By Keith Idec
In what has become almost a daily ritual, Tyson Fury took to Twitter to antagonize Anthony Joshua on Friday.
The former heavyweight champion called Joshua “a fraud” and criticized the knockout artist for struggling with 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko on April 29 in London. The 29-year-old Fury, who is set to come back after depression and drug addiction forced him to give up his heavyweight titles in 2016, stated earlier this week that he is willing to fight Joshua in his first fight back.
Their all-British battle would do huge business in the United Kingdom, but Joshua has other plans for the immediate future.
Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs), who has become one of boxing’s biggest stars, is headed toward a title unification fight against WBO champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) either late in March or early in April. An official announcement of the Joshua-Parker fight is expected soon.
Fury wants to challenge Joshua in his following fight, assuming the heavily favored IBF, IBO and WBA champ beats New Zealand’s Parker.
In his Tweet sent out Friday, Fury wrote: Don’t be fooled by this fraud @anthonyfjoshua trying to con the boxing fans, he struggled with a 41yo man in Wladimir after I schooled him! Then made hard work of takam who took fight on 11 days notice, I’m the real Don of the heavyweights if only he had the heart to fight me?
England’s Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) hasn’t fought since scoring an upset against Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) in November 2015. The 6-feet-9, 260-pound Fury out-boxed the 6-feet-6, 245-pound Klitschko during their 12-round championship match in Dusseldorf, Germany, to become the first fighter in 11½ years to beat the hard-hitting, long-reigning Ukrainian.
Their rematch was postponed, rescheduled and later canceled altogether due to Fury’s aforementioned struggles. Fury’s return was approved last month by the British Boxing Board of Control.
The outspoken ex-champion has been training for months to shed all the weight he gained during his time away from boxing.
Fury’s absence enabled Joshua to fight Klitschko in an unforgettable, back-and-forth slugfest Joshua won by 11th-round technical knockout before a crowd of roughly 90,000 at Wembley Stadium eight months ago.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.