Joshua says Tyson Fury fight is fantasy at the moment
By Marcus Richardson: Anthony Joshua doesn’t see a fight against Tyson Fury as being reality based right now given how out of shape he is. IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Joshua says if Fury was in good condition right now, he’d be looking to face him this March instead of a unification fight against WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker.
Fury, 29, has been calling out Joshua in the past week, challenging him to face him in early 2018 in a winner takes all match. Joshua isn’t taking the bait. He seeing Fury as being serious about wanting to fight him and it’s understandable why. Fury still looks badly out of shape. While he’s taken off a lot of weight, he still looks to be 50 to 60 pounds overweight. Right now, Fury looks the way he used to when he would get overweight in between fights. That’s the good news. The bad part is it’s going to take him a long time to take all that weight off. There’s little chance that Fury will be in any kind of shape for a fight with the 28-year-old Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) in the first half of 2018.
”That’s more of a fantasy at the moment. It’s just that he’s not fit and he hasn’t had a fight,” said Joshua to the dailymail.co.uk. ”The ball is in his court. We’ve stayed consistent, we’ve defended the titles we’ve won and we’ve captured more titles,” said Joshua.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is going to make sure that he waits until Fury is in shape and has had a number of tune-ups under his belt before he looks to make that fight. Joshua would be portrayed in a negative light if he were to fight Fury in his first fight back from a 2-year layoff. Joshua would come across like he’s trying to take advantage of an inactive fat man, who has mental issues with depression. Joshua would gain nothing from the fight. He would be seen as someone capitalizing on an unfit former world champion.
Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) needs to prove that he’s not coming back for a big cash out fight against Joshua, because that’s the general perception that a lot of boxing fans believe. Fury doesn’t help things by him saying that he wants to fight Joshua straightaway without taking any tune-ups. That just further reinforces the opinion of the masses that Fury isn’t serious about his comeback. He’s just coming back to get that one big payday against Joshua that he missed out on due to him getting fat and losing his boxing license after a positive drug test.
If Fury was still fit, we would probably be talking about Fury for March. It’s not me… I’m definitely consistent and ready to fight anyone,” said Joshua.
Fury isn’t going to get the fight with Joshua by attempting to embarrass him to fight him by trash talking him. Fury needs to show that he’s a serious athlete, and lose the remainder of the weight that he’s carrying around. The next move for Fury is to get his license to fight from the British Boxing Board of Control. He’s supposedly meeting with them in late January to get his boxing license back. If everything goes smoothly, then Fury will have permission to resume his career. Fury can then schedule his first tune-up fight. It’s believed that Fury may choose to face 46-year-old former WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs in his first fight back. That could be a mistake if Fury takes that fight. Briggs is still a powerful puncher, and he would go after Fury’s midsection by looking to knock him out with body shots. Briggs exclusively throws to the body now. Fury could end up losing if he makes the mistake of facing someone a little too good right off the bat in his comeback.
Joshua is still in negotiations for a unification fight against Parker. The negotiations are supposed to be wrapped up soon. For the past 2 weeks, there’s been talk of the fight being 95 percent completed. It looks like there’s something that is causing the negotiations to drag out. Joshua needs to win this fight for a match between him and Fury to mean anything. If Joshua gets knocked out by Parker, it would be a big setback to his career. He would need to face Parker in an immediate rematch, and he would have to avenge the loss. A second defeat to Parker, would make a future fight against Fury worthless. Joshua has to keep winning for a fight between him and Fury to be the money maker that it could be.
Fury last fought in 2015 in beating 40-year-old Wladimir Klitschko by a 12 round unanimous decision. We’re going on 3 years now since Fury last saw action inside the squared circle. The inactivity is a major negative. But the weight that Fury has put on since he stopped fighting calls into question of whether he’ll ever be able to get to the level he was once at. Fury ballooned up to near 400 pounds in his time out of the round. In the history of boxing, I don’t think there’s any fighter that was able to take off the kind of weight that Fury will be trimming off and coming back to fight at a high level. George Foreman took off approximately 100 pounds for his successful comeback in the early 1990s. However, Foreman didn’t fight the 2 best heavyweights around at that time in Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. Foreman didn’t even fight Riddick Bowe. Foreman came back and beat fighters like Gerry Gooney, Axel Schulz, Lou Savarese, Bert Cooper, Alex Stewart and Michael Moorer. During his comeback, Foreman lost to Evander Holyfield, Tommy Morrison and Shannon Briggs. Foreman was very lucky to be given a controversial 10 round majority decision win over Alex Stewart in April 1992. Had Foreman comeback and faced Lennox Lewis or Mike Tyson, he probably would have lost badly.
Former heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries lost 110 lbs. to get in shape to face Jack Johnson in the ‘Fight of the Century’ on July 4, 1910. Jeffries had retired as the heavyweight world champion 6 years earlier in 1904 after successfully defending his title against Jack Munroe. During Jeffries’ retirement, he ballooned up to 330 lbs. He wanted to stay retired, but he offered a lot of money to make a comeback to face Jack Johnson. Jeffries agreed to take the fight, and he was able to lose 110 lbs. to get back down to his old fighting weight of 226 lbs. for the Jack Johnson bout in 1910. The 35-year-old Jeffries was just a shell of his former self from 1904. Even though Jeffries appeared to be in excellent shape, he was already exhausted by the 4th round of the fight, and he had no energy to put up much of a fight against the younger, faster and more athletic Johnson. Jeffries ended up getting stopped in the 15th round. Johnson probably could have stopped Jeffries a lot sooner if he’d wanted to. It’s going to be extremely difficult for Fury to lose all that weight and come back to fight at the same level he did in 2015 and earlier. No heavyweight has ever taken off the kind of weight that Fury will be taking off and fighting at a high level. The only guy that had any kind of success was Foreman, but he didn’t fight the best. He came back and fought certain guys for him to have success. Foreman didn’t look like the same fighter that he was before he put on the weight. In Foreman’s last fight before his first retirement from boxing, he weighed 229 lbs. for a fight against Jimmy Young in March 1977. Foreman was a lot faster, trimmer and more powerful than the fighter that we saw in his comeback 10 years later. Foreman didn’t have to take off the same kind of weight that Fury needs to lose to get back to his old weight of 250 lbs. There’s a lesson there. It’s important for fighters not to let themselves go the way Fury has. If they want to successful in the sport of boxing, they need to keep themselves in shape and not ease off and start overeating.
The real test for Joshua in the heavyweight division isn’t Tyson Fury. It’s WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder. That’s the danger man for Joshua. Unlike Fury, Wilder has kept busy with his career, and he’s taken care of himself by staying in shape and not eating himself to a state of poor condition.