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Joshua: I don’t have much respect for many heavyweights

By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua doesn’t like the way that Tyson Fury has been letting it have it with a nonstop flow of criticism about his career, talent and his physique. Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) feels that Fury is discrediting his accomplishments that he’s achieved during his 4-year pro career. For that reason, Joshua says he doesn’t respect the 29-year-old Fury (25-0, 18 KOs).

It appears that Fury’s verbal barbs are starting to get to Joshua, who seems be a little thin-skinned when it comes to his ability to soak up constructive criticism. Instead of the 6’5”, 254lb. Joshua taking Fury’s negative comments as him being helpful, he’s getting upset about it.


It appears that Joshua wants Fury to follow in the tradition of saying nice things outside of the ring, and taking the high ground. That’s not Fury’s style though. When he sees a flaw in a heavyweight, he’s going to let them know about it. You can say that Fury is as honest as a child in that respect.

Fury’s negative remarks about Joshua are basically the same things that many boxing fans are saying as well as far as him fighting poor opposition, gassing out often, and having too many muscles on his bodybuilding frame.

“What we are achieving as heavyweight champions is phenomenal,” Joshua said to the BBC Sport. “But for someone in my own industry to discredit it, I can’t respect that person. I don’t respect him (Fury). I don’t have much respect for many boxers in the heavyweight division. It’s not an act with me. I’m being honest. I used to. I used to say very nice things,” said Joshua.

If Joshua is no longer respecting Fury because he’s not pouring compliments over his head one after another, then it’s pretty sad. What will Fury turn into if all he’s doing is telling Joshua how great he is? If Fury has to lather up Joshua by pouring the love on super thick with the compliments, won’t that make him look bad in the eyes of fans? To me, it would put Fury in a one down position, where he’s not on the same level as Joshua. Once Fury starts bombarding Joshua with niceties, the next thing you know it, it could lead to Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn giving him a lowball offer. Why should Hearn give Fury a 50-50 split of the purse if all he’s doing is complimenting Joshua 24/7? Fury’s nonstop compliments of Joshua would be interpreted as him saying he’s not on the same level as him in terms of talent and ability despite the fact that he beat Wladimir Klitschko in a better fashion. Fury treating Joshua like he’s royalty instead of a flawed heavyweight that won titles against Charles Martin and an over-the-hill Wladimir, it would be a huge mistake in my view. Fury’s job in life isn’t to tell Joshua how great he is and bow before him. Fury’s job is to tell him what he thinks of him, and to see if the two of them can face each other with a fair purse split in the future.


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Joshua says he doesn’t have much respect for the other heavyweights in the division. Does that mean that Joshua views himself as being superior to the other heavyweights in the division or does he not respect them because they’re not saying good things about him? I would hope that Joshua isn’t insisting that all the top heavyweights compliment him all the time, and only speak of him in glowing terms, filled with reference for his talents. That would be pathetic. If all the other heavyweights in the division turn into sycophants, then how would that look? If Joshua is saying he doesn’t have respect for many of the heavyweights, then why should it bother him that a handful of them are openly letting him know that they don’t have much respect for him either. The difference is that Joshua is silent about his lack of respect for certain heavyweights, whereas guys like Joseph Parker and Fury are letting him know what they feel about him.

It sounds like Joshua wants Fury to be one of those back slappers that smothers him with compliments instead of letting him know where he needs improvement. That’s kind of disappointing. You have to wonder what it’s like to be Joshua’s trainer. Does he have problems with Joshua when he tells him that he needs to work on areas of his game or does he take the criticism with an open mind? The things that Fury is saying about Joshua are comments about the improvements that he needs to make. For example, Fury calling Joshua’s past opponents, ‘Bum’ isn’t meant to be mean-spirited, I’m sure. I think it’s more of a case of Fury letting Joshua know that he’s not been facing good opposition during his career. I mean, judge for yourself. Look at Joshua’s last 11 opponents:

Carlos Takam

Wladimir Klitschko – 41-years-old and coming off of a 2-year layoff and a loss to Fury at the time he fought Joshua


Eric Molina – A fringe contender that had recently been knocked out by Deontay Wilder before facing Joshua

Dominic Breazeale – A heavyweight with a lot of flaws in his game. Journeyman Fred Kassi arguably beat Breazeale in 2015, and Amir Mansour was on his way to beating him too before he suffered a mouth injury last year in their fight in January 2016

Charles Martin – Former paper champion

Dillian Whyte – A flawed heavyweight

Gary Cornish – domestic level heavyweight

Kevin Johnson – journeyman fighter

Raphael Zumbano Love – Journeyman

Jason Gavern – journeyman

Michael Sprott – journeyman

If I speak well of Tyson Fury and say,’ what he’s achieved is so hard and I respect him’ it builds the credibility of the heavyweight championship belt up. But when Tyson Fury says, ‘Anthony Joshua is a bum’ and, ‘look at him, he’s struggling against this opponent,’ it discredits everything I’ve achieved,” said Joshua.

This is what I’m talking about when I say that it sounds like Joshua expects the other heavyweights to be saying nothing but nice things about him. Joshua isn’t used to being criticized in a constructive manner. It’s too bad Joshua can’t here Fury out and understand that he’s only trying to help him. Fury calling Joshua’s past opponents bums is his way of bluntly letting him know that he’s been padding his record by fighting fodder opposition. Fury letting Joshua know that he’s just a bodybuilder is his way of telling him that he needs to trim down his physique. The guy that Joshua should be going ballistic on is his promoter Eddie Hearn, because he’s the guy that has been matching him against all the cream puffs. Joshua shouldn’t get upset with Fury for him giving him a wakeup call by letting him know that his opposition has been largely terrible during his 4-year pro career. Hearn is the one that matched Joshua up against all the weak opponents. Hearn could have matched Joshua against far better opposition a long time ago if he’d wanted to. Hearn opted not to put Joshua in with dangerous guys. So, instead of Joshua fighting the likes of David Haye, Deontay Wilder, Luis Ortiz, Tyson Fury and Alexander Povetkin, we’ve seen Hearn put him in with Molina, Breazeale, Cornish, Sprott, and Kevin Johnson. Hearn could have matched Joshua up against Wladimir Klitschko 4 years ago when the Ukrainian was nearing the end of his prime at 37. Why didn’t Hearn match Joshua up against Wladimir while he was still at his best instead of waiting until he was 41, coming off of a loss to Fury and a 2-year layoff? It seems to me that Joshua has been protected by Hearn to keep him from being put in harm’s way against guys that would have a good chance of beating him. But instead of Joshua realizing that he’s been carefully matched by Hearn, he’s getting upset at Fury for him pointing out the obvious by raising the veil from in front of Joshua’s eyes.

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Despite Joshua being unhappy with Fury telling him like it is, he still wants to fight him. Joshua dislikes Fury, but he’s more than willing to face him inside the ring. You can argue that if Joshua doesn’t respect Fury, then he should shun him completely by not wanting to fight him, right? To me, that makes more sense than Joshua blabbering about how much he dislikes Fury and then in his next breath he talks about wanting to fight him. What does achieve? It’s not as if Fury will stop opening his yap if he loses the fight to Joshua. Fury will still likely point out the obvious about Joshua’s career. I hate to rain on his parade, but Joshua isn’t going to get any credit for beating Fury. With Fury having been out of the ring for 2 years and having ballooned up close to 400 pounds, Joshua won’t receive credit from the hardcore boxing fans if he beats him. It’ll be just like Joshua not receiving credit for beating 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko. The only people that seem to be giving Joshua credit for his win over Klitschko are the casual boxing fans, who had no clue that Wladimir was 41, way past his prime, and coming off of a 2-year layoff. The hardcore fans that know about boxing largely didn’t give Joshua credit for beating Wladimir, because it wasn’t much of a victory. When a ring rusty, past his prime Wladimir has Joshua on the brink of defeat, it tells you that AJ is not as good as the hype that surrounds him.

“He is a lively opponent when he is fit,” Joshua said in talking about Fury. “He’s more than welcome to enter a ring with me. It’s something we should be focusing on in 2018. With all due respect to Tyson Fury, it would be wise if his handlers got him a few fights. Get the body ticking over again and get that love for the sport back. Get a few wins under the belt and then we can get cracking,” Joshua.

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It seems to me that if Joshua dislikes Fury so much, then he shouldn’t want to fight him. Why fight the guy if you don’t like him.

Joshua says “we should all be focusing on” is a fight between him and Tyson Fury in 2018. That comment rings alarm bells in my mind, as it suggests that Joshua wants to get Fury while he’s rusty from inactivity from a 2-year layoff, and he wants to get at him before he’s gotten the Fury express to a full head of steam. Frankly, that comes across to me like Joshua wants to get a shot at Fury before he’s fully dusted the cobwebs off his game. If Joshua gets a fight with the ring rusty Fury like he did against the ring rusty Wladimir, then that’ll increase his chances of beating him. Once Joshua has beaten Fury, then he can move on and put him in the rearview mirror like he’s done against past opponents like Whyte, Martin, Molina and Breazeale. Fury will be put on ignore by a lot of boxing fans if he loses to Joshua. Fury could call out Joshua all he wants, and it wouldn’t likely get him a second shot at fighting him. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn could put him at the same status as Haye, who he’s been arguably ignoring for the last 2 years in terms of him getting a chance to fight AJ.

Joshua is going to have a mess of problems with Fury if the 2 end up fighting each other in 2018 or 2019. Fury is going to be ripping into Joshua during the press conferences and when the 2 need to conduct stare downs for the boxing media and fans. Joshua not being able to handle Fury’s comments about his defects in his game and his training methods, it’s going to be bad. I’d hate to see Joshua go into a mental meltdown from Fury just giving him some helpful advice. Joshua could get so worked up that he’ll fall apart like an old car in the 1st round against Fury. I hope that’s not the case. Joshua needs to keep things in perceptive and realize this an athletic competition.




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