The Lineal World Champions

Over the next few months will be uploading and displaying the Lineal World Champions, since the start of the gloved era, in professional boxing’s 17 divisions. We begin with what has traditionally been boxing’s flagship and most prestigious division: Heavyweight. 

England’s James Figg, during the bareknuckle era, was recognised as boxing’s first ever world champion in 1719, but it wasn’t until 166 years later, that  American sporting super star, “The Boston Strong Boy,” John L. Sullivan, transitioned the Heavyweight Championship into the Marquess of Queensbury, gloved era. Since then, the weight class has been graced by some of the most fascinating and formidable figures, not just boxing, but sport has ever seen. Ruthless destroyers, Jack Dempsey, Sonny Liston, George Foreman and Mike Tyson...slick boxers like Gene Tunney and Jersey Joe Walcott…behemoths Primo Carnera, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko…and of course, arguably the two greatest of them all, Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis. One thing all of these Hall of Fame fighters have in common, is that irrespective of what “Alphabet” sanctioning body titles they held, they are viewed as legitimate World Heavyweight Champions, based on the Lineal, “man who beat the man” principle.