Anthony Joshua hopes his showdown with Tyson Fury can be put back together for some point early in 2022.
The IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion is confident he’ll beat mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night in London to maintain his position in what would be billed as the biggest fight in British boxing history. Joshua isn’t so sure, though, that Fury will defeat Deontay Wilder in their third WBC championship match two weeks later.
England’s Joshua considers Fury-Wilder III a true “50-50 fight.” When pressed to pick a winner during a Zoom conference call Wednesday with reporters based in the United States, Joshua chose Wilder to defeat Fury by knockout October 9 in Las Vegas.
Oddsmakers have installed Fury as a 3-1 favorite to conquer Wilder again, but Joshua has noticed a fully focused Wilder while he has been preparing for his own tough title defense versus Usyk.
“I don’t know,” Joshua said. “I’m actually not too bothered [about the outcome]. But no, because you’ve asked the question, let’s go with Wilder because he seems obsessed. He seems like he really wants it. He seems really, really focused on the task ahead. So, you know, a focused man is a dangerous man. And he’s focused, so yeah, I think Wilder might get the decision.”
When asked to clarify if he meant Wilder would win a 12-round decision, Joshua stated that he doesn’t expect them to go the distance two weeks from Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
“Actually, no, it has to be a knockout,” Joshua said. “One of them will knock the other out.”
Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) will attempt to avenge his one-sided, seventh-round, technical-knockout loss to Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) in February 2020 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Neither Fury nor Wilder has fought since Fury floored Wilder twice, once apiece in the third and fifth rounds, 19 months ago and stopped him once Wilder’s former assistant trainer, Mark Breland, threw in the towel during the seventh round.
The 33-year-old Fury, of Manchester, England, and the 35-year-old Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will headline an ESPN/FOX Sports Pay-Per-View show.
Joshua, meanwhile, will attempt to become the first professional fighter to defeat Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion who is 2-0 since he moved up to the heavyweight division two years ago. The Caesars Sportsbook lists Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) as more than a 2-1 favorite to beat Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) in their 12-round main event at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The intriguing bout between Joshua, 31, and Usyk, 34, is the main event of a Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view show in the United Kingdom and Ireland (6 p.m. BST; £24.95). DAZN will stream their fight in the United States (1 p.m. EDT) and more than 200 additional countries and territories.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.