WBC have announced their all-time 10 best heavyweight champions ahead of this weekend’s superfight.
The list, which rarely changes because of the nature and timelines of the weight division, has become a huge talking point, with the WBC having once again not listed any recent champions inside their 10 best heavyweight fighters.
As the Gypsy King prepares to defend his WBC belt against the Bronze Bomber this Saturday, October 9, we’re taking a flick through the WBC’s top 10 ranked heavyweight champions, as per World Boxing News, starting with American fighter Ken Norton.
10. Ken Norton (US)
Paving the way for the newer generation of boxers, Ken Norton competed from 1967 to 1981 and held the world heavyweight championship in 1978; and is best known for his three-fight series with Muhammed Ali.
Norton won the first fight by split decision, lost the second by split decision, and in controversial circumstances, lost the final bout by unanimous decision, despite giving Ali a pounding during the fight.
9. Sonny Liston (US)
Sonny Liston was widely regarded as one of boxing‘s hardest heavyweights and reigned supreme as the heavyweight champion from 1962 to 1964, claiming the title with a first-round knockout against Floyd Patterson. His belt was taken off him by Cassius Clay (Muhammed Ali) in 64’.
8. Vitali Klitschko (Ukraine)
The youngest and most modern fighter on this list, Vitali Klitschko is one of few fighters to have successfully reigned as the heavyweight champion twice and has defeated 15 fighters for the world heavyweight title.
7. Joe Frazier (US)
Nicknamed ‘Smokin Joe’, Joe Frazier was known for his relentless pressure fighting style and was the first boxer to beat Muhammed Ali. Frazier held office as the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973 and won a gold medal at the 1964 Olympics.
6. George Foreman (US)
Two-time world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist, George Foreman was the man to take the belts off Joe Frazier in 1973. He defended the belts twice before the iconic Rumble in the Jungle fight saw Ali reclaim the belts in 1974.
5. Evander Holyfield (US)
Evander Holyfield’s boxing dynasty is one of the most revered in the history of the sport. Having reigned as the undisputed champion at cruiserweight in the 80s, Holyfield moved up weights to become the heavyweight champion in the early 90s.
4. Larry Holmes (US)
Another boxing legend, Larry Holmes defended his heavyweight title against 19 opponents, the second-most behind Joe Louis, and is the only man to have ever knocked out Muhammed Ali.
3. Lennox Lewis (GB)
Lennox Lewis is one of a handful of fighters to have retained his world heavyweight titles on three occasions, while also being the last heavyweight to hold the undisputed championship. Lewis has an impressive accolade of fights defeating Mike Tyson, Vitali Klitschko and Evander Holyfield.
2. Mike Tyson (US)
‘Iron Mike’ comes in at second on the list, and while known as the ‘Baddest Man on the Planet,’ Tyson is one of the greatest fighters to have existed, reigning as the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990, winning 19 of his first professional fights by knockout, 12 of which came in the first round.
1. Muhammed Ali (US)
Considered by many as the greatest boxer the world’s ever seen, it’s safe to say Muhammed Ali won’t be knocked off the top spot for a very long time. The three-time heavyweight champion of the world has defeated some of the legends of the sport, including Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and George Foreman, to amass a fight record of 56-5, with 37 of those wins coming via knockout.