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Divisional rankings: Heavyweight

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Stephen A. hoping for Joshua, Wilder clash (1:35)

Stephen A. Smith thinks an Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder bout can spark some excitement in boxing's heavyweight division. (1:35)

Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below. If there is a lineal champion in a weight class, he is ranked No. 1.

For a list of the current champions in all weight classes, click here.

Note: Results through August 14. In an effort to provide the most up-to-date rankings, ESPN.com's division-by-division boxing rankings will be updated every Tuesday.

More divisional rankings


Heavyweight - Cruiserweight - Light heavyweight - Super middleweight


Middleweight - Junior middleweight - Welterweight - Junior welterweight


Lightweight - Junior lightweight - Featherweight - Junior featherweight


Bantamweight - Junior bantamweight - Flyweight - Junior flyweight/Strawweight


HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (UNLIMITED)

1. Anthony Joshua (19-0)

In 2012, Joshua won the Olympic super heavyweight gold medal for Great Britain, became a megastar at home and steamrolled his way to becoming a unified world titleholder. He faced the biggest challenge of his career on April 29, when he met former longtime world champion Wladimir Klitschko before a sellout crowd of 90,000 at London's Wembley Stadium, and they produced an all-time classic heavyweight title fight. Joshua survived a knockdown and many difficult moments to score three total knockdowns in a dramatic 11th-round knockout victory as he retained his title and also claimed a vacant belt. Klitschko had the right to a rematch, but decided to retire, leaving Joshua with orders to make two mandatory defenses against Kubrat Pulev (25-1) and Luis Ortiz (27-0). He'll likely face Pulev next in October or November in Cardiff, Wales and possibly have to vacate the other belt unless a deal can be struck.
Next: TBA

2. Deontay Wilder (38-0)
Wilder, a tremendous puncher, has scored knockouts in all five of his title defenses, including on Feb. 25, when he stopped Gerald Washington in the fifth round. Wilder hoped to meet Joseph Parker (22-0) or Anthony Joshua (19-0) in a title unification fight next but forget about those bouts as all three have other fights that will get in the way, including Wilder, who may instead have to fight a pointless mandatory defense against undeserving Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1), the man he easily outpointed to take the belt from in January 2015. Wilder would like to put off that fight and face Luis Ortiz (27-0) but Stiverne's side is pressing hard for the rematch. Whomever Wilder faces next he is likely to be back in mid-November.
Next: TBA

3. Luis Ortiz (27-0)
A 6-foot-4, 240-pound southpaw with raw power, Ortiz, a Cuban defector with tons of amateur experience, signed with adviser Al Haymon in March and was quickly added to the Shawn Porter-Andre Berto undercard to face journeyman Derric Rossy (31-12) on April 22. However, Ortiz suffered a thumb injury and his fight was scrapped, though he remains a mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua. Now that Wladimir Klitschko has retired, eliminating a rematch with Joshua, Ortiz's mandatory has been ordered.
Next: TBA

4. Joseph Parker (23-0)
When Tyson Fury vacated his two sanctioning-body belts, it put New Zealand's Parker in position to face Andy Ruiz Jr. for one of the belts on Dec. 10. In one of the biggest sporting events in New Zealand history, Parker overcame a slow start and managed to edge Ruiz by majority decision to claim the title and become his country's first heavyweight titleholder. Parker's first defense was scheduled to be a mandatory against Hughie Fury (20-0), Tyson's first cousin, in New Zealand. But Fury pulled out with a supposed back injury two weeks before the bout, leaving Parker to face substitute and former sparring partner Razvan Cojanu of Romania on May 6. Parker won a wide decision in an unimpressive performance and boring fight. Next up, the fight with Fury has been rescheduled and Parker will fight him in his hometown of Manchester, England.
Next: Sept. 23 vs. Hughie Fury

5. Kubrat Pulev (25-1)
Bulgaria's Pulev, who got knocked out in a title shot against then-world champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2014, has since won four in a row. On Dec. 3, Pulev's first fight in his home country, he hammered washed-up, out-of-shape former titlist Samuel Peter for three rounds. Peter quit with an apparent arm injury just after the bell rang to begin the fourth round. Pulev returned for his fifth win in a row, also at home, as he rolled to a near-shutout decision against journeyman Kevin Johnson on April 28 to remain in position as one of Anthony Joshua's mandatory challengers. He is likely to get the next shot against Joshua in October or November.
Next: TBA

6. Andy Ruiz Jr. (29-1)
Ruiz, who has tremendous hand speed but is not always in the best condition, traveled to New Zealand to face Joseph Parker for a vacant title on Dec. 10 in a bid to become the first heavyweight of Mexican descent to win a world title. He came up just short of the goal, dropping a majority decision in a fight that was exceptionally close.
Next: TBA

7. Dillian Whyte (20-1)
Whyte, the former British champion, outpointed former world title challenger Dereck Chisora on Dec. 10 in an epic slugfest that was one of the best fights of 2016. The victory was Whyte's fourth in a row since a knockout loss to Anthony Joshua in December 2015, and he deserves another meaningful fight. He was due back to face Poland's Mariusz Wach (33-2), a former world title challenger, in an interesting fight on June 3, but Whyte suffered a foot injury, forcing the card to be postponed. Whyte's return instead will come in his American debut when he will appear on the Terence Crawford-Julius Indongo undercard in Lincoln, Nebraska, against journeyman Malcolm Tann (24-5) in what should be an easy win.
Next: Aug. 19 vs. Tann

8. Dominic Breazeale (18-1)
A 2012 U.S. Olympian, Breazeale gave a good account of himself in a seventh-round knockout loss challenging Anthony Joshua for his world title in June 2016 and bounced back to stop previously undefeated Izuagbe Ugonoh in the fifth round of a hellacious seesaw battle on Feb. 25 -- a candidate for fight of the year.
Next: TBA

9. Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller (19-0-1)
New York's Miller has a big body, a big punch and a big personality. After finally settling a dispute with promoter Dmitry Salita, "Big Baby" returned from an 11-month layoff and took on the best opponent of his career in former world title challenger Gerald Washington. Miller laid a beating on him and stopped him in the eighth round on July 29 on the Mikey Garcia-Adrien Broner undercard.
Next: TBA

10. Adam Kownacki (16-0).
Kownacki, born in Poland and fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, looked outstanding in his last fight when he destroyed former world title challenger and countryman Artur Szpilka via one-sided fourth-round knockout on July 15.
Next: TBA.