‘Fury a monster, Joshua needs to learn’ – Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson, former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, has had his say on the men currently bidding to take that vaunted mantle – including Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.

‘Iron Mike’ is currently preparing for a fight of his own – an exhibition against Roy Jones Jr on Saturday November 28. He took time out though to air his views on the present crop of elite big men.

He did so in an in-depth interview with ESPN, giving the following verdicts:

Mike Tyson on today’s heavyweights

Mike Tyson on Tyson Fury

“I think he’s very good. He looks like he’s not intimidating, but he’s really elusive, he really knows how to box, he’s really smart and he’s really difficult to hit and he’s 7-foot, damn near. He’s a monster.”

Mike Tyson on Anthony Joshua

“I don’t think he’s a paper champion. I just think he’s a big guy, it’s hard to fight being that big. It’s very difficult being that big and having to fight a smaller guy – that guy could learn some more. He could be taught some more stuff.”

Mike Tyson on Deontay Wilder

“When Wilder gets his head out of his butt, he’s good. Wilder just gotta stop internalising stuff, this guy is great. Just keep on fighting. Fight [Fury] again. Fight him a third time. Whenever you have an opportunity to fight for the title, he should fight. We can only do this for a certain amount of time in our life, and then we can’t do it any more. So we have to do it as much as we can before we end this stuff.”

The road to undisputed

The route to boxing’s next undisputed heavyweight champion remains as complex as ever. It is now 21 years since the last one reigned – Britain’s Lennox Lewis following that rematch win over Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas.

Wilder’s chance (for now) appears to be in grave danger after his planned trilogy fight with Fury collapsed. There are moves though via mediation to get the bout back on.

Fury meanwhile is “moving on” to a UK homecoming bout on December 5 – likely against undefeated German Agit Kabayel (20-0). Joshua defends his IBF, WBA and WBO belts against Kubrat Pulev a week later on December 12.

Assuming both men are victorious in their December bouts, the path would appear to be clear for a massive summer showdown.

Oleksandr Usyk though is the WBO mandatory challenger and wants an immediate shot at Joshua after he fights Pulev.

So AJ likely has the difficult decision of whether to vacate the WBO belt to meet Fury, or defend against Usyk. The former would mean Fury vs Joshua would not be for the undisputed championship. A stated career goal for AJ.