TYSON FURY has walked away from the heavyweight boxing division to play cash-grab with MMA giant Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia.
With Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz – who stunned the world by beating Anthony Joshua in 2019 – refusing to fight each other to decide a mandatory challenger for the WBC Gypsy King, the division is frustrating fans no end.
ReutersTyson Fury is the reigning WBC champion of the world[/caption]
Oleksandr Usyk holds the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO title beltsRichard Pelham / The Sun
But the rest of the rankings are a pick’em blend of falling heroes, rising prospects and champing-at-the-bit-contenders.
As with all of these utterly subjective, fantasy boxing lists, nobody really knows.
But this is how SunSport sees it right now.
10. JARED ANDERSON
GettyJared Anderson is rising up the ranks in America[/caption]
Big Baby is growing in record and reputation, with US promoters Top Rank expecting the 23-year-old to be a sensation.
Fury used the American for sparring before his Wilder wins and agrees with them.
Bizarrely 16-0 Anderson doesn’t seem to love the sport and is treating it like a business he is already looking forward to leaving but he has all the credentials and potential to be the boss of bosses when the current crop start to retire.
9. BAKHODIR JALOLOV
AFPBakhodir Jalolov could be a contender[/caption]
It’s another dark mark on the greedy boxing bureaucracy that this 29-year-old southpaw giant has been allowed to have 13 pro fights while still jetting around the world winning amateur tournaments.
The 6ft 7in leftie is a major problem for everyone in the heavyweight division but he’s currently battering journeymen in the pros and, mainly, kids in the amateurs. Once he commits to the pro ranks he will be a world champion but right now his handlers are exploiting boxing’s bonkers rules and wasting his and our time.
8. FILIP HRGOVIC
Filip Hrgovic could get a shot at Usyk soonGetty
A few fights back the Croatian ‘Animal’ was chairman of the who-needs-him club. A celebrated amateur, a spiteful puncher and a no-nonsense brute who doesn’t care for talking trash or selling tickets.
But he was handed a gift against Zhang and he was taken all 12 rounds by unknown Australian Dempsey McKean in August so nobody is begging for Hrgovic to get his world title shot right now.
But mandatory position with the IBF could get him a shot at Usyk soon.
7. DANIEL DUBOIS
GettyDaniel Dubois put in a good showing against Usyk[/caption]
A controversial choice on current form but both of the Londoner’s defeats have come with caveats.
He was ahead on the cards when he took a knee against Joyce and he floored Usyk with a body punch that was ruled a low blow and is currently being contested by promoter Frank Warren.
The sadly unavoidable fact is that behind Dynamite Dan’s ideal physical characteristics there remains a frail mind that is prone to folding under extreme pressure.
But a bit more maturity, a psychology coach or just a lightbulb moment could cure that and make him a monster.
6. JOE JOYCE
Joyce is in need of a winRichard Pelham / The Sun
The Juggernaut was robbed of 2016 Olympic gold that would have fast-tracked him to a world title in the same way it did for AJ four years early.
But when he beat Daniel Dubois in 2020 he finally became a mainstream star.
The loss to Zhang was disastrous and a repeat will sadly end his status as a serious contender but a win will rocket him back into the reckoning where all-English clashes with Fury and AJ would sell out a football stadium.
5. ZHILEI ZHANG
GettyZhilei Zhang had a big win over Joe Joyce[/caption]
Nobody in their right mind wants to fight a 20st southpaw who struggles to sell tickets outside of his China home so when the 40-year-old battered Joe Joyce in April he catapulted himself into the big leagues.
He was robbed of a win over heavyweight boogie man Filip Hrgovic in the bout before but is now bearing down on the big boys. Time is running out for the veteran and a rematch defeat to Joyce will almost end his top-tier career but a win makes him a major player.
4. ANTHONY JOSHUA
GettyAJ has won his last two fights[/caption]
Another London 2012 golden boy but also another former champion on the slide. There is no shame in losing back-to-back decisions to Usyk but the comeback performances against Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius have underwhelmed.
The history books should never forget the rapid rise through the amateurs, the tear through the division and the excellent way he has conducted himself. But never facing Wilder or Fury will be a stain if AJ’s superb career ends any time soon.
3. DEONTAY WILDER
APDeontay Wilder is still a fearsome opponent despite recent defeats[/caption]
Despite a draw and back-to-back defeats to Fury, Wilder’s stock rose following their iconic trilogy – he was proven not to be just a flat-track bully – and it is a travesty he has done just one round in the two years since.
If he lands that right hand on Usyk, Joshua, Ruiz et al he could well knock them spark out and separate himself from that chasing pack but his inactivity is doing him no favours and he could soon fall lower down the list without a real bout.
2. OLEKSANDR USYK
London 2012 Olympic champion after an amateur record of 94-15, undisputed 14st 4lbs boss inside just 15 pro fights and now the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight ruler.
We are already looking at one of the finest fighters of the modern era. But the step up to 6ft 9in, 19st Fury is massive and would take something superhuman, which the Ukraine southpaw could well be capable of.
1. TYSON FURY
The undefeated 34-year-old giant outboxed Wladimir Klitschko when he was the decade-long don and demolished Bronze Bomber Wilder in two of their three fights to cement his position as top dog.