Anthony Joshua has taken Tyson Fury’s latest retirement proclamation about as seriously as most people who follow boxing.
Joshua is certain that a victory over Oleksandr Usyk in their rematch Saturday night would lure Fury back to the negotiating table for what would be billed as the biggest fight in British boxing history. If the huge heavyweight regains his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts from Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, it seemingly would be difficult for Fury to pass on a showdown with Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) that would secure a career-high purse and an opportunity to become boxing’s fully unified champion in their division.
“Yeah, I can bring him out of retirement, a hundred percent,” Joshua told a small group of reporters Wednesday during a conference call. “I think he’ll bring himself out of retirement. You know what I’m saying? I think he’ll bring himself out of retirement, sh!t. There’s nothing for him to do and I think he’s not thought of his life after boxing.
“So, I think he’s pretty bored. You end up getting a dog, getting a Ferrari, like to keep yourself busy. There’s not much else to do except for walk your dog now. So yeah, I think he will come out of retirement soon.”
The 34-year-old Fury announced his retirement yet again Friday, after openly discussing his desire to make a comparatively meaningless WBC title defense against Dereck Chisora. Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) has already beaten the 38-year-old Chisora twice and Chisora (33-12, 23 KOs) has lost three of his past four fights, a stretch that includes a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to Usyk and back-to-back 12-round losses to former WBO champ Joseph Parker (30-2, 21 KOs).
Fury, meanwhile, is a bigger star than he has ever been in his home country and could capitalize financially like never before by boxing Joshua. If Usyk were to defeat Joshua again, a Fury-Usyk fight would be less lucrative for the Manchester native, yet still would afford him a huge purse and the chance to regain the IBF, WBA and WBO belts he relinquished to focus on his mental health and sobriety after he upset Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015.
Caesars Sportsbook lists Usyk as a 2-1 favorite to defeat Joshua, who lost a 12-round unanimous decision to the former undisputed cruiserweight champ last September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Sky Sports Box Office will televise the Usyk-Joshua rematch as the main event of a pay-per-view broadcast in the United Kingdom and Ireland (1 p.m. BST; £26.95). DAZN’s coverage of the Usyk-Joshua undercard is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET in the United States.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.