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Top 17 All Time Heavyweight Punchers: Where does Deontay Wilder rank?

Publish Date: 04/01/2023
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Top 17 Power Punchers

Today we will look at the biggest punchers of all time in Boxing’s glamour division, the Heavyweights. So you know my number 11 on this list was Elmer Ray. For all of you young guys out there wandering where Deontay Wilder is, know that there is no comparison when looking at the people he knocked out and comparing it to who the fighters on this list knocked out. Wilder, a great puncher, will not be found on this list.

17) Elmer Ray

He is widely known as “Kid Violent,” and with good reason. One of the most feared contenders in heavyweight history, his resume includes 69% knockouts in 91% professional wins.

Video: Elmer Ray - A Mystery Man known as 'Kid Violent'

Elmer Ray – A Mystery Man known as ‘Kid Violent’

16) Cleveland Williams

The man they called “The Big Cat” boasted no less than fifty-eight men on his team. Sonny Liston, an expert in big punchers, declared him to be the hardest puncher he’d ever encountered.

Video: Cleveland Williams - Devastating Puncher

Cleveland Williams – Devastating Puncher

15) Sam Mcvey

Sixty knockouts in seventy-eight victories: let us not rest on these stats but instead listen to none other than Jack Johnson, the great authority on knockouts. who said that Mcvey had one of the hardest one-twos of all time.

Video: Sam McVey - Hall of Fame Heavyweight of the Early 20th century

Sam McVey – Hall of Fame Heavyweight of the Early 20th century

14) Max Baer

Max Baer may be best remembered for his humiliating loss to Cinderella Man James J. Braddock and hilarious victory over enormous yet helpless Primo Carnera, but the fun-loving Madcap Maxie could hit with the right hand. Tragically, Frankie Campbell suffered a brain injury after being severely battered by Baer in 1930. Two years after Baer knocked out Ernie Schaaf with two seconds remaining in the fight, it is widely believed that his right hand caused Schaaf’s death after Carnera stopped him in 1933. Contrary to what you might imagine from “Cinderella Man,” Baer asked referee Arthur Donovan for help when Max Schmeling appeared injured and helpless during the 10th round of their 1933 bout.

Video: The Wild Knockouts of Max Baer

The Wild Knockouts of Max Baer

13) David Tua

Tua had scored devastating knockouts against future champion John Ruiz (in just 19 seconds), Darroll Wilson, David Izon and Oleg Maskaev to set up his fight with Ibeabuchi. Following that loss to Ibeabuchi, Tua took on Hasim Rahman, and TKO’d him in the 10th round – this marked Tua’s struggle with weight; it spiked up to 253 pounds when he defeated Obed Sullivan by KO in 2000, followed by Lennox Lewis later that same year at 245 pounds. Tua struggled in this bout as both fighters avoided each other while Tua failed to throw combinations which ultimately resulted in him losing by clear-cut decisions. Tua never lived up to his potential, but he was a devastating puncher.

Video: The Samoan Dynamite Of Boxing - David Tua

The Samoan Dynamite Of Boxing – David Tua

12) Deontay Wilder

One remarkable aspect of Deontay Wilder’s punching power is his size. At 6-foot-7, the “Bronze Bomber” may be tall, but he weighs in the 220s; yet his punching power is tremendous evidenced by his devastating one-punch knockout of Dominic Breazeale last May. There can be no doubt about Deontay Wilder’s capability to put out the lights at any moment. He is this low because his quality of completion is bad, the best fighter he fought Tyson Fury was still standing at the end of all three of their fights.

Video: Top 10 Deontay Wilder Devastating Knockouts

Top 10 Deontay Wilder Devastating Knockouts

11) Jack Dempsey

Dempsey was another smaller heavyweight who punched with devastating power! The Manassa Mauler was known for his brutal power and deadly left hook, in which he achieved fifty knockouts in sixty-one wins. The tale includes knockouts of Jess Willard and Battling Levinsky, Georges Carpentier Luis Firpo, Jack Sharkey, and Jess Willard. Dempsey was the roaring twenties version of Mike Tyson.

Video: 5 Jack Dempsey Greatest knockouts

5 Jack Dempsey Greatest knockouts

10) Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson was as good as it gets for a couple of years, mainly from 1986-1989, then things changed. But Tyson’s destruction of Tyrell Biggs stands out to me, plus his first-round knockout of Michael Spinks. Tyson’s meteoric rise was something to behold, and no doubt can exist that he was one of the greatest punchers in boxing history!

Video: Best Knockouts Of Mike Tyson, Boxing HD

Best Knockouts Of Mike Tyson, Boxing HD

9) Wladimir Klitschko

Klitschko is the most successful heavyweight in the period of 2000 to 2015. He held at least one major title. His style was simple. To keep his opponents at bay, he used his height (6-foot-6″) and reached (as well as his excellent footwork). He would then use a jarring jab to establish… you guessed right… one of the most significant right hands in history. Emanuel Steward, his trainer, said that Wladimir was “the most precise, single-punch knockout man I have ever seen.” Wladimir can put out your lights with just one shot.

Video: Wladimir Klitschko

Wladimir Klitschko “Dr. Steelhammer” | All Knockouts

8) Joe Frazier

Smokin’ Joe Frazier wasn’t just any puncher. He was an agile, athletic fighter who made life difficult for anyone who stood in his way; at 5-foot-11 1/2 and barely 200 pounds at his peak, his punches could cause head spinning multiple times. Although only 3-4-1 in his final eight fights, those he engaged understood the force of his blows and fire that he brought to every fight. Joe Bugner once said of Smokin’ Joe Frazier: “In those days, he was unquestionably the most vicious and relentless fighter on earth – without a doubt!”

Video: 10 Joe Frazier Greatest Knockouts

10 Joe Frazier Greatest Knockouts

7) Sonny Liston

Liston’s pulverizing strength allowed him to steamroll heavyweights from the 1950s and early ’60s and knock out demanding customers like Zora Folley, Nino Valdes and George “Scrap Iron”. In the first round, he defeated Floyd Patterson twice. He is one of the most revered heavyweight champions in history. Fighting Sonny was terrifying to everybody until Cassius Clay came along.

Video: Sonny Liston Knockouts / Highlights HD

Sonny Liston Knockouts / Highlights HD

6) Lennox Lewis

Lewis was an all-around boxer, an Olympic champion who held six major titles throughout a decade of dominance. His athleticism – particularly for someone of 6 feet-5 – and technical proficiency were unparalleled, but his straight right was his trademark shot that often connected flush. Notable examples include the punch that ended Hasim Rahman’s night in their rematch and shots leading up to Mike Tyson’s demise; one sparring partner reportedly said of Lewis: “He hit like a tank.”

Video: Lennox Lewis - Top 10 Knockouts (Tribute)

Lennox Lewis – Top 10 Knockouts (Tribute)

5. Rocky Marciano

Marciano punched way above his weight with an almost ninety per cent KO ratio, pounding much bigger men into submission with his vicious shots, not to mention scoring one of the most devastating one-punch knockouts in boxing history over Jersey Joe Walcott. People like to diminish Rocky’s accomplishments, but he was a phenomenal knockout puncher and ferocious finisher.

Video: 10 Rocky Marciano Greatest Knockouts

10 Rocky Marciano Greatest Knockouts

4. Sam Langford

He was known as “The Boston Tar Baby” and was a devastating puncher with either hand. He was also a relentless finisher. Sam has knocked out many greats, including Harry Wills, Gunboat Smith, Joe Jeannette, Sam McVea, and Joe Jeannette. Langford was the most difficult puncher they’d ever faced when his former opponents were questioned. Langford scored more than 100 knockouts in his career and pound for pound, was one of the greatest boxers of all time. Check out the best boxing betting strategies for betting on Boxing.

Video: Sam Langford - The Boston Bonecrusher

Sam Langford – The Boston Bonecrusher


3) Earnie Shavers

Nearly everyone who met him, including Larry Holmes and Ron Lyle as well as Jimmy Young, Ken Norton, and Muhammad Ali, stated that Shavers was the most difficult puncher they’d ever seen. Randall “Tex” Cobb said it best: “Nobody hits as hard as Shavers.” I would shoot anyone who hit harder than Shavers. Sixty-nine knockouts in seventy-five wins. Shavers came close twice to winning the Heavyweight title against all-time greats Holmes and Ali but was not a complete enough fighter to get it done. Please make no mistake; the power took a limited fighter to the brink of immortality; that’s how hard he hit.



2) George Foreman

“Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!” And Norton. And Lyle. And Cooney. And Moorer … Sixty-eight KOs in seventy-six wins. Foreman’s power was so great that at age 45, in the tenth round trailing and losing badly, he knocked out Michael Moorer to become the oldest man to win the Heavyweight title. His knockout out of the heavily favored Frazier was iconic.

Video: Top 10 George Foreman Best Knockouts HD

Top 10 George Foreman Best Knockouts HD

1) Joe Louis

Fifty-two KOs, in sixty-six victories. He was a powerful heavyweight with a deadly power punch and an excellent finisher. James J. Braddock declared, “Nobody hits as Louis.” “Take the first jab that he hits you with. It’s not hard to imagine what it feels like. It’s almost like someone put an electric bulb in your head and busted it… His right hand is like someone nailed to you with a crowbar. I thought half of my head was blown off. I thought he gave in. This is how hard Joe Louis could hit!”. Louis rampaged through the Heavyweight division, demolishing everybody that got in his way. His rematch knockout win in the first round against Max Schmeling may have been Louis at his most devastating.

Honorable Mention

Gerry Cooney

Tommy Morrison

Bob Fitzsimmons

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