Other than the great Rocky Marciano, who retired at 49-0, all the great heavyweight boxers were beaten at least once. Sooner or later WBA, IBF, and IBO King Anthony Joshua of England will likely join that long lost. But who’s going to be the first to beat the 28-year-old 2012 Olympic Gold medalist? At 20-0 with a perfect knockout ratio of 100 per cent it’s not going to be an easy task.
Added to the equation is the fact that Joshua’s 6-feet-6-inches tall with an 84-inch reach, making him one of the bigger heavyweights on the scene. He’s not perfect though as his chin is questionable, which was revealed by Wladimir Klitschko in April. In fact, when he does get beaten it’ll likely be by knockout even though he possesses fine recuperative powers along with a huge heart and good boxing skills.
Most of today’s top heavyweights are over 30 years old and their time is running out. Some of them do have a legitimate shot of beating Joshua now matter how slim, and we’ll list them here. These are the 10 current heavyweights with the best chance of derailing the champion’s unbeaten record. Klitschko is also included just in case he decides to reverse his retirement in 2018.
10. Alexander Povetkin
Alexander Povetkin’s been one of the most consistent heavyweights over the years, but has raised eyebrows recently with a couple of failed drug tests. He held the WBA Title from 2011 to 2013 and defended it four times until running into Wladimir Klitschko and losing it by unanimous decision. That’s been his only career loss as he’s 33-1 with 23 Kos. He’s now 38 years old and slowing down though. Povetkin’s also held several regional heavyweight titles and just came off of a lacklustre unanimous decision win over Christian Hammer in December. He had an excellent amateur career, winning gold at the 2004 Olympics, and has fed on a steady diet of good boxers since. These include Larry Donald, Chris Byrd, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev, Marco Huck, Hasim Rahman, Manuel Charr, Carlos Takam, Mariusz Wach and Andriy Rudenko. At 6-foot-2- with a 75-inch reach, Povetkin would need to land a perfect shot to beat Joshua at this stage and his chances of doing that are about 25 per cent.
9. Bryant Jennings
One of the best American heavyweights over the past few years has been Bryant ‘By By’ Jennings of Philadelphia. He’s not huge by today’s standards at 6-feet-3-inches talland the 33-year-old’s not known as a knockout puncher. But his 84-inch reach equals Joshua’s. He’s currently 21-2 with 12 Kos and a knockout ratio of 52 per cent. Jennings was also inactive for 20 months from December 2015 to August, 2017. He’s fought twice this year though with second and third round knockouts over Grade B fighters Daniel Martz and Don Haynesworth respectively. Jennings turned pro in 2010 and has beaten the likes of Maurice Byarm, Sergei Liakhovich, Steve Collins, Bowie Tupou, Artur Szpilka and Mike Perez. His two losses were to Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision in April, 2015 and by seventh-round TKO to Luis Ortiz eight months later. He’s a good boxer, but likely lacks the power to hurt Joshua consistently. His chances of beating the champ are about 30 per cent.
8. Kubrat Pulev
Bulgaria’s Kubrat ‘The Cobra’ Pulev was scheduled to meet Joshua in 2017, but pulled out of the fight due to a shoulder injury and was replaced by Carlos Takam. He’s another aging heavyweight as he’s now 36 and turned pro in 2009 after a fine amateur career. The former 2008 Olympian’s 25-1 as a pro with 13 Kos. He’s not the heaviest of punchers either with a knockout ratio of 50 per cent. Pulev’s lone defeat was at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko by fifth-round KO in November of 2014. His biggest wins have come against Matt Skelton, Dominick Guinn, Derric Rossy, Alexander Dimitrenko, Alexander Ustinov, Tony Thompson, Dereck Chisora, Samuel Peter and Kevin Johnson. At 6-feet-4-inches tall, he also needs to land the perfect shot on the button to beat Joshua and his chances of doing that are about 30 per cent.
7. David Haye
When he puts his mind to it, Londoner David ‘Hayemaker’ Haye’s not a bad boxer. He also has pretty good power with a knockout ratio of 84 per cent and a 28-3 record with 26 Kos. The trash-talker supreme is injury prone and getting longer in the tooth at the age of 37 though. He turned pro as a cruiserweight in 2002 and was a British, European, WBA, WBC and WBO Champion in the 200 lb. Division. He then won the WBA Heavyweight Crown in 2009 from Nikolay Valuev, defended it twice and then dropped a unanimous decision to Wladimir Klitschko in 2011. Haye retired in 2012 and returned in January, 2016. His most well-known victims have been Jean Marc Mormeck, Monte Barrett, Enzo Maccarinelli, John Ruiz, Audley Harrison and Dereck Chisora. His last bout was an 11th-round TKO at the hands of Tony Bellew in which Haye tore his Achilles tendon. The rematch was scheduled for December, but Haye then suffered a bicep injury. If he can beat Bellew in May he might get a shot at Joshua. The 6-foot-3-inch Haye has a 78-inch reach and about a 40 per cent shot at beating Joshua.
6. Tony Bellew
He’s not big at 6-feet-3-inches, isn’t a spring chicken at 35, and doesn’t have overwhelming power with a 59 per-cent knockout ratio. But Liverpool’s Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew has been a very determined pro boxer since 2007 after a fine amateur career. He’s been a British, Commonwealth and International Light Heavyweight Champion as well as an International, European and WBC World Cruiserweight Titleholder. He moved up to the heavyweight division last March when he stopped David Haye in the 11th round. Bellew suffered a broken hand in the fight and the rematch is scheduled for May. He’s 29-2-1 with 19 Kos with losses to Nathan Cleverly by majority decision in 2011 and Adonis Stevenson by fifth-round TKO in 2013. He also drew Isaac Chilemba over 12 rounds the same year. If Bellew beats Haye again in their rematch, he’d be considered as an opponent for Joshua and would have about a 40 per cent chance of upsetting him.
5. Joseph Parker
The only major heavyweight titles Anthony Joshua doesn’t own are the WBO and WBC versions, with New Zealand’s Joseph Parker owning the WBO Belt. The 25-year-old is unbeaten with a mark of 24-0 with 18 Kos. He’s got plenty of power with a 75 per cent knockout ratio, but doesn’t really possess one-punch devastation in his fists. Parker’s not the biggest heavyweight out there either at 6-feet-4-inches and a 76-inch reach. He’s another seasoned ex-amateur who also won several minor and regional titles since turning pro in 2012. Parker hasn’t really faced any elite opponents as of yet with his biggest wins being over Frans Botha, Brian Minto, Kali Meehan, Carlos Takam, Alexander Dimitrenko, Andy Ruiz and Hughie Fury. Still, he’s beaten everybody he’s faced so far even though he’s not too hard to hit and isn’t the fleetest of foot. Parker’s displayed a solid chin though and his power gives him a 45 per cent chance of beating Joshua.
4. Daniel Dubois
Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois is the new kid on the heavyweight block. He’s got youth on his side at the age of 20 and many fans swear he’s the hardest-punching heavyweight out there. Like Joshua, Dubois hails from London, England and has a perfect record with a 100 per cent knockout ratio. He has nowhere near the experience yet as he’s just 6-0. He’s been busy though with six fights since turning pro in April, 2017 and will be back in the ring in February. He has three first-round and three second-round Kos and the longest anyone’s lasted with Dubois has been four minutes and 41 seconds. Like Joshua, he was also a fine amateur with just six losses in 75 bouts. Dubois’ a big guy at 6-foot-5 with a 78-inch reach and he claims he’s already decked Joshua in a sparring session when he was just a teenager. If Dubois can keep it up he’d have a 50/50 shot of beating Joshua if they met mainly due to his tremendous punching power and size.
3. Luis Ortiz
Cuba’s Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz is a bit of a beast in the ring due to his impressive power, but it might not come naturally since he’s had a hard time passing drug tests lately. Either way, he’s undefeated at 28-0 with 24 Kos for a knockout ratio of 80 per cent. He’s 6-feet-4-inches tall, but has an 86-inch reach, which is two inches longer than Joshua’s. He’s 38 years old though so needs a shot at Joshua sooner rather than later. The southpaw went 349-19 as an amateur, won numerous medals and has also held several regional titles since turning pro in 2010. Ortiz has struggled with some opponents such as Malik Scott, but has stopped the likes of Bert Cooper, Monte Barrett, Bryant Jennings and Tony Thompson. He’s a plodding boxer with a seemingly solid chin, but his natural or steroid-induced power gives him a 50/50 shot at beating Joshua, but by KO, not decision.
2. Wladimir Klitschko
Ex-undisputed World Champ Wladimir ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ Klitschko had the perfect opportunity to hand Joshua his first pro loss back in April, 2017 but let him off the hook. The former Olympic gold medalist and long-reigning heavyweight boss decked Joshua in the sixth round after being dropped himself a round earlier. The Ukrainian had the Briton in deep trouble, but made the crucial mistake of not trying to finish him off right then and there. Of course, Joshua recovered and stopped the 41-year-old in the 11th round. Klitschko proved he’s big enough at 6-foot-6 with an 81-inch reach to give Joshua all he can handle. If he happens to change his mind about a rematch with the champ and comes out of retirement in 2018, he’d have a 50/50 chance to finish the job he started last April. Klitschko retired at 64-5 with 53 Kos and a knockout ratio of 77 per cent.
1. Deontay Wilder
The heavyweight with the best chance at beating Joshua is fellow undefeated boxer Deontay Wilder of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Bronze Bomber is 39-0 with 38 Kos for a knockout ratio of 97 per cent. The only man to go the distance with the 32-year-old WBC Champion was Bermane Stiverne in January of 2015. Wilder won an easy unanimous decision though by scores of 118-109, 119-108 and 120-107. He then annihilated Stiverne in the first round with a trio of knockdowns in their rematch in November, 2017. Wilder’s an inch taller than Joshua at 6-foot-7 with an inch shorter reach at 83 inches. He turned pro in 2008 just after winning a bronze medal at the Olympics. Wilder won the title in his first fight with Stiverne and has defended it six times. His list of opponents includes Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Eric Molina, Sergei Liakhovich, Audley Harrison, Malik Scott and Gerald Washington. He’s never been down as a pro and arguably has more power than Joshua. The two are on a collision course to meet in a slugfest in the next year or two with Wilder having about a 60 per cent chance of winning.