Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson top Joshua's five greatest heavyweight boxers of all time

Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson top Joshua's five greatest heavyweight boxers of all time

Former World Champion Anthony Joshua's top five are seriously hard to argue with as he was named the greatest heavyweight boxer in the history of the sport.

Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, and Muhammad Ali made AJ's list, with Ali coming out on top.


Evander Holyfield

57 fights, 44 wins, 10 losses, 2 draws, 1 no contest

Evander Holyfield during a weigh-in

Now 61 years old, Holyfield is the only four-time heavyweight champion with a total of 29 knockouts. Nicknamed “The Real Deal,” he retired in 2011 and remains the only boxer in history to become undisputed champion of not one, but two weight classes in the three-belt era. He chose an orthodox stance to deliver his legendary punches that obliterated the hopes of any contender. Joshua claimed to have been inspired by a documentary on Holyfield and his devotion to his beliefs. A Christian man with character, who knew how to gain the respect of his people. He describes Holyfield’s impeccable technique as “everything a trainer would ask for.”


Lennox Lewis

44 fights, 41 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw

Lewis is a three-time heavyweight world champion and two-time lineal champion. He is now retired as a proud family man with four children; Landon, Leya, Ling, and Leviah. An impressive total of two losses throughout his entire professional career displays the sheer fortitude of this man. Joshua gave credit where credit is due, stating that Lewis had a big part to play in his own decision to go pro. A mentor and shining example, Joshua talked about Lewis’ key to domination – simplicity. “I don’t think he even got to showcase the best of his ability.” Considering he was the last undisputed heavyweight champion, this statement is a gracious compliment to the talent of Lennox Lewis.


Larry Holmes

75 fights, 69 wins, 6 losses

 “The Easton Assassin” was heavyweight champion from 1973 until 1985, claiming a staggering 44 wins by way of knockout. Holmes also held the IBF heavyweight title from 1983 to 1985. He defeated his good friend Muhammed Ali in a famously controversial fight when Ali’s trainer stopped the battle and crowned Holmes the winner via technical knockout. Holmes officially retired in 2002 and was added to the International Boxing Hall of Fame shortly after in 2008. Joshua picked out Holmes’ signature weapon – his jab. “The jab is such a dangerous shot to throw because it's so easily countered… but Larry Holmes perfected it.” Comparing their stature, Joshua said he studies Holmes when it comes to certain techniques and appeared delighted at the memory of when he met Holmes. Joshua praised him for leaving a legacy and utilising his lethal left hand to take him to the top.



Mike Tyson

58 wins, 50 wins, 6 losses, 2 no contests

 “The beast. The man with a 19-inch neck. The man with quads that made people say ‘Don’t skip leg day!’” Joshua described Tyson with complete admiration. He loved the way Tyson boxed so much that he would crouch down like a 5ft fighter, just to replicate his idol. Even for those who don’t watch boxing, the name Mike Tyson will resonate. Born in New York, Tyson has an incredible story of struggle to succeed, as he grew up troubled and hopeless. Knocking out grown men as a teenager and winning gold medals at the Olympics brought to light a prodigy that changed the world of boxing forever. With 88% of his fights ending by way of knockout, any boxer feared to step into the ring with him. “Iron Mike” won six heavyweight championships.


Muhammed Ali

61 fights, 56 wins, 5 losses

Often regarded as the greatest heavyweight champion of all time by experts, Ali was fast, formidable, and fearless. The first boxer to capture the heavyweight title three times and 37 knockouts in 56 wins, Ali was virtually unstoppable. Regretfully, Ali passed away in 2016 due to the septic shock that came with Parkinson’s disease, thought to be a result of repeated head trauma. “The king of the ring. The finest. The man who brought finesse to the game. The greatest.” Just some of the words Joshua used to define the career of Muhammed Ali, his number one choice. Joshua then reflected on his favourite Ali fight – The Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman. Once again, Ali outsmarted his opponent against all the odds and Joshua highlighted Ali’s renowned boxing brain as a feature like no other.