It’s been a great, great year for the heavyweight division, with some terrific and memorable action – to be remembered years from now – with some big and meaningful fights taking place. A number of the big men of the sport enjoyed a fine 12 months and it’s interesting to look back and decide just which fighter is deserving of being referred to as The Heavyweight of the Year 2018.
Let’s start with the world champions:
Deontay Wilder, 40-0-1(39) and the reigning WBC champion, was the first champ to see action in 2018. Wilder scored an impressive, at times thrilling stoppage win over Luis Ortiz on March 3rd, this victorious performance telling us plenty about Wilder’s heart and ability to overcome adversity. Then, in December, in a fight that many said would never happen, Wilder went at it with the returning Tyson Fury.
This fight was a classic Boxer Vs. Puncher showdown and both men had their share of success. The drawn verdict was controversial, but the iconic image of the felled and seemingly “asleep” Fury getting back up, “from the ashes,” in the final round having been chopped down by a crushing right followed by a lethal left stole the show.
Wilder sees out the year having gone 1-0-1(1).
Anthony Joshua, 22-0(21) and the WBA/IBF/WBO ruler, also fought twice in 2018. Back in March, on the 31st, AJ boxed a veritable snoozer with WBO champ Joseph Parker. The fight lacked excitement yet the decision win was pretty big for Joshua in that it saw him add another belt to his collection. Then, in September, taking care of a mandatory, Joshua overcame a rough start to blast out former WBA champ Alexander Povetkin in a far more exciting affair.
Joshua sees out the year having gone 2-0(1).
Tyson Fury, 27-0-1(19) and the reigning lineal king, fought three times this year. Having returned to action following his very intense and personal battle with depression, Fury won as he pleased against Sefer Seferi in June, and against Francesco Pianeta in August. Then Fury fought the big one, arguably the most dramatic fight of the year, heavyweight division or any weight division.
The Wilder fight was special, that 12th-round very much so. Fury didn’t get the win but he won plenty of respect, a great deal of personal satisfaction and “The Gypsy King” almost certainly won himself a rematch with Wilder.
Fury sees out the year having gone 2-0-1(1).
Former WBO champ Joseph Parker, 25-2(19) went to battle three times in 2018. The New Zealander lost his belt to Joshua in a disappointing fight and then lost another decision, albeit a far more thrilling one that saw Parker come close to pulling off a final-round stoppage, to Dillian Whyte in July. Parker then returned and, showing his “nasty side” crushed Alexander Flores (with the aid of a low blow) in December.
Parker sees out 2018 having gone 1-2(1).
Dillian Whyte had a great year. Now 25-1(18). Whyte rumbled three times over the year. Having smashed Lucas Browne in dominant fashion in March, Whyte then went to war with another fighter from that side of the world. The win over Parker was the result of a great effort and Whyte had already done enough to have earned a world title shot. Then, just last weekend, Whyte put the icing on his 2018 cake with that sick KO over bitter rival Dereck Chisora. Whyte is clearly the most deserving heavyweight contender on the scene when it comes to a world title shot.
Whyte sees out 2018 having gone 3-0(2).
Jarrell Miller, 23-0-1(20) also enjoyed a busy year, having fought three times. Miller decisioned the tough and durable Johan Duhaupas in April, while “Big Baby” then swatted an over-matched Tomasz Adamek in quick fashion in an October mismatch. In his final fight of the year, the 315 pound man-mountain blew away the little-known Bogdan Dinu in November. Is Miller as good a fighter as he is talker? Hopefully we will find out in 2019. Miller is set to fight again on January 18th, possibly against Trevor Bryan.
Miller sees out 2018 having gone 3-0(2).
Luis Ortiz, 30-1(26) rebounded from his loss to Wilder by scoring easy stoppage wins over Razvan Cojanu in July and then Travis Kauffman in December. Ortiz remains a threat to anyone despite his age.
Ortiz sees out 2018 having gone 2-1(2).
So who was the heavyweight of the year? For me, Tyson Fury deserves the distinction: the man who stood up!