Sports Strength

Who Is The Current Heavyweight Champion In Boxing?

The heavyweight era in boxing from a few decades ago made the term ‘heavyweight’ synonymous with ‘best’ in any given field. Legends like Ali, Foreman, Tyson, and Frazier had that kind of effect on not just the sport, but the whole world. For a long while afterward, it was the lighter weight classes that had the shine in the sport, but in the past few years, heavyweight boxing is back on top in a big way.

With that being said, boxing can be hard to follow with its multiple different champions in each weight class and terms like ‘lineal champ,’ ‘super champ’ and ‘interim champ.’ So to make things easier for you, we’ve made a list of the current champions in heavyweight boxing across the main sanctioning bodies with information about each respective title reign.

To make things quick, there isn’t just one heavyweight champion in the sport. In fact, we’ve been in a four-belt era since 2004, and the last undisputed, unified heavyweight champion was Lennox Lewis. But right now, there are two fighters considered heavyweight champions; Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. If and when they fight, they’ll unify their titles. What titles, you ask? Just scroll down to find out.

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IBF Heavyweight Champion: Anthony Joshua (Apr 2016 – Jun 2019, Dec 2019 – Current)

The British superstar actually holds multiple of the four major sanctioning bodies’ heavyweight titles; the IBF title, the WBO title, the WBA Super title, and the IBO title. He won the first of them, the IBF title, in April of 2016 when he knocked out Charles Martin in round 2, and he has since racked up six successful title defenses against the likes of Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin.

This puts him in tied second place for most defenses of this belt with Mike Tyson, with Klitschko actually in first place with a whopping eighteen defenses. In the summer of 2019, he lost the IBF title, along with his other three belts, to Andy Ruiz in what some people called the sport’s biggest upset since Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson. Sticking to his guns to use his range and outbox Ruiz in December of the same year, he now once again holds the IBF title, along with the other three belts, and the fight on everyone’s mind is the unification bout against Tyson Fury.

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WBA (Super) (World Boxing Association): Anthony Joshua (Apr 2017 – Jun 2019, Dec 2019 – Current)

The WBA (Super) title was made vacant after Tyson Fury tested positive for cocaine. Before that, he was scheduled to fight Klitschko once again, but instead, on April 29th, 2017, Klitschko fought Anthony Joshua in what ended up being one of the greatest heavyweight fights of all time. Joshua won and retained the title against Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker, and Alexander Povetkin before losing it in the first loss of his career against Andy Ruiz. Though it wasn’t the fun fight that fans worldwide necessarily wanted, he did what he needed to do to win it back in their rematch.

What might be confusing to people is that Manuel Charr is the regular WBA heavyweight champion, Trevor Bryan is the interim WBA heavyweight champion, and Robert Helenius is the WBA Gold heavyweight champion. This allows WBA to make extra money on other title defenses, but for all intents and purposes, Joshua is the WBA champion in the heavyweight division. Muhammad Ali holds the record for most WBA heavyweight title defenses with ten from 1974 to 1978.

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WBO (World Boxing Organisation): Anthony Joshua (Mar 2018 – Jun 2019, Dec 2019 – Current)

Anthony Joshua didn’t win the WBO heavyweight title until March of 2018 when he fought Joseph Parker to a unanimous decision in Wales. Just like the WBA (Super), the IBF, and the IBO titles, the WBO title was on the line in all Joshua’s subsequent fights, meaning he defended it his first and only time against Povetkin in September of 2018, lost it to Ruiz and then won it back from Ruiz to close last year out. Joshua only has one defense of this title, putting behind Joseph Parker, Lamon Brewster, Vitali Klitschko, Herbie Hide, Henry Akinwande, and Wladimir Klitschko, who has a whopping nineteen WBO heavyweight title defenses, albeit not consecutively.

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WBC (World Boxing Council): Tyson Fury (Feb 2020 – Current)

Before he walked away from the sport after testing positive for cocaine, Tyson Fury held the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight belts and was the reigning, undefeated king. After his long, well-documented hiatus, he beat Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta to earn a shot at then-WBC champion Deontay Wilder. That fight infamously went to a draw, and it wasn’t until February of this year that he was able to compete in the rematch where he, of course, knocked Wilder out in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

With his win of the WBC title, Fury has officially held all of the four titles at one point or another. You could look at the heavyweight title picture as Joshua holding 75 percent of it and Fury holding 25 percent of it, but unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that.

Due to the fact that Fury beat Wilder, he’s considered by many as the ‘real’ heavyweight champion. He’s also the “lineal champion,” which means as much as you want it to mean. Either way, a fight between Tyson and Anthony is long overdue, with Fury recently suggesting that Joshua should vacate any belts that might cause issues with booking the fight. If we ever get this, it’ll be one of the biggest fights of all time.

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