World heavyweight boxing championship records and statistics

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At the beginnings of boxing, the heavyweight division had no weight limit and the category historically has been vaguely defined. In the 19th century, for example, many heavyweight champions weighed 170 pounds (12 st 2 lb, 77 kg) or less (although others weighed 200 pounds). The first heavyweight champion under the Marquess of Queensberry rules was John L. Sullivan, known as "The Boston Strong Boy". He weighed around 200 pounds when in shape and was a bare-knuckle champion. He was defeated by Jim Corbett on September 7, 1892, in 21 rounds. In 1920, the minimum weight for a heavyweight was set at 175 pounds (12 st 7 lb, 79 kg), which today is the light heavyweight division maximum. Since 1980, for most boxing organizations, the maximum weight for a cruiserweight has been 200 pounds. Boxers who weigh 200 pounds and over (14 st 3 lb, 90 kg) are considered heavyweights by the major professional boxing organizations: the International Boxing Federation,[1] the World Boxing Association,[2] the World Boxing Council,[3] and the World Boxing Organization.[4]

Since the 1960s, the heavyweight title has become fractured amongst various sanctioning organizations, and so what was once known as the single "Heavyweight Champion", is now referred to as the "Undisputed Champion" as the one fighter that has defeated all the other titlists. However, there is no officially declared definition of the term, as major boxing organizations refer to all boxers holding at least two world titles in their respective division as Unified champions.[5][6][7] Some title reigns are not recognized as official reigns due to long periods of inactivity, legitimacy of title, false billing and promotion. In March 1967, Muhammad Ali was systematically denied a boxing license in every state and stripped of his passport because of his refusal to be inducted into the armed forces. He was stripped of WBC and WBA titles but remained The Ring and lineal boxing champion, despite not having a boxing match until October 1970. In 2005, Ukrainian boxer Vitali Klitschko retired as WBC Champion. Following his retirement, the WBC conferred "champion emeritus" status on Klitschko, and assured him he would become the mandatory challenger if and when he decided to return.[8] On August 3, 2008 the WBC awarded Klitschko a chance to regain his WBC Heavyweight title against then-champion Samuel Peter. Vitali regained the title after Peter asked the bout be stopped after the eighth round.

Contents

Championship recognition[edit]

1884–1921[edit]

Champions were recognized by public acclamation. A champion in that era was a fighter who had a notable win over another fighter and kept winning afterward. Retirements or disputed results could lead to a championship being split among several men for periods of time. With only minor exceptions, the heavyweight division remained free from dual title-holders until the 1960s. For an early example, see the 1896 World Heavyweight Championship.

Sanctioning organizations: 1921–present[edit]

Gradually, the role of recognizing champions in the division evolved into a more formal affair, with public acclamation being supplemented (or in some cases, contradicted) by recognition by one or more athletic commissions, sanctioning organizations, or a combination of them. The most notable examples with respect to the heavyweight division have included:

There are also titles that aren't considered major but play a significant role in legitimizing the heavyweight champion:

  • Lineal championship was considered as the only form of the world championship until 1921. In professional boxing, the lineal champion is informally called "the man who beat the man", implying that the only way to win the championship is either to beat the current champion or (when the title is vacated due to suspension, retirement etc.) to become the winner of a fight between No. 1 and No. 2 (occasionally No. 3) ranked contenders.
  • The Ring began awarding championship belts in 1922, stopped giving belts to world champions in the 1990s, then reintroduced their title in 2002, and ignored the current ongoing world championship lineage. Under the original version of the policy, you could win the title by either defeating the reigning champion or winning a box-off between the magazine's No. 1 and No. 2 (occasionally No. 3) ranked contenders. A fighter could not be stripped of the title unless he lost or retired. Since May 2012, under the new policy, The Ring title can be awarded when the No. 1 and No. 2 contenders face each other or when either of them faces No. 3, No. 4 or No. 5 contender. In addition, the title can be taken away by losing the fight, not scheduling a fight for 18 months, not scheduling a fight with a top 5 contender for two years, or retiring.[9]

Most opponents beaten in title fights[edit]


These lists do not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921, although they only include heavyweight champions that have also captured The Ring or lineal title.

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note 1: WBA (Regular) champions are not included
Note 2: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]

The Ring/lineal championships + all other reigns[edit]

Pos. Name Reign began-ended Recognition Beaten opponents
1. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 1. October 14, 2000 — March 8, 2003
2. April 22, 2006 — November 28, 2015
1. WBO
2. IBF, WBO, WBA
23
2. United States Joe Louis June 22, 1937 — March 1, 1949 NYSAC, NBA 22
3. United States Muhammad Ali 1. February 25, 1964 – March 11, 1969
2. October 30, 1974 — February 15, 1978
3. September 15, 1978 — October 18, 1979
1. WBA, WBC
2. WBA, WBC
3. WBA
21
4. United States Larry Holmes June 9, 1978 — September 21, 1985 WBC, IBF 20
5. United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis 1. December 14, 1992 — September 24, 1994
2. February 7, 1997 — April 22, 2001
3. November 17, 2001 — February 6, 2004
1. WBC
2. WBC, WBA, IBF
3. WBC, IBF
15
5. Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 1. June 26, 1999 — April 1, 2000
2. April 24, 2004 — November 9, 2005
3. October 11, 2008 — December 15, 2013
1. WBO
2. WBC
3. WBC
15
7. United States Mike Tyson 1. November 22, 1986 — February 11, 1990
2. March 16, 1996 — November 9, 1996
1. WBC, WBA, IBF
2. WBC, WBA
11
8. United States Joe Frazier March 4, 1968 — January 22, 1973 NYSAC, WBA, WBC 10
9. United States Evander Holyfield 1. October 25, 1990 — November 13, 1992
2. November 6, 1993 — April 22, 1994
3. November 9, 1996 — November 13, 1999
4. August 12, 2000 — March 3, 2001
1. WBC, WBA, IBF
2. WBA, IBF
3. WBA, IBF
4. WBA
9
9. Canada Tommy Burns February 23, 1906 — December 26, 1908 lineal 9
11. United States Ezzard Charles September 27, 1950 — July 18, 1951 NBA, NYSAC 8
12. United States Floyd Patterson 1. November 30, 1956 — June 26, 1959
2. June 20, 1960 — September 25, 1962
NYSAC, NBA 7
12. United States Jack Johnson December 26, 1908 — April 5, 1915 lineal 7
14. United States James J. Jeffries June 9, 1899 — May 13, 1905 lineal 6
14. United States Jack Dempsey July 4, 1919 — September 23, 1926 lineal-to-NBA and NYSAC 6

The Ring/lineal championships, unified championships, victories over champions[edit]

The list only includes title reigns during which the champion:

  • has won The Ring/lineal championship
  • unified[5][6][7] the titles
  • defeated a fighter that either had to drop his own world title prior to the fight due to organization's championship policy or would later become the world champion whilst the winner's reign was still active

As of November 21, 2019.

Pos. Name Reign began-ended Recognition Beaten champions Beaten opponents
1. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 1. October 14, 2000 — March 8, 2003
2. April 22, 2006 — November 28, 2015
1. WBO
2. unified + The Ring, lineal
1. Chris Byrd, IBF

23
2. United States Joe Louis June 22, 1937 — March 1, 1949 NYSAC, NBA + The Ring, lineal 22
3. United States Muhammad Ali 1. February 25, 1964 – March 11, 1969
2. October 30, 1974 — February 15, 1978
3. September 15, 1978 — October 18, 1979
1. unified + The Ring, lineal
2. unified + The Ring, lineal
3. WBA + The Ring, lineal
21
4. United States Larry Holmes June 9, 1978 — September 21, 1985 WBC-to-IBF + The Ring, lineal Mike Weaver, WBA 20
5. United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis 1. February 7, 1997 — April 22, 2001
2. November 17, 2001 — February 6, 2004
1. unified + The Ring, lineal
2. unified + The Ring, lineal
1. Evander Holyfield, WBA

12
6. United States Mike Tyson 1. November 22, 1986 — February 11, 1990
2. March 16, 1996 — November 9, 1996
1. unified + lineal
2. unified
11
7. United States Joe Frazier March 4, 1968 — January 22, 1973 unified + The Ring, lineal 10
8. Canada Tommy Burns February 23, 1906 — December 26, 1908 lineal 9
9. United States Evander Holyfield 1. October 25, 1990 — November 13, 1992
2. November 6, 1993 — April 22, 1994
3. November 9, 1996 — November 13, 1999
1. unified + lineal
2. unified + lineal
3. unified
8
9. United States Ezzard Charles September 27, 1950 — July 18, 1951 NBA, NYSAC + The Ring, lineal 8
11. United States Floyd Patterson 1. November 30, 1956 — June 26, 1959
2. June 20, 1960 — September 25, 1962
NYSAC, NBA + The Ring, lineal 7
11. United States Jack Johnson December 26, 1908 — April 5, 1915 lineal 7
11. United States James J. Jeffries June 9, 1899 — May 13, 1905 lineal 7
14. United States Jack Dempsey July 4, 1919 — September 23, 1926 NYSAC, NBA + The Ring, lineal 6
15. United States Rocky Marciano September 23, 1952 — April 27, 1956 NYSAC, NBA + The Ring, lineal 5
15. United States George Foreman 1. January 22, 1973 — October 30, 1974
2. November 4, 1994 — June 29, 1995
1. unified + The Ring, lineal
2. unified + The Ring, lineal
5

Most wins in title fights[edit]

These lists do not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921, although they only include heavyweight champions that have also captured The Ring or lineal title.

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note 1: WBA (Regular) champions are not included
Note 2: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]

The Ring/lineal championships + all other reigns[edit]

Pos. Name Reign began-ended Recognition Title fight wins
1. United States Joe Louis June 22, 1937 — March 1, 1949 NYSAC, NBA 27
2. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 1. October 14, 2000 — March 8, 2003
2. April 22, 2006 — November 28, 2015
1. WBO
2. IBF, WBO, WBA
25
3. United States Muhammad Ali 1. February 25, 1964 – March 11, 1969
2. October 30, 1974 — February 15, 1978
3. September 15, 1978 — October 18, 1979
1. WBA, WBC
2. WBA, WBC
3. WBA
22
4. United States Larry Holmes June 9, 1978 — September 21, 1985 WBC, IBF 20
5. United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis 1. December 14, 1992 — September 24, 1994
2. February 7, 1997 — April 22, 2001
3. November 17, 2001 — February 6, 2004
1. WBC
2. WBC, WBA, IBF
3. WBC, IBF
15
5. Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 1. June 26, 1999 — April 1, 2000
2. April 24, 2004 — November 9, 2005
3. October 11, 2008 — December 15, 2013
1. WBO
2. WBC
3. WBC
15
7. United States Mike Tyson 1. November 22, 1986 — February 11, 1990
2. March 16, 1996 — November 9, 1996
1. WBC, WBA, IBF
2. WBC, WBA
12
8. Canada Tommy Burns February 23, 1906 — December 26, 1908 lineal 11
9. United States Joe Frazier March 4, 1968 — January 22, 1973 NYSAC, WBA, WBC 10
9. United States Evander Holyfield 1. October 25, 1990 — November 13, 1992
2. November 6, 1993 — April 22, 1994
3. November 9, 1996 — November 13, 1999
4. August 12, 2000 — March 3, 2001
1. WBC, WBA, IBF
2. WBA, IBF
3. WBA, IBF
4. WBA
10
11. United States Ezzard Charles September 27, 1950 — July 18, 1951 NBA, NYSAC 9
12. United States Floyd Patterson 1. November 30, 1956 — June 26, 1959
2. June 20, 1960 — September 25, 1962
NYSAC, NBA 8
12. United States James J. Jeffries June 9, 1899 — May 13, 1905 lineal 8
14. United States Jack Johnson December 26, 1908 — April 5, 1915 lineal 7
14. United States Rocky Marciano September 23, 1952 — April 27, 1956 NYSAC, NBA 7

The Ring/lineal championships, unified championships, victories over champions[edit]

The list only includes title reigns during which the champion:

  • has won The Ring/lineal championship
  • unified[5][6][7] the titles
  • defeated a fighter that either had to drop his own world title prior to the fight due to organization's championship policy or would later become the world champion whilst the winner's reign was still active

As of November 21, 2019.

Pos. Name Reign began-ended Recognition Beaten champions Title fight wins
1. United States Joe Louis June 22, 1937 — March 1, 1949 NYSAC, NBA + The Ring, lineal 27
2. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 1. October 14, 2000 — March 8, 2003
2. April 22, 2006 — November 28, 2015
1. WBO
2. unified + The Ring, lineal
1. Chris Byrd, IBF

25
3. United States Muhammad Ali 1. February 25, 1964 – March 11, 1969
2. October 30, 1974 — February 15, 1978
3. September 15, 1978 — October 18, 1979
1. unified + The Ring, lineal
2. unified + The Ring, lineal
3. WBA + The Ring, lineal
22
4. United States Larry Holmes June 9, 1978 — September 21, 1985 WBC-to-IBF + The Ring, lineal Mike Weaver, WBA 20
5. United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis 1. February 7, 1997 — April 22, 2001
2. November 17, 2001 — February 6, 2004
1. unified + The Ring, lineal
2. unified + The Ring, lineal
1. Evander Holyfield, WBA

12
6. United States Mike Tyson 1. November 22, 1986 — February 11, 1990
2. March 16, 1996 — November 9, 1996
1. unified + lineal
2. unified
12
7. Canada Tommy Burns February 23, 1906 — December 26, 1908 lineal 11
8. United States Joe Frazier March 4, 1968 — January 22, 1973 unified + The Ring, lineal 10
9. United States Evander Holyfield 1. October 25, 1990 — November 13, 1992
2. November 6, 1993 — April 22, 1994
3. November 9, 1996 — November 13, 1999
1. unified + lineal
2. unified + lineal
3. unified
9
9. United States Ezzard Charles September 27, 1950 — July 18, 1951 NBA, NYSAC + The Ring, lineal 9
11. United States Floyd Patterson 1. November 30, 1956 — June 26, 1959
2. June 20, 1960 — September 25, 1962
NYSAC, NBA + The Ring, lineal 8
11. United States James J. Jeffries June 9, 1899 — May 13, 1905 lineal 8
13. United States Jack Johnson December 26, 1908 — April 5, 1915 lineal 7
13. United States Rocky Marciano September 23, 1952 — April 27, 1956 NYSAC, NBA + The Ring, lineal 7
14. United States Jack Dempsey July 4, 1919 — September 23, 1926 NYSAC, NBA + The Ring, lineal 6

Most opponents beaten during one title reign[edit]

These lists do not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921, although they only include title streaks during which the champion captured The Ring or lineal title.

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note 1: WBA (Regular) champions are not included
Note 2: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]
Pos. Name Reign began-ended Recognition Opponents beaten
1. United States Joe Louis June 22, 1937 — March 1, 1949 NYSAC, NBA 21
2. United States Larry Holmes June 9, 1978 — September 21, 1985 WBC, IBF 19
3. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko April 22, 2006 — November 28, 2015 IBF, WBO, WBA 17
4. United States Muhammad Ali October 30, 1974 — February 15, 1978 WBA, WBC 10
5. United States Mike Tyson November 22, 1986 — February 11, 1990 WBC, WBA, IBF 9
5. United States Joe Frazier March 4, 1968 — January 22, 1973 NYSAC, WBA, WBC 9
5. Canada Tommy Burns February 23, 1906 — December 26, 1908 lineal 9
8. United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis February 7, 1997 — April 22, 2001 WBC, WBA, IBF 8
8. United States Jack Johnson December 26, 1908 — April 5, 1915 lineal 8
8. United States Ezzard Charles September 27, 1950 — July 18, 1951 NBA, NYSAC 8
11. United States James J. Jeffries June 9, 1899 — May 13, 1905 lineal 6
12. United States Rocky Marciano September 23, 1952 — April 27, 1956 NYSAC, NBA 5
13. United States Jack Dempsey July 4, 1919 — September 23, 1926 lineal-to-NBA and NYSAC 5
13. United States John L. Sullivan August 29, 1885 — September 7, 1892 lineal 5

Most consecutive defenses of the title[edit]

These lists do not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921, although they only include title streaks during which the champion captured The Ring or lineal title.

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note 1: WBA (Regular) champions are not included
Note 2: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]
Pos. Name Reign began-ended Recognition Title defenses
1. United States Joe Louis June 22, 1937 — March 1, 1949 NYSAC, NBA 26
2. United States Larry Holmes June 9, 1978 — September 21, 1985 WBC, IBF 19
3. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko April 22, 2006 — November 28, 2015 IBF, WBO, WBA 18
4. Canada Tommy Burns February 23, 1906 — December 26, 1908 lineal 11
4. United States Muhammad Ali October 30, 1974 — February 15, 1978 WBA, WBC 10
6. United States Mike Tyson November 22, 1986 — February 11, 1990 WBC, WBA, IBF 9
6. United States Joe Frazier March 4, 1968 — January 22, 1973 NYSAC, WBA, WBC 9
6. United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis February 7, 1997 — April 22, 2001 WBC, WBA, IBF 9
9. United States Jack Johnson December 26, 1908 — April 5, 1915 lineal 8
9. United States Ezzard Charles September 27, 1950 — July 18, 1951 NBA, NYSAC 8
11. United States James J. Jeffries June 9, 1899 — May 13, 1905 lineal 7
12. United States Rocky Marciano September 23, 1952 — April 27, 1956 NYSAC, NBA 6
13. United States Jack Dempsey July 4, 1919 — September 23, 1926 lineal-to-NBA and NYSAC 5
13. United States John L. Sullivan August 29, 1885 — September 7, 1892 lineal 5

Longest title reigns[edit]

Keys:

     Active Title Reign
     Reign has ended
Note 1: WBA (Regular) champions are not included
Note 2: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]
Note 3: The names in italics are champions that haven't won The Ring/lineal championship

Combined reigns — The Ring/lineal championships + all other reigns[edit]

As of 5 May 2019. This list includes only major titles, and it does not include lineal championships after 1921.

Pos. Name Combined reign Days as champion Number of reigns Title recognition
1. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 12 years, 0 months, 0 days 4 382 2 IBF, WBA, WBO
2. United States Joe Louis 11 years, 8 months, 8 days 4 270 1 NYSAC, NBA
3. United States Muhammad Ali 9 years, 5 months, 5 days 3 443 3 NYSAC, WBC, WBA
4. United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis 8 years, 5 months, 13 days 3 086 3 WBC, IBF, WBA
5. Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 7 years, 5 months, 28 days 2 735 3 WBO, WBC
6. United States Larry Holmes 7 years, 3 months, 12 days 2 661 1 WBC, IBF
7. United States Jack Dempsey 7 years, 2 months, 19 days 2 638 1 NYSAC, NBA
8. United States John L. Sullivan 7 years, 0 months, 10 days 2 566 1 lineal
9. United States Jack Johnson 6 years, 3 months, 11 days 2 292 1 lineal
10. United States Evander Holyfield 6 years, 1 month, 1 day 2 223 4 WBA, WBC, IBF
11. United States James J. Jeffries 5 years, 11 months, 4 days 2 156 1 lineal
12. United States Joe Frazier 4 years, 10 months, 18 days 1 785 1 NYSAC, WBA, WBC
13. United States Floyd Patterson 4 years, 10 months, 0 days 1 765 2 NYSAC, NBA
14. United States James J. Corbett 4 years, 6 months, 10 days 1 652 1 lineal
15. United States Jess Willard 4 years, 2 months, 29 days 1 551 1 lineal
Vitali Klitschko (right) retired as champion in 2005. Following his retirement, the WBC conferred "champion emeritus" status on Klitschko, and assured him he would become the mandatory challenger if and when he decided to return

Unofficial long title reigns[edit]

Pos. Name Combined reign Days as champion Number of reigns Title recognition
N/A Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 10 years, 4 months, 29 days 3 802 2 WBO, Full WBC-to-WBC Emeritus-to-Full WBC (+The Ring vacated)
N/A United States Muhammad Ali 10 years, 1 month, 16 days 3 689 3 The Ring/+lineal (+WBA, +WBC)

Combined reigns — The Ring/lineal championships, unified championships, victories over champions[edit]

As of 24 September 2018. The list does not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921, although it only includes heavyweight champions that have also captured The Ring or lineal title. The list only includes title reigns during which the champion:

  • has won The Ring/lineal championship
  • unified[5][6][7] the titles
  • defeated a fighter that either had to drop his own world title prior to the fight due to organization's championship policy or would later become the world champion whilst the winner's reign was still active
Pos. Name Combined reign Days as champion Number of reigns Title recognition
1. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 12 years, 0 months, 0 days 4 382 2 IBF, WBA, WBO
2. United States Joe Louis 11 years, 8 months, 8 days 4 270 1 NYSAC, NBA
3. United States Muhammad Ali 9 years, 5 months, 5 days 3 443 3 NYSAC, WBC, WBA
4. United States Larry Holmes 7 years, 3 months, 12 days 2 661 1 WBC, IBF
5. United States Jack Dempsey 7 years, 2 months, 19 days 2 638 1 NYSAC, NBA
6. United States John L. Sullivan 7 years, 0 months, 10 days 2 566 1 lineal
7. United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis 6 years, 8 months, 3 days 2 437 2 WBC, IBF, WBA
8. United States Jack Johnson 6 years, 3 months, 11 days 2 292 1 lineal
9. United States James J. Jeffries 5 years, 11 months, 4 days 2 156 1 lineal
10. United States Evander Holyfield 5 years, 6 months, 12 days 2 020 3 WBA, WBC, IBF
11. United States Joe Frazier 4 years, 10 months, 18 days 1 785 1 NYSAC, WBA, WBC
12. United States Floyd Patterson 4 years, 10 months, 0 days 1 765 2 NYSAC, NBA
13. United States James J. Corbett 4 years, 6 months, 10 days 1 652 1 lineal
14. United States Jess Willard 4 years, 2 months, 29 days 1 551 1 lineal
15. United States Mike Tyson 3 years, 10 months, 16 days 1 415 2 WBA, WBC, IBF

Individual reigns[edit]

Below is a list of longest reigning heavyweight champions in boxing measured by the individual's longest reign. The list includes both The Ring and lineal championships. Career total time as champion (for multiple time champions) does not apply.

Note: The names in italics are champions that did not win The Ring/lineal championship during the reign
Pos. Name Title Reign Title recognition
1. United States Joe Louis 11 years, 8 months, 8 days lineal
2. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 9 years, 7 months and 6 days IBF (+WBA, WBO, The Ring)
3. United States Larry Holmes 7 years, 3 months, 12 days WBC-to-IBF (+The Ring/Lineal)
4. United States Jack Dempsey 7 years, 2 months, 19 days lineal
5. United States John L. Sullivan 7 years, 0 months, 9 days lineal
6. United States Jack Johnson 6 years, 3 months, 10 days lineal
7. United States Muhammad Ali 5 years, 11 months, 9 days The Ring/Lineal, (+WBA, WBC stripped)
8. United States James J. Jeffries 5 years, 11 months, 4 days lineal
9. Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 5 years, 2 months, 4 days WBC
10. United States Joe Frazier 4 years, 10 months, 18 days NYSAC (+WBA, WBC)
11. United States James J. Corbett 4 years, 6 months, 10 days lineal
12. United States Deontay Wilder 4 years, 10 months and 4 days WBC
13. United States Jess Willard 4 years, 2 months, 29 days lineal
14. United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis 4 years, 2 months, 15 days WBC (+IBF, WBA stripped, The Ring/Lineal)
15. United States Rocky Marciano 3 years, 11 months, 29 days lineal

Unofficial long reigns[edit]

Pos. Name Title Reign Title recognition
N/A Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 9 years, 7 months, 22 days Full WBC-to-WBC Emeritus-to-Full WBC (+The Ring vacated)
N/A United States Muhammad Ali 7 years, 0 months, 11 days The Ring/+lineal (+WBA, +WBC)

Title fight finishes[edit]

Quickest stoppages in title fights — 1st round stoppages[edit]

Note: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]
Date Fight Method Round Time Title
May 25, 2005
United States Lamon Brewster def. Poland Andrzej Golota TKO 1 0:52 WBO
April 18, 1998
United Kingdom Herbie Hide def. United States Damon Reed TKO 1 0:52 WBO
November 14, 1944
United States Joe Louis def. United States Johnny Davis KO 1 0:53 NYSAC
April 6, 1900
United States James J. Jeffries def. United States John Finnegan KO 1 0:55 Lineal
December 10, 1982
United States Michael Dokes def. United States Mike Weaver TKO 1 1:03 WBA
July 4, 1907
Canada Tommy Burns def. Australia Bill Squires KO 1 1:28 Lineal
March 17, 1908
Canada Tommy Burns def. Republic of Ireland Jem Roche KO 1 1:28 Lineal
June 27, 1988
United States Mike Tyson def. United States Michael Spinks KO 1 1:31 WBA, WBC, IBF
July 21, 1989
United States Mike Tyson def. United States Carl Williams TKO 1 1:33 WBA, WBC, IBF
October 4, 1997
United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis def. Poland Andrzej Golota KO 1 1:35 WBC
April 22, 1969
United States Joe Frazier def. United States Dave Zyglewicz KO 1 1:36 NYSAC
September 7, 1996
United States Mike Tyson def. United States Bruce Seldon TKO 1 1:49 WBA
September 1, 1973
United States George Foreman def. Puerto Rico José Roman KO 1 2:00 WBA, WBC
June 22, 1938
United States Joe Louis def. Nazi Germany Max Schmeling KO 1 2:04 NBA, NYSAC
September 25, 1962
United States Sonny Liston def. United States Floyd Patterson KO 1 2:06 NYSAC, WBA
September 18, 1946
United States Joe Louis def. United States Tami Mauriello KO 1 2:09 NBA, NYSAC
July 22, 1963
United States Sonny Liston def. United States Floyd Patterson KO 1 2:10 WBA, WBC
May 25, 1965
United States Muhammad Ali def. United States Sonny Liston KO 1 2:12 WBC
December 12, 1986
United States James Smith def. United States Tim Witherspoon KO 1 2:12 WBA
May 18, 2019
United States Deontay Wilder def. United States Dominic Breazeale
KO 1 2:17 WBC
February 6, 1993
United States Riddick Bowe def. United States Michael Dokes TKO 1 2:19 WBA, IBF
April 17, 1939
United States Joe Louis def. United States Jack Roper KO 1 2:20 NBA, NYSAC
May 15, 1953
United States Rocky Marciano def. United States Jersey Joe Walcott KO 1 2:25 NBA, NYSAC
January 25, 1939
United States Joe Louis def. United States John Henry Lewis KO 1 2:29 NBA, NYSAC
January 9, 1942
United States Joe Louis def. United States Buddy Baer KO 1 2:56 NBA, NYSAC
November 4, 2017
United States Deontay Wilder def. Canada Bermane Stiverne KO 1 2:59 WBC
March 19, 2011
Ukraine Vitali Klitschko def. Cuba Odlanier Solís KO 1 2:59 WBC

Quickest stoppages in title fights — The Ring/lineal/unified championship on the line[edit]

Note: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]
Date Fight Method Round Time Title
November 14, 1944
United States Joe Louis def. United States Johnny Davis KO 1 0:53 NYSAC
April 6, 1900
United States James J. Jeffries def. United States John Finnegan KO 1 0:55 Lineal
July 4, 1907
Canada Tommy Burns def. Australia Bill Squires KO 1 1:28 Lineal
March 17, 1908
Canada Tommy Burns def. Republic of Ireland Jem Roche KO 1 1:28 Lineal
June 27, 1988
United States Mike Tyson def. United States Michael Spinks KO 1 1:31 WBA, WBC, IBF
July 21, 1989
United States Mike Tyson def. United States Carl Williams TKO 1 1:33 WBA, WBC, IBF
September 1, 1973
United States George Foreman def. Puerto Rico José Roman KO 1 2:00 WBA, WBC
June 22, 1938
United States Joe Louis def. Nazi Germany Max Schmeling KO 1 2:04 NBA, NYSAC
September 25, 1962
United States Sonny Liston def. United States Floyd Patterson KO 1 2:06 NYSAC, WBA
September 18, 1946
United States Joe Louis def. United States Tami Mauriello KO 1 2:09 NBA, NYSAC
July 22, 1963
United States Sonny Liston def. United States Floyd Patterson KO 1 2:10 WBA, WBC
May 25, 1965
United States Muhammad Ali def. United States Sonny Liston KO 1 2:12 WBC
February 6, 1993
United States Riddick Bowe def. United States Michael Dokes TKO 1 2:19 WBA, IBF
April 17, 1939
United States Joe Louis def. United States Jack Roper KO 1 2:20 NBA, NYSAC
May 15, 1953
United States Rocky Marciano def. United States Jersey Joe Walcott KO 1 2:25 NBA, NYSAC
January 25, 1939
United States Joe Louis def. United States John Henry Lewis KO 1 2:29 NBA, NYSAC
January 9, 1942
United States Joe Louis def. United States Buddy Baer KO 1 2:56 NBA, NYSAC
March 29, 1940
United States Joe Louis def. United States Johnny Paychek TKO 2 0:15 NBA, NYSAC
May 22, 1993
United States Riddick Bowe def. United States Jesse Ferguson KO 2 0:17 WBA
August 26, 1904
United States James J. Jeffries def. Canada Jack Munroe TKO 2 0:45 Lineal
November 18, 1970
United States Joe Frazier def. United States Bob Foster KO 2 0:49 WBA, WBC
September 14, 1923
United States Jack Dempsey def. Argentina Luis Ángel Firpo KO 2 0:57 NBA, NYSAC
February 17, 1941
United States Joe Louis def. United States Gus Dorazio KO 2 1:30 NBA, NYSAC
March 26, 1974
United States George Foreman def. United States Ken Norton TKO 2 2:00 WBA, WBC
January 22, 1973
United States George Foreman def. United States Joe Frazier TKO 2 2:26 WBA, WBC
July 15, 2000
United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis def. South Africa Francois Botha TKO 2 2:39 WBC, IBF
April 29, 2000
United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis def. United States Michael Grant KO 2 2:53 WBC, IBF
March 21, 1988
United States Mike Tyson def. United States Tony Tubbs TKO 2 2:54 WBA, WBC, IBF

Most opponents beaten for the title by stoppage[edit]

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note 1: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]
Note 2: The names in italics are champions that haven't won The Ring/lineal championship
Name Finished opponents
1. United States Joe Louis 20
2. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 19
3. United States Larry Holmes 14
4. United States Muhammad Ali 13
5. Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 12
6. United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis 11
7. United States Mike Tyson 9
8. Canada Tommy Burns 8
8. United States Joe Frazier 8
8. United States Deontay Wilder 8
11. United States Floyd Patterson 7
12. United Kingdom Anthony Joshua 6
13. United States Rocky Marciano 5
13. United States James J. Jeffries
13. United States Ezzard Charles
13. United States Jack Dempsey

Most title fight wins by stoppage[edit]

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note 1: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]
Note 2: The names in italics are champions that haven't won The Ring/lineal championship
Name Title fight finishes
1. United States Joe Louis 24
2. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 20
3. United States Muhammad Ali 14
3. United States Larry Holmes 14
5. Ukraine Vitali Klitschko 12
6. United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis 11
7. United States Mike Tyson 10
8. Canada Tommy Burns 9
9. United States Joe Frazier 8
9. United States Floyd Patterson 8
9. United States Deontay Wilder 8
12. United States Rocky Marciano 6
12. United States James J. Jeffries 6
12. United Kingdom Anthony Joshua
15. United States Ezzard Charles 5
15. United States Jack Dempsey

Champions by age[edit]

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note 1: WBA (Regular) champions are not included
Note 2: The names in italics are champions that did not win The Ring/lineal championship during the reign
Note 3: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]

Oldest champions[edit]

As of November 21, 2019.

This is the list of the oldest heavyweight champions ordered by the age at their last day as champion.

Name Recognition Last day as champion Age
1 United States George Foreman IBF June 29, 1995 46 years, 170 days[11]
2 Ukraine Vitali Klitschko WBC December 16, 2013 42 years, 150 days
3 Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko WBA, WBO, IBF November 28, 2015 39 years, 248 days
4 Russia Oleg Maskaev WBC March 8, 2008 39 years, 6 days
5 United States Jersey Joe Walcott NBA, NYSAC September 23, 1952 38 years, 236 days
6 United KingdomCanada Lennox Lewis WBC February 6, 2004 38 years, 157 days
7 United States Evander Holyfield WBA March 3, 2001 38 years, 135 days
8 South Africa Corrie Sanders WBO February 1, 2004 38 years, 25 days[12]
9 United States Larry Holmes IBF September 21, 1985 37 years, 322 days
10 United States Muhammad Ali WBA October 18, 1979 37 years, 274 days

Youngest champions[edit]

As of November 21, 2019.

Name Recognition Date Age
1 United States Mike Tyson WBC November 22, 1986 20 years, 145 days
2 United States Floyd Patterson NBA, NYSAC November 30, 1956 21 years, 331 days
3 United States Muhammad Ali WBA, WBC February 25, 1964 22 years, 39 days
4 United States Joe Louis NBA, NYSAC June 22, 1937 23 years, 40 days
5 United States John L. Sullivan Lineal February 7, 1882 23 years, 115 days
6 United States Jack Dempsey Lineal July 4, 1919 24 years, 10 days
7 United States George Foreman WBA, WBC February 22, 1973 24 years, 12 days
8 United States Joe Frazier NYSAC March 4, 1968 24 years, 52 days
9 United States James J. Jeffries Lineal June 9, 1899 24 years, 55 days
10 United States Michael Dokes WBA December 10, 1982 24 years, 122 days

Statistics by era[edit]

Before 1921[edit]

At the very beginnings, before the establishment of the sanctioning organizations, the title recognition passed through lineage in the fights under Marquess of Queensberry Rules. The champion was informally called "the man who beat the man". The fight between John L. Sullivan and Dominick McCaffrey is recognized by many boxing historians, including those at The Ring, to be for the inaugural World Heavyweight Championship under the Marquess of Queensberry Rules (however, some dispute that claim for various reasons, including the short distance of the bout, McCaffrey's small size and the fact that both fighters were Americans).[13] The lineage was the only universally recognized form of a world championship until July 2, 1921, when Jack Dempsey became the inaugural NBA Heavyweight Champion.

Name Title recognition Title bout wins Beaten opponents
Canada Tommy Burns lineal 11 9
United States Jack Johnson lineal 7 7
United States James J. Jeffries lineal 8 6
United States Jack Dempsey lineal 3 3
United States James J. Corbett lineal 2 2
United States Jess Willard

National sanctioning bodies[edit]

The growing popularity of boxing led to a birth of various regional sanctioning organizations, with each recognizing their own champion. The major governing bodies were the National Boxing Association, formed in 1921, the New York State Athletic Commission, found after the Walker Law legalized prizefighting in New York in 1920, and the International Boxing Union, created in 1911 in Paris in an attempt create a unified international governing body for professional boxing. The NBA and NYSAC both made then-lineal champion Jack Dempsey their inaugural champion on July 2, 1921, and July 24, 1922, respectively.[14]

Name Title recognition Title bout wins Beaten opponents
United States Joe Louis NYSAC, NBA 27 22
United States Jack Dempsey NYSAC, NBA 3 3
Italy Primo Carnera NYSAC, NBA, IBU
United States Gene Tunney NYSAC, NBA 2
Germany Max Schmeling NYSAC, NBA, IBU 2 2
United States Sonny Liston NYSAC 1
United States Jersey Joe Walcott NYSAC, NBA
United States Jack Sharkey NYSAC, NBA, IBU 1 1
United States Max Baer NYSAC, NBA, IBU
United States James J. Braddock NYSAC, NBA, IBU

First international expansion[edit]

The growing popularity of boxing outside of the USA led to creation of various boxing organizations, each strengthening their influence (most notably BBBofC) and having their own champion. This resulted in a growing number of boxers claiming to be legitimate champions. The disruption in boxing was solved after the World War II when the World Championship Committee (WCC) was created with NBA as its unanimous authority. The committee, however, was disbanded in 1955 when NBA, along with its new members (which included the Orient, Mexican and South American federations and boxing commissions of the Philippines and Thailand) left WCC citing lack of control over the organisation. The NBA's voting scheme guaranteed one vote for each state commission as well as one vote for each foreign country.[15][16] On August 23, 1962, the NBA officially became the World Boxing Association and moved their headquarters to Panama City, Panama.

Name Title recognition Title bout wins Beaten opponents
United States Ezzard Charles NBA, NYSAC 9 8
United States Floyd Patterson NBA, NYSAC 8 7
United States Rocky Marciano NBA, NYSAC 7 5

Second international expansion[edit]

A year later NYSAC along with European Boxing Union and BBBofC supported creation of the World Boxing Council. WBC was officially established on February 14, 1963, in Mexico City, Mexico by 11 countries (the United States, Puerto Rico, Argentina, United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Philippines, Panama, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Brazil) that were invited by the President of Mexico Adolfo López Mateos to form an international organization to unify all commissions of the world to control the expansion of boxing.[17] The reason for the move were concerns about WBA's alleged lack of desire to support professional boxing outside of the USA.[18] In April 1983, members of United States Boxing Association along with Robert W. Lee (a former WBA vice-president) voted to expand the organisation and form the USBA-International. The organization later changed the name to International Boxing Federation.[19] The inaugural IBF Heavyweight Champion was Larry Holmes, who relinquished the WBC title to accept IBF's recognition, thus helping the newly formed organization to establish its legitimacy. Another major sanctioning body, the World Boxing Organisation, was established in 1988 in San Juan, Puerto Rico by a group of local businessmen. At the beginnings, when most of the challengers for WBA, WBC and IBF titles were Americans, WBO had a wider variety of countries, mainly European, represented in title bouts. In the inaugural bout, Italian boxer Francesco Damiani defeated Johnny du Plooy from South Africa by KO in the 3rd round. Before the Klitschko Era, United Kingdom tied USA for most wins in WBO Heavyweight title fights with 8.[20] WBO struggled with receiving credibility at first, but by the beginning of the 2000s, the WBA was giving the same recognition to WBO champions as it did to WBC and IBF champions.

WBO, WBC, IBF and WBA are all recognized as major boxing organizations by each other and the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Riddick Bowe remains the only heavyweight boxer to win all four world titles (WBA, WBC and IBF in 1992–93 and WBO in 1995), while Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko are the only brothers to hold them at the same time (from 2011 to 2013). Wladimir is the only unified champion to successfully defend the title against the same opponent twice (Tony Thompson in 2008 and 2012).

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note 1: WBA (Regular) champions are not included
Note 2: The list of most consecutive defenses includes all title reigns of each boxer
Note 3: The names in italics are champions that haven't won The Ring/lineal championship
Note 4: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]

Statistics by non-US country[edit]

Note 1: WBA (Regular) champions are not included
Note 2: The names in italics are champions that haven't won The Ring/lineal championship
Note 3: WBO heavyweight title bouts before August 1997 are not included[10]

Title fight wins & beaten opponents — all reigns[edit]

The list includes championship wins of heavyweight boxers from outside of the United States. It includes only major titles, without The Ring and lineal championships (after 1921).

Country No. of champions Boxers by Name Title wins Beaten opponents
 Ukraine 2 Vitali Klitschko, Wladimir Klitschko 40 37
 United Kingdom 6 Bob Fitzsimmons, Lennox Lewis*, Frank Bruno, Herbie Hide, David Haye, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua 31 28
 Canada 4 Tommy Burns, Trevor Berbick, Bermane Stiverne, Lennox Lewis* 28 26
 Russia 3 Nikolai Valuev, Oleg Maskaev, Sultan Ibragimov 9 7
 Italy 1 Primo Carnera 3 3
 Uzbekistan 1 Ruslan Chagaev 3 3
 New Zealand 1 Joseph Parker 3 3
 South Africa 2 Gerrie Coetzee, Corrie Sanders 2 2
 Germany 1 Max Schmeling 2 2
 Sweden 1 Ingemar Johansson 1 1
 Belarus 1 Siarhei Liakhovich 1 1
 Nigeria 1 Samuel Peter 1 1
 Mexico 1 Andy Ruiz Jr. 1 1

Title fight wins & beaten opponents — The Ring/lineal championships, unified championships, victories over champions[edit]

The list includes championship wins of heavyweight boxers from outside of the United States. The list does not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921, although it only includes heavyweight champions that have also captured The Ring or lineal title. The list only includes title reigns during which the champion:

  • has won The Ring/lineal championship
  • unified[5][6][7] the titles
  • defeated a fighter that either had to drop his own world title prior to the fight due to organization's championship policy or would later become the world champion whilst the winner's reign was still active
Country No. of champions Boxers by Name Title wins Beaten opponents
 Ukraine 2 Vitali Klitschko, Wladimir Klitschko 27 25
 Canada 2 Tommy Burns, Lennox Lewis* 23 21
 United Kingdom 3 Bob Fitzsimmons, Lennox Lewis*, Tyson Fury 14 14
 Italy 1 Primo Carnera 3 3
 Germany 1 Max Schmeling 2 2
 Sweden 1 Ingemar Johansson 1 1

Title streaks[edit]

The list includes longest championship streaks of heavyweight boxers by each non-US country. It includes only major titles, without The Ring and lineal championships (after 1921).

Country Champion Title defenses Beaten opponents
 Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 18 17
 Canada Tommy Burns 11 9
 United Kingdom Lennox Lewis 9 8
 Russia Nikolai Valuev 6 5
 Italy Primo Carnera 2 2
 Uzbekistan Ruslan Chagaev 2 2
 New Zealand Joseph Parker 2 2
 Germany Max Schmeling 1 1

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "4. Weight Classes". IBO and also the sumo board of control. But Championship Rules & Regulations. International Boxing Organization. Retrieved August 11, 2007. Heavyweight Over 200 lbs.
  2. ^ "11. Weight Category" (PDF). World Bpxing Association World Championships Regulations. World Boxing Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 9, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2007. Heavy More than 200 Lbs.
  3. ^ "Ratings Heavyweight (over 200–90.719)". World Boxing Council. Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2007.
  4. ^ "3. Weight Classes" (PDF). Regulations of World Championship Contests. World Boxing Organization. Archived from the original (pdf) on September 26, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2007. Heavyweight Over 200lbs or 90.91 kg.
  5. ^ a b c d e International Boxing Federation rules: governing championship contests
  6. ^ a b c d e World Boxing Organization: regulation of world championship contests
  7. ^ a b c d e World Boxing Association rules and regulations
  8. ^ Davies, Gareth A. (October 12, 2008). "David Haye confident he can take down both Klitschko brothers". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved November 1, 2009.
  9. ^ "The Ring updates championship policy". Ring TV. May 3, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l James B. Roberts, Alexander G. Skutt: The Boxing Register: International Boxing Hall of Fame Official Record Book, p. 331–32. The record of Ricardo Lopez indicates his opponent Alex Sanchez as WBO "World Champion" on August 23, 1997, meanwhile Michael Carbajal's opponent Josue Camacho (fought on July 15, 1994) didn't receive the same recognition, thus suggesting that WBO title hadn't been viewed by IBHOF as a major title prior to (at least) August 1997, when Herbie Hide (won the title on June 28, 1997) was WBO heavyweight champion
  11. ^ Foreman Relinquishes IBF Title
  12. ^ WBO Heavyweight Championship
  13. ^ "1885-08-29: John L. Sullivan vs. Dominick McCaffrey". BoxRec. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  14. ^ "Jack Dempsey biography on BoxRec". BoxRec. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  15. ^ "Reveille vol. 38, Nov. 4, 1964 (p. 23)". Reveille. Archived from the original on March 18, 2018. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  16. ^ James B. Roberts,Alexander G. Skutt: The Boxing Register: International Boxing Hall of Fame Official Record Book (p. 50)
  17. ^ "History of the WBC". World Boxing Council. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  18. ^ John Sugden: Boxing and Society: An International Analysis (p. 49)
  19. ^ "History of IBF/USBA". International Boxing Federation. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  20. ^ former champion Michael Bentt holds both British and American citizenship.

External links[edit]