Who is the best heavyweight boxer in the world?

Two-time heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has held a vice-like grip on glamour division supremacy for years now.

In a 15-year professional career, “The Gypsy King” has posted career-defining triumphs over Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder, while winning every legitimate world title along the way.

Suddenly, however, Fury’s ring invincibility has been quashed by the most unlikely of assailants. It wasn’t Anthony Joshua besting him in a domestic showdown. It wasn’t Deontay Wilder finally putting his rival down for good. And it wasn’t Oleksandr Usyk bedevilling Fury over 12 rounds.

No, it was a former UFC champion who happened to be making his pro boxing debut: Francis Ngannou.

While Fury won a 10-round split decision over Ngannou in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the WBC champion’s reputation has taken a massive hit. He was dropped in round three, his performance was listless, and some fans actually thought Fury lost the fight. Certainly this was no robbery, but Team Fury must have let out an enormous sigh of relief when the decision was announced.

While the boxing world moves on to an undisputed title clash between Fury and Oleksandr Usyk in early 2024, what are the immediate ramifications of Fury-Ngannou when it comes to the ratings?

The Sporting News takes a look at the top 12 heavyweights in the world today.

MORE: An open apology to Francis Ngannou

Sanchez was generally regarded as the finest prospect in heavyweight boxing and he’s been no less impressive since making the transition to contender.

At 6-4 and 250 pounds, “The Cuban Flash” is part of the new breed and the sum of his parts is impressive. Despite his size, Sanchez possesses excellent hand speed, adept positioning, athleticism, and solid technique.

He’s yet to mix with an elite-level opponent but passes the eye test with flying colors. Previously trained by former Ring Magazine Trainer of the Year Eddie Reynoso, Sanchez has since made the switch to Joe Goossen.

Next fight: No fight scheduled.

MORE: Who are the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world today?

A former amateur standout, Hrgovic captured Olympic bronze at Rio 2016 before turning professional the following year.

The Croatian boxer-puncher was impressive during the embryonic stages of his career and concussive stoppage wins became the order of the day. Trained by veteran coaches Ronnie Shields and Pedro Diaz, Hrgovic made steady improvement and there were many who felt it was a case of “when” not “if” he would win a world title.

However, Hrgovic was pushed to the wire by Chinese heavyweight Zhilei Zhang and he wasn’t at his best in a 12th-round stoppage of the previously unbeaten Dempsey McKean.

Next fight: As the IBF’s No.1 contender, Hrgovic is in line to face Oleksandr Usyk.

This amiable New Zealander is a former WBO heavyweight champion who still harbours hopes of getting back on top.

Parker, 31, has sound technique, good movement, and hitting power. These are the very attributes that have seen him secure solid wins over the likes of Andy Ruiz (MD 12), Hughie Fury (MD 12), and Derek Chisora (SD 12, UD 12).

While he has suffered setbacks to Anthony Joshua (UD 12), Dillian Whyte (UD 12), and Joe Joyce (KO 11), Parker was competitive in all of those fights. If he’s fully motivated and in form, the ex-champ will give any heavyweight a tough night’s work.

Next fight: No fight scheduled.

Joyce looked like the future of the heavyweight division and was being marketed as such. Unfortunately, Chinese star Zhilei Zhang hadn’t read the script and has now crushed the “Juggernaut” twice.

Boxing is an unforgiving sport and your luck can change in an instant. Less than six months ago, the boxing world was Joyce’s oyster and now he’s being advised by many fans and experts to retire.

The Olympic bronze medallist’s career-best win came against countryman Daniel Dubois in 2020. With both men coming off losses (Dubois succumbed to a ninth-round knockout at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk in August), maybe a rematch would be timely. Both men are promoted by Frank Warren and fight on the same network.

Next fight: No fight scheduled.

Ortiz honed his technique in the Cuban amateur system before defecting to the U.S. to begin his pro career at the very late age of 31.

Now 44, it’s fair to say that Ortiz has begun a slow decline. His signature triumphs came against Bryant Jennings (TKO 7) and Tony Thompson (KO 6), but those victories seem like a lifetime ago.

Snake-bitten by then-WBC champion Deontay Wilder, who came from behind to stop Ortiz twice, the Cuban star is still considered a legitimate heavyweight force.

In his most recent outing, the southpaw veteran survived two knockdowns before losing a very close decision to Andy Ruiz.

Next fight: No fight scheduled.

One of the most experienced fighters in the division, Whyte has shown the desire and hunger to face any heavyweight out there, but his career is in the balance right now.

Hailing from London, by way of Jamaica, the 35-year-old power puncher has scored impressive wins over Derek Chisora (SD 12, KO 11), Joseph Parker (UD 12), and Oscar Rivas (UD 12).

When it did come time for a world title opportunity, Whyte fell way short against Tyson Fury, who scored an emphatic sixth-round stoppage over his countryman in April 2022.

Top 12 best heavyweights in boxing: Rankings for weight class starring Fury, Usyk, Wilder

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