It is the fight that has to happen, and it is a fight that could happen in 2021 after the two men agreed in principle to a two-fight deal earlier this year. But who will come out on top if/when Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua go head-to-head to determine the undisputed heavyweight champion of the boxing world?
Road To Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua
It would be the biggest British heavyweight fight since Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno collided at Cardiff Arms Park in October 1993, and it appears as though 2021 will be the year in which we finally see a huge showdown between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.
“We’re in a good place,” promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports News. “It’s fair to say that, in principle, both guys have agreed to that fight. Two fights. [There’s] a lot to overcome in the meantime. We’re moving in the right direction. I’m confident that both guys have given their blessing for the fight to go ahead.
“The point of Fury, Joshua and the teams agreeing to the structure of the deal? The first fight could happen next summer. It will be 2021. There is a big period of time where [Dillian] Whyte should get his shot at the title. That’s important to us. The main positive news is that Joshua and Fury have agreed to a two-fight deal, in essence.
“The most difficult part of any deal is the financial element. I believe we’re in a great place where both guys have agreed to what that should be. We have not signed contracts because there are still things to be worked out. We’re pushing towards a place where they can be drafted, for 2021. Both guys are in agreement. The structure of the deal has been put forward, and agreed to by both parties. There is a model in place that both parties are happy with.
“It’s the biggest fight ever in British boxing. It doesn’t get bigger, and there will never be a bigger fight in our generation. Two guys, very different, who fight differently, have experienced different things and have come back from adversity.”
Next year’s showdown could determine who is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, but how did we get to this point?
Tyson Fury’s rise back to the top of the heavyweight division has been one of the biggest British sporting stories in years. ‘The Gypsy King’ was on top of the world when he became the man to end Wladimir Klitschko’s dominance of the heavyweight ranks back in November 2015, but his reign proved to be short-lived as much talked about issues outside of the ring forced him on the sidelines for over two-and-a-half years.
Fury finally made his return to the ring with a farcical four-round win over Sefer Seferi in June 2018 before following it up with an underwhelming decision win over Francesco Pianeta a couple of months later that was designed to get some rounds under his belt. Immediately after the bout it was confirmed that his next outing would see him take on unbeaten WBC title-holder Deontay Wilder later in the year, and it was a decision that sparked much debate with many wondering if the former heavyweight champion had taken on the fight far too early.
Those doubters were silenced by a superb showing from Fury in Los Angeles. He outclassed the unbeaten ‘Bronze Bomber’ from almost start to finish, and despite being knocked down twice in the contest it was widely felt that the challenger had done more than enough to have his hand raised. Two judges controversially disagreed however, resulting in a split decision draw that saw Wilder hold onto his crown. Fury would leave no doubt just over 14 months later though, outclassing the champion from start to finish before stopping him in the seventh round to become a two-time heavyweight champion.
It was quickly confirmed that Wilder would activate a rematch clause in the contract that would force Fury to make his first defence against the former champion, but that did not stop plenty of discussion over whether or not the American could be persuaded to step aside in order to let the two champions in the division – Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua – go head-to-head for all of the marbles.
Joshua, of course, is back atop the heavyweight division and is holding all but one of the titles after he successfully avenged the only defeat of his career to become a two-time champion in 2019. ‘AJ’ was the top dog in the division when he attempted to make splash in America last year, and while his US debut did grab headlines they were for all the wrong reasons.
Joshua had been set to take on Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller in New York until a failed drug test took the challenger out of the bout. Promoter Eddie Hearn pressed on with the event though and it was soon confirmed that Andy Ruiz Jr would provide the opposition for Joshua at the world famous Madison Square Garden.
Casual fans wrote off the much small and much chunkier challenger, but those who knew their boxing knew that he was a step up in quality from Miller. Joshua was still expected to win though and he appeared on course for a routine stoppage success when he floored Ruiz Jr in the third round. However, Ruiz Jr had other ideas. He climbed to his feet and dropped the champion moments later, and he then went on to floor Joshua three more times before the referee stepped in and waved it off, signalling the arrival of the first ever Mexican heavyweight champion of the world.
Following the bout there was much discussion about what had gone wrong for Joshua – had he been ill, had been knocked out in sparring, had he taken the challenger lightly? The former champion, to his credit, offered no excuses, instead triggering the rematch clause to ensure that he would get the first crack at Ruiz Jr. Joshua slimmed down, acknowledging that the mass he had gained in recent years was not good form him, and he righted all of the wrongs in Saudi Arabia as he picked apart Ruiz Jr en route to a landslide decision that gave him back the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO titles.
Back on top of the world, Joshua was slated for a first defence against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, but still there was plenty of talk about whether or not he could skip that bout in favour of a huge unification clash with Fury. Promoter Hearn spoke publicly about his desire to make the fight happen, but at the time of writing no agreement has been reached between the parties that would be involved with getting a deal done. Fury v Joshua has to happen though, and the big question is who will come out on top when it does? Read on for our free Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua predictions and tips…
Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua Predictions & Tips
Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua Tips: Expert Predictions
Boxing legend Roy Jones Jr talking to IFL TV: “I think it’s going to be a tougher fight for him [Fury] than Wilder was because Joshua has more weaponry in terms of what he can bring to the table. He’s already brought a few plans to the table, so it’ll be tough. Tyson Fury is one of the smartest guys in boxing today. I told him straight three or four years ago that if he got his act together and himself in shape, he’d be very happy with the outcome because he can beat all the guys. He’s smarter than most of them. He’s more gifted in boxing than most of them. He uses his tools smarter than most of them. Muhammad Ali was the greatest of all time but he only used 65% boxing skill and 35% was his mind. So much of boxing is mental. I’m not saying Fury is as good as Ali skill-wise but he has a mind like Ali. With a mind like that, he can be anybody.”
Former world heavyweight champion David Haye talking to Boxing Social: “I think the only person who has the artillery, the skill set, the athleticism, the clean living, the know-how, the experience, to have a chance to beat Fury right now is Anthony Joshua. I think he’s the only person, realistically. If you were a betting man, if anyone’s got a chance they’d put [their money] on Joshua. I don’t know [though], I can see Fury out-boxing Joshua long on the inside, but then again I can see Anthony Joshua letting his hands go in the middle range. He throws such quick shots. The way he knocked out Alexander Povetkin, the fight was uncomfortable for him for a few rounds but when he put his shots together, it was over.”
Multiple-weight world champion Bernard Hopkins talking to Sky Sports’ Toe 2 Toe podcast: “Joshua versus Fury is a fight that both guys could win or lose. I like Joshua to be tested, to get his feelings hurt early – that might be a knock-down but he will get up. Because of the lesson that he learned being, not unprepared, but overconfident he paid a big price (in the first fight against Andy Ruiz Jr). He redeemed himself. Now that is in his memory – what not to do ever again – Joshua beats Fury by knockout late. It will be an interesting, exciting five or six rounds at the beginning. Then Joshua’s athleticism, boxing IQ and experience would overwhelm Fury.”
🥊JOSHUA v FURY PICKS🤔
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) December 31, 2020
Ex-light-welterweight world champion Amir Khan talking to FightHype: “My opinion, and I’ve always said that Tyson Fury is the best heavyweight in the division. With the skill set he has got, he beats anyone with power. What he did to Deontay Wilder, no-one would expect that. If that same Fury goes into a fight with Anthony Joshua, it’s always going to be Fury that wins that. I still favour him if he gets that fight and I think it will be an easy win for him. I feel AJ is more a robotic style, similar to a Frank Bruno style, and he is very strong. If AJ catches you then he’s going to hurt you. But we have seen Fury being hit by the hardest hitter, Wilder, being put down and he got back up again. All day going into that fight Fury wins. I think he has got everything on his side.”
Former two-weight world champion Billy Joe Saunders talking to IFL.tv: “AJ has done some big, big things for boxing. He’s done some brilliant things and I like him, he’s a good boxer. I probably put him in as the second best but there’s no comparisons are there? I want to see Tyson v AJ because I want to see Tyson with all the belts. It’s a big fight to make. But people saying “AJ will win”… just give over. I just don’t think Joshua’s style will cause Tyson any trouble at all. I don’t want to sound biased but I can see it being one-sided and only lasting six or seven rounds.”
Promoter Frank Warren talking to the Daily Express: “Tyson will do to Joshua exactly what he did to Wilder. What people forget about Fury is that he’s got a very strong chin. He’s got a great boxing brain, he’s got great hand speed, he’s got great footwork, he’s brave, we’ve seen him get off the floor. We’ve seen him do all of that. AJ was terribly exposed against Andy Ruiz Jr. Does anyone think AJ can outbox Tyson Fury? No. Has AJ got a better chin than Tyson Fury? No. Is he a bigger puncher than Tyson Fury? No. That’s where I’m at. He’s much more game than AJ, too. I don’t see many fighters that have what Fury does and AJ’s plan to get the world titles back was helped by the fact Ruiz trained with McDonald’s before he got in the ring with him.”30