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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 Oct. 17. 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)

Joshua, the 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist and unified world titleholder, is one of the biggest sports in the United Kingdom and has a chance to become the biggest star in all of boxing. He has made three title defenses, including his 11th-round knockout of former longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko, whom he sent into retirement following their all-time classic fight in April that drew 90,000 to sold-out Wembley Stadium in London and is the leading fight of the year candidate. Klitschko had the right to a rematch, but decided to retire, leaving Joshua make a mandatory defense against Kubrat Pulev (25-1) on Showtime at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. However, Pulev suffered a training injury and withdrew from the fight. Stepping in for him is the next leading available contender, France's Carlos Takam (35-3-1), the new mandatory challenger. He had been on standby and training as an insurance policy in case something happened to Pulev.
Next: Oct. 28 vs. Takam

2. Deontay Wilder (38-0)
Wilder has scored knockouts in all five of his title defenses, including on Feb. 25, when he stopped Gerald Washington in the fifth round. His team worked out a deal for Wilder to bypass a rematch (for at least one fight) with undeserving mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1), the man he easily outpointed to take the belt in January 2015, so he could instead have the next best thing to a unification fight -- a huge showdown with dangerous, undefeated puncher Luis Ortiz (27-0) on Showtime at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. New York. However, the big-time heavyweight title fight was ruined when Ortiz had his second positive drug test for a banned substance and was booted from the bout. Replacing him will be Stiverne, who is moving up from an undercard bout into the main event for the mandatory bout.
Next: Nov. 4 vs. Stiverne

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. Ortiz suffered a thumb injury and his fight was scrapped, though he remained a mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua. However, he gave up that position by accepting a shot at titleholder Deontay Wilder (38-0) on Showtime at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Nov. 4 in one of the best fights that could be made in the division. And then Ortiz tested positive for a banned substance, the second time since 2014 he failed a drug test and was dropped from the fight. It's a huge bummer and could put Ortiz on ice for an extended period.
Next: TBA

4. Joseph Parker (24-0)
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 in December 2016. 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. Finally, on Sept. 23, Parker traveled to Fury's hometown of Manchester, England and won a majority decision in an awful fight in which both guys hurt their stock with poor performances.
Next: TBA

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 was due to face him on Oct. 28 but suffered a shoulder injury, forcing him to withdraw from the fight and costing him his mandatory position.
Next: TBA

6. Dillian Whyte (21-1)
Whyte, the former British champion, outpointed former world title challenger Dereck Chisora in an epic slugfest that was one of the best fights of 2016 on Dec. 10. 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 returned from an eight-month layoff to hammer journeyman Malcolm Tann, dropping him four times in en route to a third-round knockout victory on Aug. 19 on the Terence Crawford-Julius Indongo undercard. Whyte has been calling out Deontay Wilder for a title shot but will return to face Finland's Robert Helenius (25-1) on the Joshua-Carlos Takam undercard.
Next: Oct. 28 vs. Helenius

7. 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 up he is slated to face former titlist Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1) on the undercard of Deontay Wilder's next fight but when Luis Ortiz was bounced from the main event for a positive drug test, Stiverne was moved up to the main event to face Wilder, leaving Breazeale to face replacement opponent and former two-time world title challenger Eric Molina (26-4).
Next: Nov. 4 vs. Molina.

8. 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

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, former world title challenger Gerald Washington. Miller laid a beating on him and stopped him in the eighth round on July 29. Miller will make his HBO debut against former world title challenger Mariusz Wach (33-2) on the Daniel Jacobs-Luis Arias undercard.
Next: Nov. 11 vs. Wach

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