Wilder vs Fury, Tyson vs Holyfield, AJ vs Klitschko: Boxing's greatest heavyweight fights

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Ahead of the titanic clash between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, let's take a look back through the years at some of the greatest heavyweight showdowns in professional boxing history.

AJ vs Fury is one of the biggest fights in recent memory, as the two best heavyweights in the division today go head-to-head having agreed a two-fight deal, beginning this year. 

The bout stirs up memories of past heavyweight classics we have seen and as a result, Bolavip.com have decided to compile a list which ranks the top 25 heavyweight fights of all time. 

Check out their rankings below and see if you agree..

25-21

25. Joe Frazier vs Jerry Quarry (1969)

24. Evander Holyfield vs Michael Dokes (1989)

23. Cassius Clay vs Sonny Liston (1964)

22.  James Braddock vs Max Baer

21.  Derrick Jefferson vs Maurice Harris (1999)

25-21 Summary

One of greatest fighters to ever step foot into the ring, Evander Holyfield came of age in the division by defeating Michael Dokes in 1989 in the 10th round to cement his heavyweight status.

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In this part of the list we also see a legend of the sport begin to make his name in Muhammad Ali, or Cassius Clay as he was known then. A then 22-year-old Clay beat the odds to defeat the undefeated champion Liston on his way to superstardom. At number 21 we also witnessed one of the most iconic knockouts in the sport's history when Derrick Jefferson delivered a perfect left hook to defeat Maurice Harris. 

20-16

20. Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury (2018)

19. Leotis Martin vs Thad Spencer (1968)

18. George Foreman vs Michael Moorer (1994)

17. Rocky Marciano vs Ezzard Charles (1954)

16. Buster Douglas vs Mike Tyson (1990)

20-16 Summary

The most recent fight in the top 25 is Wilder vs Fury from 2018. Ending in a controversial draw, this back-and-forth contest saw Fury unusually dropped twice and is seen as one of best fights of the 21st Century. History was made during the 18th fight on this list as George Foreman became the oldest heavyweight champion in history. A 45-year-old Foreman looked to be struggling throughout before landing a big right hand to knockout Michael Moorer and shock those watching. 

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Elsewhere, we see Rocky Marciano come close to losing his undefeated streak in a classic with Ezzard Charles which went all the way before Marciano picked up the victory on points, a rare occasion in which he didn't knock out an opponent. There's also a huge underdog story featured as Buster Douglas shocked the world to knock out undefeated champion 'Iron' Mike Tyson in the 10th round having come into the fight a massive 42/1 outsider. 

15-11

15.  Michael Moorer vs Bert Cooper (1992)

14.  Lennox Lewis vs Vitali Klitschko (2003)

13.  Floyd Patterson vs Ingemar Johansson (1961)

12.  Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko (2017)

11.  Rocky Marciano vs Joe Walcott (1952)

15-11 Summary

In at 16 we have the 'Battle of the Titans' as then current heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis took on the former champion Vitali Klitschko, in what turned out to be Lewis' last professional fight.

Vitali's brother Wladimir also appears on this list with his 2017 Fight of the Year bout with Joshua. A clash of the different generations, an up-and-coming AJ overcame what was then the toughest fight of his career against the experienced Ukrainian, who put Joshua down for the first time. 

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10-6

10. Ike Ibeabuchi vs David Tua (1961)

9.  Evander Holyfield vs Mike Tyson (1996)

8.  Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman (1974)

7.  George Foreman vs Ron Lyle (1976)

6.  Larry Holmes vs Ken Norton (1978)

10-6 Summary

First up in the top 10 is the gruelling fight between Ibeabuchi and Tua. A combined 1,730 punches were thrown throughout the contest which was a true slog before Ibeabuchi took the win.

Here we also see the epic Holyfield vs Tyson (not the ear biting one!). A declining Tyson was dropped in the sixth round before eventually being stopped in the 11th in a year where Holyfield reigned supreme and picked up Fighter of the Year.

At number eight is the legendary 'Rumble in the Jungle' between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman. Coming in as a bit of an underdog, which was surprising given he had previously been world champion, Ali knocked out the undefeated Foreman in the eighth round following a trademark combination of lightning-fast punches to seal the victory in one of most notable events in boxing history. 

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5-1

5.  Joe Jeannette vs Sam McVea (1909)

4.  Riddick Bowe vs Evander Holyfield (1992)

3. Jack Dempsey vs Luis Firpo (1923)

2.  Joe Frazier vs Muhammad Ali (1971)

1.  Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier (1975)

5-1 Summary

In the top five, we have one of the most brutal fights there has been as Jack Dempsey vs Luis Firpo saw 11 knockdowns in just four minutes. Despite being dropped SEVEN times in a minute-and-a-half, Firpo recovered by literally dropping his opponent out of the ring. Incredible scenes which came to an end in just the second round as Dempsey climbed back in to knock Firpo out once and for all.

Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier unsurprisingly dominate the two remaining spots having been involved in some of the most iconic fights in memory.  

Their first meeting in 1971 earns a silver medal by coming in at second place, despite being dubbed 'The Fight of the Century'. Two undefeated heavyweights competing for the title, something had to give. An iconic left hook from Frazier in the 15th round floored Ali who, despite getting back up, suffered the first loss of his career in what is considered a true boxing classic.

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Who is this heavyweight boxer?

Finally, coming out on top is the pair's third and final meeting, nicknamed 'The Thrilla in Manilla'. With both fighters winning a fight each previously, this final instalment of the trilogy goes down as perhaps the greatest boxing spectacle ever. 

A strong start from Ali swiftly changed halfway through with Frazier taking the initiative with heavy body shots. It was to be Ali's time, however, as he regained control of the fight, leaving Frazier unable to see due to a swollen eye and the fight was stopped in the 14th. A fight for the ages which rightly takes its place among the best clashes ever witnessed. 

Having both featured in the top 25 already, it remains to be seen whether or not Joshua vs Fury has a place among the elite fights in history and just where it stacks up. Fingers crossed the much-anticipated contest lives up to its billing.

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