During the long rich history of the heavyweight division, there have only been 5 champions who ever made 10 or more consecutive title defenses during a single reign.
Of course, the playing field has changed a great deal with the passage of time – originally there was 1 world champion, then there were certain circumstances that evolved where you could have 2 champions in a division, and then in the 80s it became 3, and in modern times we’re up to 4!
But even though the playing field has changed, where the chances of winning 1 of the 4 major world titles has increased with time – the fact remains that there have still only been 5 individuals who ever made 10 or more consecutive heavyweight title defenses.
The Brown Bomber, Joe Louis, is the gold standard, having made an unbelievable 25 title defenses over a period that lasted nearly 12 years.
Next up is Larry Holmes, The Easton Assassin! Holmes had 20 consecutive title defenses.
Then we have Dr. Steelhammer, Wladimir Klitschko! The younger Klitschko accumulated 18 consecutive defenses during his dominant reign as champion.
After that we have to go all the way back to the early 1900s with The Little Giant of Hanover, Tommy Burns. He made 11 consecutive defenses between 1906-1908.
And finally we have The Greatest himself, Muhammad Ali. The three time heavyweight world champion made 10 consecutive defenses during his 2nd reign, and he also managed 9 consecutive defenses during his 1st reign.
A few weeks ago the reigning WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder scored a sensational 1st round knockout against Dominic Breazeale – this marked 9 consecutive title defenses for Wilder. Any way you slice it, that’s an historically significant number. Wilder is reportedly having a rematch later this year against Louis Ortiz, and this will provide Wilder with an opportunity to join a very exclusive club if he can successfully defend his belt for the 10th consecutive time.
This edition of Rummy’s Corner provides some historical context surrounding Wilder’s impressive streak of 9 consecutive title defenses – a streak that has only ever been topped by 5 boxers during the long rich history of heavyweight boxing. For one man’s opinion on this situation, please watch and enjoy the video.