In boxing, the world heavyweight championship is a regulated title held by the reigning champion of the division. The division is currently contested by professional boxers who must meet certain size and weight restrictions, typically over 200 pounds (91 kg) and 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m). In the past, however, heavier weights and even unlimited weights were common.
The first world heavyweight champion under these rules was John L. Sullivan, who was recognized as champion in 1885 by the now-defunct National Police Gazette. The second heavyweight champion under these rules was James J. Corbett, who defeated Sullivan in 1892. Other notable early champions include Gentleman Jim Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, Marvin Hart, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Jess Willard and Floyd Patterson. David Tua became the first world heavyweight boxing champion of Pacific Islander descent in 2000 when he defeated Chris Byrd for the WBO title; he was also the first person of Samoan heritage to win a boxing world championship. Historically, the size advantage enjoyed by heavyweights usually meant that champions tended to be considerably taller than their challengers; for example, Patterson was nearly 11 inches (28 cm) shorter than Sonny Liston when they fought for the championship in 1962.
The lineage of heavyweights extends back to 1905 when Marvin Hart won the vacant title by defeating Jack Root in a fight for the World Heavyweight Championship at New York’s Madison Square Garden—a title which had been vacated earlier that year upon the retirement of James J. Jeffries—and then successfully defended it against challenges from suchnotable early 20th century heavyweights as Jack Johnson (twice), TOMMY Burns (the previous champion), Jeffries himself in a rematch of their 1910 fight which Hart had lost (Jeffries came out of retirement only to lose his comeback fight against Johnson), and Hugo Kelly.
Who was the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion
John L. Sullivan is widely considered to be the first great world heavyweight boxing champion. He held the title from 1882 to 1892, when he lost it to James J. Corbett in a fight that is considered to be one of the most important and influential in boxing history. Sullivan was known for his incredible strength and endurance, as well as his aggressive fighting style.
The Second Great World Heavyweight Boxing Champion – James J. Jeffries
In 1900, Jeffries came out of retirement to fight the world champion, which at that time was James J. Corbett. In a very close and controversial fight, Jeffries retained his title by knockout in the 23rd round. The fight was Jeffries’ last successful defense of his title.
The Third Great World Heavyweight Boxing Champion – Jack Dempsey
Jack Dempsey, born William Harrison Dempsey in 1895, was an American boxer who held the world heavyweight title from 1919 to 1926. He is considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.
Dempsey’s boxing career began in 1914 and he quickly rose to prominence, winning the world heavyweight title in 1919. He defended his title six times before losing it to Gene Tunney in 1926. After losing the title, Dempsey continued to box until 1928 when he retired with a record of 49 wins, 4 losses, and 2 draws.
The Fourth Great World Heavyweight Boxing Champion – Joe Louis
Joe Louis’ professional boxing career lasted twenty-two years, from 1934 to 1951. During that time, he fought seventy-eight times and won sixty-nine of those bouts. Fifty-six of his wins came by way of knockout, which is a knockout percentage of 71.8.
Joe Louis held the world heavyweight boxing championship for eleven years and eight months, which is a record that still stands today. He successfully defended his title twenty-seven times, which is also a record that still stands today. In 1937, he became the first heavyweight boxing champion to fight and beat a former world champion, when he knocked out James J. Braddock in the eighth round.
Louis was one of the greatest heavyweight boxing champions of all time and is considered to be one of the greatest athletes in American history. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990 and the United States Army Field Forces Hall of Fame in 1984
The Fifth Great World Heavyweight Boxing Champion – Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.; January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer, rapper, and social activist. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight boxing champions of all time.
Ali was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and began training as a boxer when he was 12 years old. When he was 18, he won the Golden Gloves tournament in the light heavyweight division. In 1960, he won the Olympic gold medal in the light heavyweight division. After turning professional later that year, Ali scored a series of knockout wins against opponents who were considered some of the toughest in boxing. His first professional win came over boxer Tony Esperti in 1961. In 1963, he won his first world title by defeating then-champion Sonny Liston in a seventh-round knockout victory. Later that year, Ali also became the first fighter to defeat Liston in a rematch when he knocked him out in the first round.
Between 1964 and 1967, Ali fought and won against some of the top heavyweight boxers of his era including Floyd Patterson, George Chuvalo, Henry Cooper, Sonny Liston (in their second fight), Ernie Terrell, Zora Folley, Jose Torres (for the world light heavyweight championship), Cleveland Williams, Alfonso López (for the world light heavyweight championship), and Karl Mildenberger. He also defeated former world champion Ingemar Johansson in two successful title defenses during this time period.
In 1967, Ali refused to be drafted into military service for the Vietnam War based on religious grounds. As a result of his decision to avoid military service while many young men were being drafted or serving involuntarily during the war years (1964–73), Ali was stripped of his boxing titles and banned from boxing for three years during which time he focused on social activism including supporting anti-war protests as well as numerous other causes such as racial equality.
In conclusion, these are the boxer who have been named world heavyweight boxing champion by the major sanctioning bodies: