Historically, it hasn’t been easy for heavyweights to leap into the top 10 in boxing pound-for-pound rankings, largely because of why the term was first coined.
Since the little boxers would never be able to prove in a sanctioned bout against the Big Boys who is exactly the best in the world at any given time, rankings like these have been created to work around this weight gap by comparing achievements and attributes, as well as using the far from scientific eye test to try to assess who could win a Mythic Match if all things were equal.
For this reason, heavyweights have long had an uphill battle to qualify for the rankings when considering their technical skills, especially in this modern age over the past 20 years, which are often rudimentary by comparison. to those of smaller divisions.
WBC and linear heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has been a rare exception in recent years during his miraculous comeback to regain part of the world title. Not only is the 6-foot-9 Fury uniquely qualified for the division as a pure, fast boxer, his huge frame and reach often gives him natural advantages over opponents in his weight class.
Before Fury, everyone from Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko had their own time in the top 10, although that usually had more to do with their combination of longevity, consistency, and end-of-fight power. Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder also drank cups of coffee on the outskirts of P4P but failed to find stamina.
Oleksandr Usyk is a whole different story.
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The former undisputed cruiserweight champion had already become a fixture in most rankings due to how he deftly dominated this division, going through a who’s who of elite talent without tasting defeat. Yet when the former Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine switched to heavyweight in 2019, doubt filled him as to whether his 6-foot-3 frame could withstand the pounding in a new division, especially considering given his lack of knockout power.
Even Usyk’s first big heavyweight victory – a close decision against Dereck Chisora in 2020 – failed to cement the idea that his skills would translate so easily against the elites of super heavyweights of this season. era.
Boy, were we all wrong. Usyk shocked the boxing world as he traveled to Joshua’s London backyard in front of 68,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to upset the unified champion via a unanimous decision to win a trio of heavyweight titles.
Usyk, of course, will have to prove that he can do the impossible a second time around given that Joshua, a true world superstar, entered the fight with a rematch clause. Yet nothing about Usyk’s surprise victory was a fluke.
Now Usyk rises even further on the P4P roster mainly because he embodies a key element that makes up the spirit of the standings: No matter what weight class he competed in, he turned out to be the elite. by unifying the titles in both and relying on his dazzling ability to do so.
Pound for pound ranking
Honorable mention: Juan Francisco Estrada, Artur Beterbiev, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Yordenis Ugas, Shakur Stevenson, Roman Gonzalez