By Scott Gilfoid: Former heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis is picking unbeaten IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Tyson Fury to give IBF belt holder Anthony Joshua his first defeat of his career when/if the two of them face each other soon inside the ring. Lewis believes that the fight would need to happen soon for Fury to have a chance of beating the 6’6” Joshua, because the 2012 Olympic gold medalist is improving at a rapid pace and soon should be past Fury.
“Right now the No 1 is Tyson Fury because he beat the man that beat the man that beat the man,” Lewis said to the bbc.com. “But Anthony Joshua is growing, he’s knocking out everyone they put in front of him and he’s looking good.”
Oh man, I can’t believe Lewis actually thinks Fury beats Joshua. I just can’t see it. Maybe if Joshua was half-stunned like he was in the 2nd round of his fight against Dillian Whyte, I think Fury might be able to step in at that point and finish Joshua off with a few backhands, but aside from that, I can’t picture Fury ever beating Joshua in this lifetime.
Right now, I’d have to say that Fury is the least of Joshua’s problems. He’s got to figure out how he’s going to get past the dangerous Joseph Parker. That’s going to be a tough fight for Joshua, because Parker brings a lot of the same things to the ring that Fury does in terms of mobility, but he’s a much bigger puncher. Joshua might not make it past the 24-year-old Parker. If he loses to Parker, Joshua will be stuck having to go in another direction. I doubt that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn would want to risk it by putting him in with Parker a second time, because that would be too much of a risk.
Fury is tentatively scheduled to fight 40-year-old Wladimir Klitschko in a rematch on October 29 at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK. Fury was supposed to have already fought Wladimir earlier this month on July 9, but he injured his ankle while training. The injury was arguably a HUGE positive for the 6’9” Fury, because he was still carrying around a lot of blubber around his midsection at the time of the injury that he had no hope of taking off before the rematch.
If an in shape Fury could barely beat Wladimir last November, then what do you think a flabby Fury would have been able to do against him? Like I said, the injury for Fury was a real positive and it probably saved him from taking a loss. However, even with Fury at 100% healthy and no longer fat, I think he’s going to have a heck of a time trying to beat the 6’6” Wladimir in the rematch.
Wladimir has boatloads of room for improvement over his last fight; whereas Fury has pretty much nothing more he can do. Fury was maxed out the last time he fought Wladimir in giving it all he could and still barely winning.
“I would think Tyson Fury would win at the moment but Anthony Joshua is not far away from him,” said Lewis. “It is very close. Maybe Anthony Joshua needs a few more fights before making that step but he’s definitely not that far away.”
I TOTALLY disagree with Lewis. I’m not high on Joshua as a fighter, but I think he poleaxes Fury within two or three rounds if they fight each other right now. If Joshua fought Fury tomorrow, I think he would knock him out in the 1st round, even if Fury moved constantly like he did against Wladimir. Let’s face it; Fury would have lost to Wladimir if the Ukrainian fighter he thrown punches.
Even with the low number of shots that Wladimir threw last time around, he could have knocked Fury out if he committed to those shots by throwing them with speed and full force instead of tentatively. Wladimir was throwing his shots against Fury in a weak manner, as if he was afraid to miss with them. You can’t fight like that against Fury. You’ve got to throw scorching shots if you want to hit him, because he’s going to be running.
I’m not sure why Lewis rates Fury so highly, but I sure as heck don’t.
Here’s where I rate Fury in the heavyweight pecking order:
1. Deontay Wilder
2. Luis Ortiz
3. Anthony Joshua
4. Joseph Parker
5. David Haye
6. Alexander Povetkin
7. Wladimir Klitschko
8. Kubrat Pulev
9. Bermane Stiverne
10. Jarrell Miller
11. Carlos Takam
12. Tyson Fury
I have Fury behind all those guys because I think all of them would knock him out if given the chance. Before Fury beat Wladimir, he had never done anything in his career in terms of beating high quality opposition. The only reason Fury beat Wladimir was because the former champion fought so timidly. Had Wladimir thrown punches with authority, he would have won. The guys that I have ranked above Fury, would throw their shots with major power and they wouldn’t be fighting scared like Wladimir did.
I think there are half dozen guys besides these ones that would have a very good chance of beating Fury as well. I give the following heavyweights a really good chance of beating Fury: Eric Molina, Dillian Whyte, Artur Szpilka, Gerald Washington, Johann Duhaupas, Charles Martin, Alexander Ustinov, Bryant Jennings and Andy Ruiz. These are very serviceable heavyweights that can rise to the occasion on any given night. I think Fury would have his hands full against any of these fighters, because they bring it and they don’t fight tentatively like we saw with Wladimir.
It’s unclear when Fury will be back inside the ring. We’re hoping that he can fight Wladimir on October 29, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he lingers on into 2017 with his ankle injury. In that case, I think the IBO/WBA/WBO sanctioning bodies are going to need to think long and hard about downgrading Fury’s status to ‘Champion in Recess’ so that their belts can be fought over by healthy heavyweights. What we don’t need is for an injured heavyweight to be sitting on the titles like a hen for extended periods of time without being able to defend it. That’s not good for the WBC and it’s not good for the boxing fans.
The last time I checked, Fury has held the IBO/WBA/WBO titles for eight months without defending them yet. If he can make it into the ring in October, it will have been 11 months since he won the belts. If Fury can’t defend his titles in October, then it would be over a year since he won the straps. I think the sanctioning bodies would need to think about stripping Fury of his belts. I’m just saying. If the IBO/WBA/WBO gives Fury the ‘Champion in Recess’ designation, he can always fight for the belt at a later date once his body eventually heals. In the meantime, Wladimir could defend the titles against the next highest ranked contender.