Most Opponents World Heavyweight Title Was Successfully Defended Against During One Reign

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Listing of World Heavyweight Champions by number of opponents beaten during one title reign in the Heavyweight division under the Marquess of Queensberry Rules. The maximum weight for this division is unlimited (200+ lbs, 90.9+ kg, 14 stone 4 lbs+).

While in earlier days boxers could have fought each other for the title many times, as time progressed, rematches have slowly become less and less frequent. Throughout the entire boxing history, however, reasons for rematches were usually these:

  • No one else is there to fight. This was more of an occurence in early days when the number of actual fighters per division was very limited, so the top guys were left fighting each other over and over again. Examples:

Other than that, rematches are usually regarded by the public as unnecessary (see Boxing247.com: Is Fury Vs. Wilder The Most Needless Trilogy In Heavyweight Championship History?).

Rematches could result in the champion earning one more title fight win fighting the same opponent again. Had the result left no questions about the champion being better or the division had other capable challengers, the champion would've moved on with just one more win instead of two.

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All Championship Reigns

The list does not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921.

Pos. Name Reign Began-Ended Recognition Beaten Opponents
1. Joe Louis June 22, 1937 — March 1, 1949 NYSAC, NBA 21
2. Larry Holmes June 9, 1978 — September 21, 1985 WBC, IBF 19
3. Wladimir Klitschko April 22, 2006 — November 28, 2015 WBA, IBF, WBO 17
4. Tommy Burns February 23, 1906 — December 26, 1908 lineal 11
5. Muhammad Ali October 30, 1974 — February 15, 1978 WBA, WBC 10
6. Mike Tyson November 22, 1986 — February 11, 1990 WBA, WBC, IBF 9
6. Joe Frazier March 4, 1968 — January 22, 1973 NYSAC, WBA, WBC 9
6. Deontay Wilder January 17, 2015 – February 22, 2020 WBC 9
9. Lennox Lewis February 7, 1997 — April 22, 2001 WBA, WBC, IBF 8
9. Ezzard Charles September 27, 1950 — July 18, 1951 NBA, NYSAC 8
11. Anthony Joshua April 9, 2016 – June 1, 2019 WBA, IBF, WBO 6
11. James J. Jeffries June 9, 1899 — May 13, 1905 lineal 6
11. Jack Johnson December 26, 1908 — April 5, 1915 lineal 6
14. Rocky Marciano September 23, 1952 — April 27, 1956 NYSAC, NBA 5
14. Jack Dempsey July 4, 1919 — September 23, 1926 lineal-to-NBA and NYSAC 5

Championship Reigns of Undisputed Champions/Lineal Champions/The Ring Champions

The list does not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921, although it only includes heavyweight title reigns during which the champion captured

  • Undisputed Championship (02.07.1921–present)
  • Lineal Championship (1885–02.07.1921)
  • The Ring Championship.
Pos. Name Reign Began-Ended Recognition Beaten Opponents
1. Joe Louis June 22, 1937 — March 1, 1949 NYSAC, NBA 21
2. Larry Holmes June 9, 1978 — September 21, 1985 WBC, IBF 19
3. Wladimir Klitschko April 22, 2006 — November 28, 2015 WBA, IBF, WBO 17
4. Tommy Burns February 23, 1906 — December 26, 1908 lineal 11
5. Muhammad Ali October 30, 1974 — February 15, 1978 WBA, WBC 10
6. Mike Tyson November 22, 1986 — February 11, 1990 WBA, WBC, IBF 9
6. Joe Frazier March 4, 1968 — January 22, 1973 NYSAC, WBA, WBC 9
8. Lennox Lewis February 7, 1997 — April 22, 2001 WBA, WBC, IBF 8
8. Ezzard Charles September 27, 1950 — July 18, 1951 NBA, NYSAC 8
10. James J. Jeffries June 9, 1899 — May 13, 1905 lineal 6
10. Jack Johnson December 26, 1908 — April 5, 1915 lineal 6
12. Rocky Marciano September 23, 1952 — April 27, 1956 NYSAC, NBA 5
12. Jack Dempsey July 4, 1919 — September 23, 1926 lineal-to-NBA and NYSAC 5