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Fury says Joshua ducked Wilder because of his power

Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder Tyson Fury

By Tim Royner: Tyson Fury says he did something Anthony Joshua didn’t want to do in facing the “fiercest puncher in boxing history” in Deontay Wilder last Saturday night. Fury took the fight that Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn didn’t want to take against the unbeaten Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO).

Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) took Wilder’s best shots for 12 rounds, and although he was knocked down twice by the devastating puncher, he made it to the final bell to earn a 12 round split draw at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Fury showed courage in taking the fight that most boxing fans thought was a crazy idea. Even Joshua’s promoter Hearn thought it was a fight that would end with Fury losing. Fury took the fight anyway after just two comeback fights against lesser opposition, and he fought well enough to be seen as the winner of the fight by many in the boxing world. Boxing News 24 still had Wilder as the winner, but Fury did a bang up job in frustrating Wilder for most the fight until he figured him out and dropped him in the 12th.

“It’s no secret that Joshua did not want this fight, and he didn’t want it for a reason, because Deontay Wilder is the most fiercest puncher in boxing history, in heavyweight division history,” Fury said via ESPN. “And I saw that, and I felt it.”

It’s hard to disagree with Fury in his views on Joshua swerving the Wilder fight. Hearn has been telling everyone that is within earshot that Joshua absolutely wants a Wilder fight, and that he’s not afraid of anyone, but the way that he quickly gave up negotiations recently in order face the much smaller 6’2″ Alexander Povetkin, it made him look like he wanted no part of the Bronze Bomber. Hearn said that Joshua had to fight Povetkin, 39, as he would have been stripped of his WBA title by the World Boxing Association, but that’s hard to believe.

Why would the WBA strip a hugely popular fighter like Joshua and end up with a potentially less popular old guy as their champion. It doesn’t make sense, and it’s sure Hearn realized that. The WBA wouldn’t stripped Joshua of his title if he had fought Wilder instead of Povetkin. But even if the WBA did strip Joshua of his title, he would have been able to get it back with ease. Povetkin, if he was the one that ended up with Joshua’s WBA title, he wouldn’t have avoided him. Povetkin would have fought him right away in order to get the big money that comes with facing Joshua.

“No wonder AJ didn’t want no part of that right hand. He can’t move like me. He’d have been nailed,” Fury said.

Joshua is there to be hit. He’s not able to move side to side because he’s got too much size, and way too much muscle on his body building frame. Joshua has a physique like former heavyweight champion Mike ‘Hercules’ Weaver. The difference between those two is the 6’1″ Weaver was a lot shorter than the 6’6″ Joshua, and he didn’t lift weights. ‘Hercules’ Weaver (41-18-1, 28 KOs) was naturally muscular. Joshua is said to drive the iron to maintain his body builder-like physique.

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Earlier this year, Wilder initially agreed to a $15 million flat fee for a fight against Joshua in the United Kingdom. Joshua would have gotten the lion’s share of the loot, as well as the home country advantage. That would have been a great deal for Joshua, but a horrible one for Wilder, who just wanted to try anything he could to make the fight happen. The fight likely would have generated $100 million, which means Joshua would have ended up with an 85-15 split of the loot.

It would have been a horribly one-sided deal in Joshua’s favor. Wilder would have gotten worse than some of Joshua’s challengers. It’s just there would have been a lot more money that would have been made due to the huge interest from the boxing public worldwide in the UK and the United States. What was interesting is that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn chose not to pull the trigger on the Joshua-Wilder fight deal despite the fact that his fighter would have made a mountain of money in comparison to Wilder. In hindsight, it was very odd that Hearn didn’t agree to the deal because it was never going to get better than that. How could it get better? Joshua would have had the fight in front of his boxing fans in the UK, and he would have made a lot more money than Wilder, who at the time didn’t seem to realize his own worth as a fighter. With Hearn rejecting the deal, Wilder wasn’t going to wait around for ages, hoping that Joshua would give him a shot in his next fight on April 13 next year, so he setup a big money deal with former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Fury for December 1. Fury was willing to take the fight with Wilder after just two comeback fights after being out of the ring for close to three years from November 2015 to June 2018. Fury’s two tune-up fights when he returned to the ring after a 2 1/2 year layoff was against Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta. Fury beat both with ease, but they clearly weren’t good enough fighters to give Fury a proper test to get him ready for a knockout artist like Wilder. Fury didn’t care that he didn’t get a chance to take on one or two talented contenders in the heavyweight division. Fury was willing to take the fight with Joshua, as he felt that he had shamed the UK by ducking the fight. Fury said he wanted to show the boxing fans from elsewhere around the world that British fighters weren’t afraid to fight.

“Wilder came over to the U.K. and showed up [at a previous Joshua fight]. He called out Joshua,” Fury said. “[Joshua] got offered a lot of money. A lot of money. Money that could change countries probably, make broke countries rich, and he turned it down.”

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The money that Fury is talking about is the $50 million offer that Joshua reportedly was given by Wilder’s management. Boxing greats from the past like Evander Holyfield was shocked at Joshua turning down that kind of money to face Wilder. Holyfield said he would have taken it. You can probably say the same thing about any of the former great heavyweights from the past like Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes and Lennox Lewis. Those fighters weren’t the type to turn down huge money, and it’s hard to believe they would reject a $50 million offer to fight Wilder if they had fought during his era.

“[Joshua] can’t move, so he would have never got out of the way of Wilder,” Fury said.

Joshua’s defense is pretty porous. Unfortunately, his defense has always been his offense, and that’s what makes him so vulnerable. Joshua is there to be hit, and that wouldn’t bode well for him if he fought a puncher like Wilder. Joshua stands straight up, and he gets hit hard. Mihai Nistor was teeing off on Joshua in the amateur ranks, and he ended up stopping him in the 3rd round in their fight in 2011.

By taking on Wilder last Saturday night, Fury basically shamed Joshua by showing courage to face arguably the most powerful puncher in boxing. It’s a bad look on Joshua’s part that Fury took the fight that he’s arguably been ducking for the last three years.

It would be a major about face if Joshua were to follow Fury’s lead and take a fight against Wilder on April 13 instead of the rematch against Dillian Whyte on that date. The boxing fans don’t want to see Joshua and Whyte face each other yet. It’s still too soon for them to face each other again after Joshua knocked Whyte out in the 7th round in 2015.

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