Carl Froch feels Tyson Fury has surpassed Anthony Joshua as boxing’s best heavyweight.
His upset points victory over long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, coupled with the dominant manner in which Fury defeated Deontay Wilder last month, propelled Fury above Joshua on Froch’s list. The retired Froch, a former IBF/WBA/WBC super middleweight champion, offered his rationale as part of Sky Sports’ panel discussion on the topic Friday.
“Tyson Fury is just in front of Anthony Joshua,” said Froch, who’s an analyst for Sky Sports. “Part of my reasoning for this is because he was the lineal champion, beating Wladimir Klitschko a few years ago to become champion, and never lost the titles in the ring. He came back when everybody thought he couldn’t beat Wilder and I thought he won the first fight, even though he got dropped [twice]. The rematch was so one-sided, so conclusive, and I just think you’ve got to put him at number one, above AJ.”
The 31-year-old Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) overwhelmed Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) by roughing up the former WBC champion and applying pressure throughout their rematch February 22 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
England’s Fury floored Wilder in the third round and again in the fifth. In the seventh round, when Fury landed several flush punches on an exhausted Wilder, Mark Breland, Wilder’s assistant trainer, threw in the towel and referee Kenny Bayless stopped their fight.
Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Fury fought to a controversial, 12-round split draw in their first fight, which took place in December 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The hard-hitting Wilder knocked down Fury twice in their initial meeting, once each in the ninth and 12th rounds.
The 30-year-old Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) regained his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles from Andy Ruiz Jr. on December 7 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Joshua out-boxed Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) to win their 12-round rematch by unanimous decision. Ruiz, of Imperial, California, was a huge underdog when he dropped Joshua four times and stopped him in the seventh round of their first fight June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“It’s [Fury] and AJ, one and two, and you think to yourself, logically, who wins between AJ and Fury?” Froch said. “I think most people, the general consensus would be that Fury wins that one, but the only way to end any debate would be to see them share the ring.”
Fury is contractually obligated to a third fight with Wilder, which could take place October 3. Their third meeting tentatively had been scheduled for July 18 at MGM Grand Garden Arena based on contract deadlines, but the coronavirus pandemic has pushed it back at least a couple months.
Joshua is scheduled to make a mandatory defense of his IBF title against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) on June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. That bout might get postponed until July 25, depending on adjustments to Tottenham Hotspur’s home soccer schedule caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.