Joshua v Fury: Where the fight could be won or lost
Preview of the heavyweight showdown
The status of the all-British blockbuster between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury is currently unknown just as it seemed the fight to determine the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world was on the cusp of being announced.
A legal ruling in the United States has ordered Fury to fulfil his contractual obligation to face Deontay Wilder for a third time, mere hours after the Briton revealed he had agreed to face Joshua on August 14 in Saudi Arabia.
While the decision by an arbitrator, which can be legally binding, could at least temporarily delay Joshua v Fury, we look at how a bout between the pair could be won or lost.
Picture the heavyweight greats. From Jacks Johnson and Dempsey, to Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman, and Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, they were all heavy-handed.
Not too many fighters in boxing’s heaviest division succeed without being able to bang and Joshua and Fury are no different – although neither is renowned for being a one-hitter quitter, relying on cumulative blows instead.
Of Joshua’s 24 wins, 22 have come inside the distance, and his uppercut looks particularly troublesome for his rivals. Fury, meanwhile, demonstrated his brawn when beating Wilder last year, leading to unfounded allegations from the American that his foe had tampered with his gloves.
If Joshua (24-1, 22KOs) can with some justification claim to have the edge in power, then it is indisputable that Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) is the superior boxer.
Fury showed off his full repertoire to subdue no lesser figure than Wladimir Klitschko, ending the Ukrainian’s nine-year reign as champion in Dusseldorf in November 2015, in one of the greatest wins abroad by a Briton.
Joshua, though, proved he is no one-trick pony when regaining his WBA, IBF and WBO titles with a near-shutout of an admittedly out-of-shape Andy Ruiz Jr in their December 2019 rematch. In avenging the only loss of his professional career, Joshua boxed well behind the jab and showed impressive movement.
Fury has proved elusive for many an adversary, and there are countless examples of fighters attempting to land a haymaker on the reigning WBC champion and finding nothing but fresh air.
While his exemplary defence has bailed him out several times, he has been hurt and floored – most recently by Wilder in their first fight in December 2018, only to rise Undertaker-like to battle to a draw.
Joshua’s fallibility was there for all to see in his first fight against Ruiz Jr in June 2019, with the Watford fighter unable to recover after a left to the temple early on before being put out of his misery in the seventh round.
It is difficult to predict the mentality of both fighters heading into what would be the biggest fight of their lives.
They both showed fortitude and an ability to adapt in their toughest tests so far – Joshua when daring to be dull in widely outpointing Ruiz Jr in their rematch and Fury for showing his power against Wilder in their return bout.
Fury has a three-inch height advantage – he is 6ft 9in to Joshua’s 6ft 6in – and is likely to outweigh his rival by between 20 and 30lbs. Allied to his boxing skills, many favour Fury but Joshua’s struggles have always come against smaller opponents while his punch power means he can never be discounted.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication