Being a heavy puncher is definitely a blessing for all boxers as it means they’re never out of a fight, no matter how far behind they may be on the scorecards. And with the controversial way some bouts have been scored recently, who wants to leave the outcome in the hand of the judges? This list features the 10 hardest punchers in the sport today. It doesn’t mean they’re the best boxers or have the strongest of chins, but they’re all punishing punchers.
It’s unrealistic to expect all knockouts to result from one devastating punch as it usually takes a combination of them or a methodical beat down in the ring. When we say these are the hardest hitters today, we are taking into consideration their knockout ratios and their ability to hurt opponents on a consistent basis. Not every punch knocks their opponents down or out, but just about every shot they land does some damage.
10. David Benavidez
Oddly enough, David Benavidez may be best known for his brutal seven-punch combination knockout of Rogilio Medina in May of 2017. However, it usually doesn’t take him seven unanswered blows to stop an opponent. The 21-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona was 18-0 with 17 Kos after his first 18 bouts before winning the vacant WBC Super Middleweight Title with a split decision win over Ronald Gavril in September. Benavidez wasn’t at his best that night and was dropped in the 12th and final round. ‘El Bandera Roja’ will now attempt to start a new knockout streak when he meets Gavril in a rematch on Feb. 17, 2018. Benavidez has power and speed in both hands and is one of the most exciting young boxers on the scene today even though he hasn’t faced the toughest opponents in his division as of yet. His perfect 19-0 record with 17 Kos and 89 per cent knockout ratio backs this up.
9. Sergey Kovalev
Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev of Russia is known as being fierce and ruthless in the ring, but his momentum was stopped when he lost a controversial one-point unanimous decision to Andre Ward in November, 2016. Kovalev was then stopped in the eighth round in their rematch via a premature stoppage combined with low blows. He’s got his confidence back now though after the former IBF, WBA and WBO Light Heavyweight Champ regained his WBO crown by stopping Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in the second round a few weeks before Christmas. The 34-year-old inflicts painful shots to the body and head with both hands and stands at 31-2-1 with 27 Kos and a 79 per cent knockout ratio. Kovalev also dropped Bernard Hopkins, Isaac Chilemba and Ward in fights that went the distance, meaning he’s failed to knock down just three of the men he’s faced.
8. Lucas Matthysse
All of Lucas ‘La Maquina’ Matthysse’s victories between 2009 and 2014 came by knockout. And although he did lose a pair of controversial decisions to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander in that span, he still managed to floor the winners. The 35-year-old native of Argentina is one of the hardest body punchers around and he’s not too shabby when he goes to the head either. He’s 38-4 with 35 Kos and a knockout ratio of 81 per cent. He’s also been down on the canvas a few times himself and that’s what makes Matthysse a must-see fighter. He’s stopped the likes of Lamont Peterson, Humberto Soto, Mike Dallas Jr., John Molina Jr., Vivian Harris and Emmanuel Taylor. In fact, he’s managed to knock down all but three of his opponents so far, including decking DeMarcus Corley nine times in 2011. Matthysse has yet to win a full world title, but that may change when he meets Tewa Kiram for the vacant WBA Welterweight Belt on Jan. 27, 2018.
7. Dmitry Kudryashov
When Dmitry Kudryashov of Russia gets into the ring, fans can be assured that somebody’s going to get knocked out and it may even be Kudryashov. The 32-year-old, known as the Russian Hammer, has been in 23 pro fights so far with all 23 of them ending in a knockout. The good news is that he’s 21-2 in his career and the bad news is that he was stopped by Yunier Dorticos in the second round in September in a fight for the WBA World Cruiserweight Title. Kudryashov may have fought a lot of Grade B opponents before meeting Dorticos, but most of them had winning records. The Russian’s other loss was by second-round stoppage to Olanrewaju Durodola in November, 2015, but he avenged it with a fifth-round KO 19 months later. Kudryashov has limited technical skills and little defense, but he’s second to none when it comes to excitement thanks to his left hook and straight right hand.
6. Artur Beterbiev
Russian light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev has a no-nonsense approach when it comes to boxing. He simply walks forward and wears his opponents down with vicious shots to the head and body. It’s definitely worked for him so far since he’s just one of two boxers on this list who have perfect 100 per cent knockout records. The Montreal-based fighter won the vacant IBF World Light Heavyweight Title in November, 2017 by stopping Enrico Koelling in the 12th and final round. That win extended his streak to 12-0 with 12 Kos. He’s stopped some decent boxers so far as a pro such as Gabriel Campillo, Jeff Page Jr. and Tavoris Cloud and also owns a win over Sergey Kovalev as an amateur. Beterbiev has power in both hands, and now the 32-year-old just needs to raise his level of competition.
5. Gennady Golovkin
Even though Gennady Golovkin’s 23-knockout streak came to an end against Danny Jacobs in March, 2017, he still floored him and then rocked Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez several times in their disputed draw in September. Yes, the native of Kazakhstan’s 35 years old now, but Triple G still has a heck of a lot of power in his fists. The WBA, IBF, IBO and WBC Middleweight Champion has racked up an unbeaten record of 37-0-1 with 33 Kos for a knockout ratio of 87 per cent. He also has fine boxing skills to back up his power just in case his opponent doesn’t fall. Golovkin’s a wicked body and head puncher and has stopped some solid pros including Kell Brook, David Lemieux, Curtis Stevens, Martin Murray, Daniel Geale, Marco Antonio Rubio, Matthew Macklin and Gabriel Rosado. We’ll see if he can set the record straight against Alvarez when they hopefully meet in a rematch.
4. Luis Ortiz
One of the heaviest hitting heavyweights at the moment is Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz of Cuba. He’s a legitimate threat to champions Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder due to his thudding power. Ortiz isn’t the silkiest of boxers, but he eventually catches up to most of his opponents and puts an end to the proceedings. Nobody’s certain how old this guy is even though he’s listed as being 38. But we do know he’s 28-0 with 24 Kos and a knockout ratio of 80 per cent. He’s a 6-foot-4-inch southpaw and his 84-inch reach definitely helps. Ortiz hasn’t faced the toughest opponents as of yet due to failed drug tests and boxers ducking him. His best wins have been against Monte Barrett, Bryant Jennings and Tony Thompson, but he’ll likely be meeting Wilder in 2018 and we’ll see just how good he really is.
3. Yunier Dorticos
Most Cuban boxers prefer to use their exceptional skills in the ring, but Yunier Dorticos is an exception. This guy simply wants to get the fight over with as soon as possible and leave nothing in the hands of the judges. The 31-year-old recently crushed Dmitry Kudryashov inside of two rounds in September to win the WBA World Cruiserweight Championship. Dorticos is now 22-0 with 21 Kos for a knockout ratio of 95 per cent. The only man to take him the distance was Edison Miranda when they went 10 rounds in 2014. Dorticos is scheduled to defend his title against the unbeaten Murat Gassiev on Feb. 23, 2018 in what promises to be a potential fight of the year candidate. The Cuban’s chin hasn’t really been tested yet as he’s blown most guys away, but Gassiev has 18 Kos himself along with good boxing skills.
2. Deontay Wilder
WBC Heavyweight Champ Deontay Wilder doesn’t have a perfect knockout record, but at 97 per cent it’s as close as it gets. However, the 32-year-old native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama has managed to knock out every opponent he’s faced as a pro. He beat Bermane Stiverne by unanimous decision to win the WBC crown in January, 2015, then blasted him out in the first round of their November, 2017 rematch. This makes him 39-0 with 38 Kos with stoppage wins against every man he faced. He’s a tall, lanky heavyweight at 6-foot-7 with thin legs, but still manages to generate an awful amount of power in his punches, much like Tommy Hearns was able to do. Wilder’s a natural-born puncher and he’s used his gift to advantage so far. The Bronze Bomber’s ultimate test will be against Anthony Joshua, but he’ll likely have to get past the hard-hitting Luis Ortiz first.
1. Anthony Joshua
It’s hard to say if England’s IBF, WBA and IBO Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua hits harder than Deontay Wilder, but he does have a 100 per cent knockout record at 20-0. He’s also taken on slightly tougher opponents than his American counterpart, including Wladimir Klitschko, Carlos Takam, Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Kevin Johnson and Dillian Whyte. The 28-year-old has been so successful in the ring because of his killer instinct. When he hurts his opponent he makes sure he goes in to finish him off, as was the case with Klitschko. Joshua does have a weakness though and that’s a questionable chin. He’s reportedly been dropped more than once in sparring sessions and had to get up from the canvas against Klitschko. If and when Joshua does meet Wilder or Ortiz, he better hope he lands the first big punch.