Tyson Fury definitely doesn’t want Anthony Joshua to lose to Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night in London.
If Usyk upsets Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Joshua has said he would make use of his contractual right to an immediate rematch and attempt to regain his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles. That disruptive result could leave Fury to find another opponent in a less lucrative event than if the unbeaten Brit were to face Joshua next in the most meaningful fight in British boxing history.
When informed by BoxingScene.com that Joshua suggested earlier that day Deontay Wilder will knock him out in their third fight October 9, an unfazed Fury expressed his own concerns about Joshua’s ability to defeat the unbeaten Usyk.
“You know, I really don’t make much of it,” Fury told BoxingScene.com in reference to Joshua’s prediction. “These guys are my rivals, so I expect them to want to beat me, of course. I’m a one-man army. They all wanna beat me. I’m the only undefeated champion left. So, it’s like, ‘Oh, gang up on me, and let’s try and get him to lose as well, like we all are.’ So, you know, I think he’s got more on his plate, though, than thinking about what I’m gonna do in my fight. He’s got to win his own fight and we’ll see what happens with his fight on Saturday, because I’m not convinced that he is gonna win, either.”
Unless Uysk (18-0, 13 KOs) cannot handle Joshua’s power early in their scheduled 12-round championship match, Fury envisions Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) having a lot of difficulty dealing with the technically sound southpaw. Fury questioned the 6-feet-6, 245-pound Joshua’s stamina, as well as his ability to out-think the intelligent, skillful Usyk.
“I expect AJ to come out trying to box a bit more because of this new way he boxes now and uses his jab,” Fury said. “And he knows he doesn’t have the stamina to take a fight to somebody under sustained pressure, and keep that up, because he gasses after about three rounds. And then he needs to take three or four rounds off. So, he wouldn’t be able to do that against Usyk because Usyk will be on him all the time, making him fight. So, I expect it to be awkward, maybe a bit of a chess match for a few rounds. And I expect AJ to run out of ideas, really. If he doesn’t land on him early and get him out of there with big punches, then I see it being a tough night for AJ and maybe even a stoppage loss.”
Despite his reservations regarding Joshua’s chances Saturday night, Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), who is consistently listed as a 3-1 favorite over Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), admitted that he views this as a “50-50 fight.”
“I’m not a betting man, so I don’t really bet,” Fury said. “But, you know, I think it’s a real pick ‘em fight. Whoever you’d like to pick on the night maybe would win, but you know, I can make a lot of reasons why AJ would lose this fight and Usyk would win. One is he’s a big southpaw and he’s awkward and, you know, a slick boxer. I think he punches harder than people give him credit for. But it’s not how hard you punch – you’ve just gotta keep hitting that target and, sooner or later, the big bodybuilder will fall apart at the seams, like an old, cheap cushion, falling to bits, all the bits falling off it. And he runs out of ideas quite quickly as well, Joshua. He’s a one-trick pony.”
Fury had hoped to expose what he considers Joshua’s flaws in their own heavyweight title fight, which they thought would happen late in July or early in August in Saudi Arabia. An arbitrator ultimately ruled in mid-May, however, that Fury was legally obligated to honor Wilder’s contractual right to their third fight.
The third Fury-Wilder fight was subsequently scheduled for July 24 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Fury tested positive for COVID-19 about 2½ weeks earlier, though, and their ESPN/FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event was rescheduled for two weeks from Saturday night.
If the 33-year-old Fury beats Alabama’s Wilder again, he hopes his co-promoters, Bob Arum and Frank Warren, can revisit his showdown with Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn. That, of course, would require Joshua to conquer Usyk in a fascinating fight Sky Sports Box Office will offer as a pay-per-view main event in the United Kingdom and Ireland (6 p.m. BST; £24.95) and DAZN will stream in the United States (1 p.m. EDT) and numerous other countries.
“If he lost on Saturday, I’d be pretty disappointed,” Fury said. “But, you know, everything happens for a reason. And when one door shuts, another door opens. And we’ll see what goes on. You know, the heavyweight landscape is a crazy, old one, because as we’ve seen over the last 20 years or so, things happen. People lose, they come back, they lose again, whatever. It’s this crazy world. Anybody can beat anyone in heavyweight boxing because it’s the big guys and with one punch, it can be all over, as we’ve seen many, many times.
“So, with heavyweights, you can never put your house on it either way, unless you wanted to lose. Nothing’s ever a hundred percent. Even if you’re fighting the worst heavyweight in the world and you’re the best heavyweight in the world, there’s always that chance that you could walk into a big punch, and it could be all over. So, you know, everyone has to be on their ‘A’ game and keep focused for 100 percent of the time that they’re in the boxing ring with any opponent.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.