBC heavyweight title for the 10th time by stopping Ortiz, who had dominated the fight, seven rounds into the bout.

Wilder labelled himself as the “hardest hitter in boxing” in the aftermath of his latest victory, while some boxing pundits hailed him as a “genius”.

Muhammad Ali’s ex-wife Khalilah Ali went one step further by calling Wilder the greatest boxer of all time.

The 69-year-old said to Wilder in a FightHype video, per talkSPORT: “You are definitely the King of the Ring, you don’t have to prove anything, just do your thing.

“I told him, I said ‘look at that brother, you’re in trouble’. I knew it.

“I know the greatest when I see it. You are the GOAT (greatest of all time) brother. Thank you so much.”

But where does Wilder rank among other great heavyweights when it comes to knockout percentages?

talkSPORT have crunched the numbers and published the top 10 – and it certainly adds weight to the argument that Wilder deserves to be mentioned among the all-time greats.

10. Shannon Briggs

Record: 77.9% KO Ratio (68 Fights, 53 KOs)

Let’s Go Champ!

Briggs, who hasn’t fought since beating Emilio Zarate at the O2 Arena in May 2016, boasts a rather impressive record.

9. Mike Tyson

Record: 78.6% KO Ratio (56 Fights, 44 KOs)

A little surprised to see the fearsome Mike Tyson this low down the list? We are.

8. Charles Martin

Record: 80.0% KO Ratio (30 Fights, 24 KOs)

The American held the IBF heavyweight title from January to April 2016, when he lost to Anthony Joshua.

7. David Haye

Record: 81.3% KO Ratio (32 Fights, 26 KOs)

One of the most exciting British boxers of his generation, David Haye landed Hayemakers on 26 of his 32 opponents.

6. George Foreman

Record: 84.0% KO Ratio (81 Fights, 68 KOs)

The legendary George Foreman’s career spanned from 1969 right up until 1997. During that time, the American knocked out 68 of his 81 opponents. A magnificent record.

5. Frank Bruno

Record: 84.4% KO Ratio (45 Fights, 38 KOs)

A much-loved British boxer, Frank Bruno won the vast majority of his fights with knockouts but was unable to stop Tyson, who beat him in 1989 and again in 1996.

4. Vitali Klitschko

Record: 87.2% KO Ratio (47 Fights, 41 KOs)

The Ukrainian boxer-turned-politician saw off 41 of his 47 opponents with knockouts before hanging up his gloves in 2012.

3. Rocky Marciano

Record: 87.8% KO Ratio (49 Fights, 43 KOs)

The only heavyweight champion to have finished his career undefeated, Marciano competed from 1947 to 1955 and is rated as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

2. Anthony Joshua

Record: 91.3% KO Ratio (23 Fights, 21 KOs)

AJ won his first 20 fights by way of knockout before beating Joseph Parker in March 2018 on points. The Brit then knocked out Alexander Povetkin in September 2018 before his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr less than a year later. Can he exact revenge on the Mexican-American next month?

1. Deontay Wilder

Record: 95.3% KO Ratio (43 Fights, 41 KOs)

And in top spot, it’s the aforementioned Wilder. All but two of his fights have come back way of knockout. The only fights that didn’t end in a knockout? His bout against Bermane Stiverne in January 2015 (result: draw) and, of course, his fight against Tyson Fury in December 2018 which ended in a draw.

Wondering where the great Muhammad Ali is? Only 37 of his 56 career victories were knockouts.

Lennox Lewis, meanwhile, just misses out on the top 10 as ‘only’ 32 of his 41 wins were KOs.

This list obviously doesn’t prove that Wilder is a better boxer than the great Ali – or anyone else on this list for that matter – but his knockout percentage deserves huge credit nonetheless.

Incidentally, Foreman was asked if Wilder is the greatest knockout artist in heavyweight history, and this was his response: “He’s good but he hasn’t approached Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson. No, he hasn’t approached that kind of recognition yet. No way.”

That’s one debate that will rumble on for years to come.

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