Anthony Joshua may have been silent on the topic of a massive clash with fellow Brit Tyson Fury for a few weeks since that big June 10 announcement – but he’s making up for it now.
AJ (23-1) took part in a live Q and A with Sky Sports users on Thursday, and openly questioned the quality of Fury’s 30-0-1 record as the pair move inevitably towards a showdown next summer – hopefully for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.
Joshua said: “If the sport is lacking so much talent, it just shows all you need is feints and a bit of movement to be classed as one of the all-time greats of this generation right? That’s why I believe a little bit of hard work, motivation and studying and you can overcome that hurdle that maybe is Tyson Fury. That’s what I’m wondering, what is it that people see in Tyson Fury that is so intimidating or fearful or that he can’t be touched at the top level?”
While Fury has twice become heavyweight champion of the world with epic performances against feared opponents – first with a points defeat of Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 and then via that stunning TKO defeat of Deontay Wilder in 2020 – Joshua says that’s just not enough to justify the hype ‘The Gypsy King’ receives.
“His first challenge was Wladimir Klitschko and he overcame that. That took him maybe eight years where he turned professional, built up his experience and confidence and finally fought Wladimir Klitschko, then he had some years out and fought Deontay Wilder.
“I just think he hasn’t been in the deep end enough to show me that he can swim there for a long time in my opinion. You have to continuously prove to me that you belong there, you don’t just come there once or twice you have got to continuously fight against championship fighters and that’s how you gain my respect.”
Joshua and Fury, as announced by the latter on June 10, have agreed in principle the financial structure of a two-fight deal with a 50-50 split for the first bout and the winner taking a 60-40 share for the rematch.
But first they both have interim bouts – Joshua against IBF mandatory contender Kubrat Pulev (28-1) of Bulgaria – likely at London’s O2 Arena in November or early December according to AJ’s promoter, Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn.
Fury meanwhile must face Wilder (42-1-1) in their third fight after ‘The Bronze Bomber’ exercised his contractual right to another rematch. That bout, COVID-19 permitting, appears likely to take place on Saturday December 19 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas – home of the National Football League’s Las Vegas Raiders.
Fury (if he beats Wilder) may also have to lock horns with WBC mandatory Dillian Whyte (27-1) before he can face Joshua, while the WBO wants Joshua to face its mandatory contender – former cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk (17-0) before any unification fight can take place.