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Top Five Heavyweight Contenders

The heavyweight scene in boxing has seen drastic changes in the scenery over the past 12 months. Tyson Fury sent shock-waves through the sport with his title victory over Wladimir Klitschko last November in Dusseldorf. For so long the Klitschko brothers had dominated the heavyweight division but after Fury's victory who are the other names we should be looking out for? Fury has since lost his title over his fears for his mental health and reports of drug abuse, meaning the division in now wide open. take a look at some of the contenders for Fury's titles in a new-era for heavyweight boxing.

5. David Haye

Whilst we promised you names for a new-era in the division, it would be dismissive to exclude David Haye from this list. The Hayemaker is back in the fold once again having previously retired in 2012, after a shoulder injury looked to have cut short his career. That injury put paid to a potential fight with Tyson Fury in 2014 but with Haye now working his way back into title contention and the titles that Fury has had to vacate.

Haye's comeback fight came earlier this year as he took on Australian Mark De Mori and despite De Mori being ranked in the WBA's top ten heavyweight fighters, Haye returned with a bang and knocked him out just 113 seconds into the first round. It was certainly a performance that demonstrated Haye's fitness and showed that he had lost none of his punching power in his short retirement, although it must be said that De Mori's performance left a lot to be desired. He followed this up with a similarly convincing win over Arnold Gjergaj but his next opponent is likely to be of a much higher calibre.

The last time Bermondsey-born Haye had a shot at the big time was back in 2011 when he lost via unanimous decision to Wladimir Klitschko. That defeat is perhaps best remembered for Haye comments after the fight regarding his broken toe but still it should not be forgotten just how impressive he was in his prime. The big question is will he ever get back to that level? Now 35-years-old, he has said that he has not returned just for one last pay-day but because he genuinely believes he has a chance at scaling the heights of winning World titles once again.

4. Luis Ortiz

Despite his status as WBA interim Heavyweight Champion, Luis Ortiz appears on this list as it is a fight for the big belts that really craves.At 36-years-old, he is hardly an upcoming youngster and would've perhaps got his big shot earlier had he not twice tested positive for nandrolone. Ortiz however strenuously denies these claims and to this day, still vehemently protests his innocence.

Despite all this, the Cuban can boast an impressive unbeaten record. He has gone on record to stress that he wants to fight the very best in the business and his record certainly suggest he would be worthy opposition for a shot at the big prizes. Ortiz had been scheduled as the next opponent for the winner of the Fury-Klitschko rematch, but with the exact workings of what's going to happen in light of that fight being called off as yet unknown, it remains to be seen what exactly the longer term future will have in fold,

He remains relatively unknown on these shores but given his record, that may not be the case for much longer and especially given the fact he has recently signed a deal with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sport. He is the first foreign boxer to sign with the promotion and he will make his European debut against American Malik Scott in Monaco for the vacant WBA inter-continental heavyweight title.

3. Joseph Parker

At just 24-years-old, time is certainly on Joseph Parker's side but this is a young man who is developing a fearsome reputation despite his tender age. He has made significant inroads down under and has beaten all in his path in native New Zealand and now a move coming to Europe looks to be high on his upcoming agenda.

Parker has drawn many comparisons to Anthony Joshua in his short career to date, due to the explosive nature in which he deals with opponents and his solid amateur background. 18 of his 21 fights have been won via knockout and like Joshua he has found himself occupying a lofty position in the IBF rankings despite his relative inexperience. Parker has said that he expects to cross paths with 27-year-old in the not too distant future and had been the mandatory challenger for Joshua's IBF title. However he has since opted to go down the WBO route in a clash with Andy Ruiz for the belt vacated by Fury.

Victory in that fight in December would really announce the man from South Auckland to the world and promoters and fans alike across the globe would be keen to see him take on Joshua in what could be a huge unification bout.

2. Deontay Wilder

Strictly speaking, in his position as WBC Heavyweight Champion it is perhaps a little disrespectful to merely consider Wilder a contender to Fury's throne. However after Fury ended Wladimir Klitschko's era of dominance and his subsequent troubles, dominance of the division is there for the taking and on paper at least, the 'Bronze Bomber' looks among the best placed men to achieve this.

Wilder's career began with a staggering 32-fight knockout streak as he demolished all before him to eventually beat Bermane Stiverne via unanimous decision. That victory saw him crowned WBC World Heavyweight Champion and in the process become the USA's first heavyweight champion in nine years. He has since defended his title four times and has won via KO on three occasions, with the other victory coming in his most recent fight against Chris Arreola coming after his opponent was forced to retire. His overall record stands at a formidable 37 wins and 36 via KO.

However in that fight with Arreola, Wilder himself suffered significant injuries as he broke his hand and also tore his right bicep. That saw him ruled of action for the remainder of 2016 and as a result miss out on mooted fights with the likes of Klitschko and Joshua. However he has spoken of his intentions to make up for lost time in 2017 and with the division up in the air, he could well capitalise. With the Joshua/ Klitschko fight now on the cards, Wilder may have to bide his time a little longer but he will certainly be targetting the winner.

1. Anthony Joshua

He was always going to make this list wasn't he? Considered by many to be the most exciting British prospect in a number of years, Joshua was won many admirers in his bouts to date. After winning gold at Super Heavyweight in the London 2012 Olympic Games, he has made an efortless transition to professional competition.

After victory against the previously undefeated Dillian Whyte back in December 2015, Joshua's career has seen him catapulted in to the limelight as the next big star of the heavyweight division. The win over Whyte saw AJ win the vacant British Heavyweight title and he got his first shot as global success in a bout with Charles Martin for the IBF Heavyweight title in April. A destructive performance inside two rounds ensures Joshua now call himself a world title holder and he made easy work against Dominic Breazale in his first defence. His record currently stands at an unblemished 17 knockouts from 17 fights huge making for a huge level of excitement surrounding Joshua and for good reason.

He is explosive in his punching and his ability to finish his opponents off early make his fights unmissable viewing. Against Whyte he displayed a previously unseen calmness when things were not going to plan and showed he had the stamina to match his power. His rise has been meteoric but his list of opponents so far hardly makes for a who's who of the heavyweight division. However all that could set to change with a fight with Wladimir Klitschko expected some time in 2017. The Watford-born star has shown a maturity and humbleness that make you believe he remains level headed enough to carefully select his fights but he needs to make his next step a significant one and a bout with Klitschko could make or break his career. He is a frighteningly good prospect and if he overcomes the Ukranian, then the sky is the limit.

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