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Tyson Fury’s next move

Frank Monkhouse | 9 August 2017

Heavyweight king has a score to settle

Anthony Joshua’s titanic world heavyweight battle with Wladimir Klitschko in front of a packed-out Wembley Stadium on Saturday got the sports world talking. It was great for boxing, bringing the fight game back to the masses, and the bout itself more than lived up to the hype.

AJ is now the undisputed king of the ring, or is he? No sooner had the fighting pride of Watford downed his man in the 11th, former ruler Tyson Fury threw his hat into the ring, taking to Twitter to remind his army of fans that he remains the true champion of the world.

BBC's Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2015

Fury did a better job against Klitschko

Fury famously beat Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, taking the Englishman’s record to 25 wins from as many contests, 18 of those victories coming inside the distance. It must be said too that Fury did do a more impressive job on Klitschko than Joshua. Controversial, but true. Going to Germany, he upset one of the sport’s longest-running champions on points, boxing with his hands down and making a bit of a mockery of the great man.

Fury also took what appeared to be Dr Steelhammer’s best shot on the chin, and didn’t flinch. A very similar shot had AJ on the seat of his pants at Wembley in round six. Interesting stuff. Problems outside of the ring forced the 6ft 9inch traveller to give up his titles, blaming depression for his inactivity. Since handing in his cards, he has been seen to balloon up in weight, stage a number of very strange outbursts on Twitter, admit to having a problem with cocaine, and announce his retirement then comeback again almost on a weekly basis.

Big Tyson is hungry again

Those who have followed the former champ’s moves in recent months will agree he is in no fit state mentally to be challenging Joshua, but it seems the 2012 gold medallist’s weekend victory has given Fury his hunger back, and he wants in on the action to settle an old score.

So, what is the best route back for the sport’s fallen hero? Should he jump straight in against AJ? Well, the time away didn’t appear to do Klitschko any harm, the German-based fighter’s last outing before Saturday was against Fury, and he turned up in great shape. Fury is still ranked number one in the world by many fans, and if fit and happy outside of the ring, four or five months would be a realistic goal to come back.

That timeframe would allow Joshua to recharge from his latest triumph, and then enter a training camp. It would also give Fury a bit more time to drag his weight down and get back into some sort of fighting shape. If he was to face the battle of Britain he’d have to be light and quick to avoid AJ’s power shots.

Wladimir Klitschko vs Tyson Fury

Sooner the better for Joshua

To make things all the more interesting with Joshua, Tyson could go and get himself a belt to bring to the table. New Zealand’s Joseph Parker – undefeated in 22 – has the WBO, and Fury getting his hands on that would give him a serious bargaining tool. That’s a very winnable fight, but I don’t think he needs the belt too much, he has something better, the tag of a world champion who never lost his titles in the ring.

Any warm-up could, of course, put a Joshua – Fury battle at serious risk. AJ would probably have to fight again to keep his belts, and he could lose. Fury could find the time off has taken its toll and fail a warm-up. Both would end any hopes of the big one. Team Joshua will want Fury sooner rather than later, as there’s still question marks hanging over him, while the inactivity won’t help. If this is going to happen, expect everyone connected to the champ, Eddie Hearn included, to push for a summer showdown at a major venue.

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