Brand New Heavies: There's Big Men Beyond Fury, AJ, Usyk and Wilder

There's a bevy of heavies waiting to climb the mountain and make a name for themselves
08:35, 09 Jan 2022

The heavyweight division is as stacked as its been at any point since the 1990s. In Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, we have two champions who combine elite level skills with no shortage of thrills. Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte, Deontay Wilder, Andy Ruiz Jr and Joseph Parker represent a chasing pack filled with world title experience, ability and punch power. Bubbling under, there is another group of heavyweights looking to make a name for themselves. Introducing the next wave of big men who could be troubling our world champions very soon.

Filip Hrgovic

Olympic bronze medalist Hrgovic already appears to be striking fear into potential opponents. Just this week, former world title challenger Luis Ortiz turned down the offer of an IBF eliminator with ‘Stoneman’. It’s easy to see why. Hrgovic is 14-0 with twelve knockouts, and has stopped rugged veterans Rydell Booker and Amir Mansour, as well as former world title challenger Eric Molina.

Joseph Parker was next in the frame for that IBF eliminator, and the New Zealander would have represented a major step-up in class for Hrgovic. The former WBO champion was similarly unimpressed with the idea of meeting Hrgovic though, and has withdrawn from the running. Tony Yoka is expected to be next on the list for the fight nobody wants.

Joe Joyce

‘Juggernaut’ has been on the cusp for a while now, and has topped up his credentials very ably in his last two fights. In November 2020 he scored a mild upset in stopping fellow unbeaten prospect Daniel Dubois, and he kept his campaign on track with an impressive stoppage of former world title challenger Carlos Takam in 2021.

Joyce is now targeting the biggest fights, and has made no secret of his desire to face WBC, The Ring and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. At the age of 36, time is not on the 13-0 fighter’s side. 2022 will be the year he looks to turn his promise into world title belts.

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Daniel Dubois

The man Joyce conquered in that pivotal 2020 showdown, ‘Dynamite’ realised he had a lot to learn as he was out-boxed by the Olympic silver medalist. The 24-year-old has set about the task of learning it very well. 

A two-round stoppages win over Bogdan Dinu followed, and Dubois then went about impressing a new audience. A first-round knockout of Joe Cusumano on the undercard of the first Jake Paul vs Tyron Woodley bout got eyes on Dubois, and another win in the bank. 

The 18-1 puncher is now the number one contender to the WBA championship, though he has hinted at going the regular title route and facing the winner of Trevor Bryan’s defence against Boxrec’s 256-ranked heavyweight, Jonathan Guidry. So, Trevor Bryan then.

Tony Yoka

The 11-0 Frenchman has been taking apart some extremely good opposition for someone with so few fights. The durable and experienced likes of Christian Hammer, Alexander Dimitrenko and former Deontay Wilder challenger Johann Duhaupas have all felt the sting of ‘L’Artiste’.

The Rio 2016 Olympic champion has complained that he is being avoided by the division’s best, but the elite heavies will not be able to ignore Yoka for long. The once-beaten Martin Bakole is next, and should he sweep the Congolese star aside, there will be a few worried fighters further up the rankings.

Frank Sanchez

The Cuban standout, and friend of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, does not offer the same thrills as some of the other fighters on this list. His controlled boxing style and razor-sharp ring acumen is not the stuff of highlight reels. But similar to Joe Joyce’s awkward brilliance, he has a style that can give anyone fits.

His performance in outpointing a befuddled Efe Ajagba on the Fury-Wilder 3 undercard won him few fans, but was a masterclass in how to nullify a knockout artist. His latest win, just last week over Christian Hammer, was similarly cerebral. Sanchez won’t be in many wars, but beware the heavyweight champion brave enough to step into the ring with a fighter who can have them swiping at thin air.

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