By Tim Royner: Tyson Fury is still slowly losing weight to get in condition to resume his boxing career in March or April. Fury doesn’t seem too concerned about heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs).
Despite all the hype about Joshua, Fury feels he’s currently behind WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bromber’ Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs), and he thinks he’ll lose to him when the times comes for the two to battle it out in a unification. Fury, of course, sees himself as the best heavyweight in the division, bar none, and he intends on proving it.
Fury may not want to admit it now, but he’s behind Joshua and Wilder in the talent department at this time. If Fury were to get into the ring with either of them in the early part of 2018, it would likely end badly for him. Fury is too rusty from inaction, and it’s going to probably take a good 2 years for him to get back to the level he was at in 2015. Fury doesn’t realize yet what’s in store for him in terms of hard work in trying to reestablish himself, but he’ll find out soon.
Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) is keeping his eyes on his main competition in the division, and that would appear to be Wilder and Joshua right now. WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker will get a chance to prove that he belongs with the best when he faces Joshua in the first half of the year. But guys like Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz, Dillian Whyte and Jarrell Miller don’t figure to ever grab the top No.1 position in the heavyweight division. They’re too old or too limited in the talent department.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that he’s on top of the pack, by no shot of the imagination,” Fury said to skysports.com. “He’s doing well and he’s got some belts. But is he a better fighter than Deontay Wilder? In my opinion, he’s not.”
Fury thinks Joshua lacks the agility to deal with the faster, more athletic 6’7” Wilder. Joshua has treated his pro career more like an NFL football player than a boxer with the way he’s added weight seemingly for no reason. The weight hasn’t made Joshua a better fighter. It has slowed him down. However, the 28-year-old Joshua now appears to be in the process of losing weight to trim down to help his speed and endurance. In recent photo taken of Joshua on Snapchat, he weighed in at 244 lbs. That might not sound like a light weight for a heavyweight, but when you look at the 254 pounds Joshua weighed for his last fight in October against Carlos Takam, it shows how hard he appears to be working to trim down. In the next 2 months, boxing fans will get a chance to see how serious Joshua is in cutting weight for his next fight against Parker. If Joshua attends his press conferences with Parker as big as a house, then you must conclude that he’s going to continue to be heavy for a little while longer. Who knows? It might take a loss or a really bad performance by Joshua to make him want to lose a lot of the muscle weight.
Wilder may not be as good as Fury thinks he is. Wilder still hasn’t faced a good heavyweight during his 10-year pro career. He was supposed to fight Povetkin and Ortiz in 2016 and 2017, but neither of those fights took place due to failed drug tests by those fighters. Ortiz and Povetkin are likely behind Joshua in the talent department, and possibly even Parker. Wilder will need to show against Ortiz that he can beat a fighter with better boxing skills and experience than himself. Ortiz isn’t more experienced at the pro level than Wilder, but he certainly has more knowledge from his long amateur career in Cuba.
“And if them two fought, I believe that Wilder would knock him out,” said Fury in continuing to talk of his belief that Wilder will beat Joshua if the two ever fight.
Joshua has a chance to prove himself as the best heavyweight in the division in 2018 if his promoter Eddie Hearn can match him up against Joseph Parker, Wilder and Fury before the end of the year. Fury initially seemed interested in fighting Joshua in 2018, but he seems to be wavering a bit in talking about wanting to fight him on his time when he’s at his best. Once Fury starts taking tune-up fights, he’s quickly going to realize how much ring rust he has on him, and he just balk at the plan of getting inside the ring with Joshua this year. That doesn’t mean the Joshua-Fury fight will never happen. It just means that the fight will need to wait until 2019 or later.
“I think the agility and speed Wilder has over Joshua makes it a foregone conclusion,” Fury said. “Just my silly opinion. We know I don’t get it right that often. Then again, I don’t remember getting it wrong.”
If Joshua loses to Wilder or Fury in 2018, then his promoter Eddie Hearn is going to need to come up with a good comeback strategy to rebuild him so that he can continue making money for Matchroom Sport for years to come. Hearn might need to convince Joshua to forget about collecting all the heavyweight world titles, and instead focus on putting his energy in fighting guys he absolutely knows he can beat with 100 percent certainty.