Joshua’s promoter explains why he beats Fury

By Boxing News - 02/29/2020 - Comments

By Charles Brun: Anthony Joshua won’t get the unification fight against Tyson Fury in July like his promoter Eddie Hearn was hoping will happen, but the two heavyweight champions could be facing each other at the end of 2020.

Deontay Wilder has decided to spoil the mega-fight between AJ and Fury by insisting on taking a rematch with ‘The Gypsy King’ that almost no one believes he can win. Wilder has the contractual right for the third fight with Fury, so all Joshua and Hearn can do is wait until that fight is done before they can get at Tyson.

If WBC champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) wins his rematch with Wilder, which is expected to take place in July at the latest, and if IBF/WBA/WBO champion Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs)  beats his IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev on June 20, then fans could see them in the winter. Another loss for Joshua and he could back doing another rematch, and that would slow things up for a fight between him and Fury.

“I always thought Joshua could beat Tyson Fury,” said Hearn to Fighthype. “Tyson Fury has consistently proven me wrong on a lot of things, but I don’t believe he proves me wrong in this case. I just think Joshua has the fundamentals to beat him. Joshua is very fast, very strong, and he can fight on the inside, he can fight on the back foot, and he can fight on the front foot.

“What Tyson is very good at is finding out a way to box to beat them. What he did against Deontay Wilder, when I first heard, I thought was madness was to push him back and be aggressive, understanding that Wilder has got no footwork, he’s got no defense and he’s not that strong,” said Eddie.

Logic says Fury won’t try and fight Joshua on the inside as he did against Wilder last weekend, owing to the strong inside game that AJ possesses. Wilder was too thin, too weak and too poor with his inside skills to match Fury in close.

What Fury will probably do in a fight with Joshua is go back to his old style of fighting that he used to defeat Wladimir Klitschko by staying on the move, jabbing and frustrating Joshua. If Fury fights like that, the match could turn into a battle of jabs.

It won’t be thrilling to watch, but then again neither was the Klitschko-Fury fight from 2015. That was a very boring fight, but it was the only way Fury could win. He wasn’t strong enough to manhandle the 247-lb Wladimir on the inside the way he did with Wilder.

“He wouldn’t be able to fight like that against Joshua because Joshua would meet him head-on,” Matchroom promoter Hearn said. “He’d hit him with sharp one-twos, fight on the inside and rough him up and roll him around. So if you’re looking at it now if you’re Tyson Fury, how do you box against Anthony Joshua?

You do what Andy Ruiz did, which is to trade with him. That’s very dangerous. Fury’s not a puncher. He stopped Wilder, but he’s not a puncher. I think the only way he could beat Joshua is to fiddle around, try and frustrate him and out-point him, and I don’t think he can even do that,” said Eddie.

The chances are high Fury will try and slug with Joshua, especially if he’s coming off of a second consecutive knockout win over Wilder. The stoppage win for Fury will go to his head, making him think that he can overpower Joshua too. Fury could find out a little too late that what worked for him against the thin 6’7″ Wilder doesn’t work against the bigger, stronger 6’6″, 245lb Joshua.

“But the good news is that now Joshua is the betting underdog, so I like that,” Hearn said of AJ being the underdog against Fury. “I can run my mouth, and run my mouth supporting the underdog. I like that. I want the fight, and I want the fight badly. I think the most impressive thing in the recent Joshua-Ruiz and the Fury-Wilder fight is both guys did things people didn’t think they could do.

“So people said, ‘Joshua can box off the back foot, move and go 12 rounds and keep his discipline in shape. His feet were amazing in that fight, watch it back. He schooled him. He just frustrated him, and Ruiz realized that he could not beat him.

“That wasn’t the game plan,” said Hearn when asked if Joshua was tentative in the rematch with Ruiz. “With that much on the line, you’re going to be tentative,” Hearn said in explaining why Joshua fought safety first against Ruiz last December.

It would be wise for Joshua to assume that Fury will attempt to box him for 12 rounds, and not elect to slug. That’s not to say that Fury won’t revert to doing that if he’s eating power jabs from Joshua all night long, because he’s not going to stick with what’s not working for him.

Fury will shift from all the different strategies that he’s used in the past. that means we could see these different approaches from Fury.

  • Moving
  • Jabbing
  • Mauling on the inside
  • Fighting off the ropes and leaning back to avoid headshots
  • Fouling/roughing up – I.e., rabbit punches, elbows, backhands

“His whole career, everything was on the line,” Eddie said of Joshua. “People said that when he got hit, he started going safety-first. That’s quite right. The last time he got carried away and started trading, and it was over, like that. He made the mistake and got punished. He won’t be doing that again.

You don’t want to start fencing and fooling around fighting on the back foot against Pulev. You want to box him upright, land the big shots and knock him out and he will do that against Pulev. This funny world we live in where when you do things people say you can’t do, all of a sudden you become boring and one-dimensional. So what do you want? To go in there and trade again in a 50-50. You maybe win or maybe get caught,” said Hearn.

It would be smart for Joshua, 29, not to get in a jabbing contest against the 6’4 1/2″ Pulev, being that would be playing to the Bulgarian fighter’s strengths. Pulev likes to fight on the outside, and he’s quite good at it. AJ needs to follow the blueprint that Klitschko created in how to beat Pulev by hitting him with left hooks.

“Joshua’s performance was stunning, and I thought Fury’s performance was stunning as well,” said Hearn in talking about Fury and Joshua’s last fights. “They are the two best heavyweights in the world, there’s no argument. You’ve just got to find out who’s #1, and right now, I don’t think you can say who’s #1. The only way you’re going to find out is when they fight, and I really fancy our guy’s chances.

“Sometimes when you’re that big, and you’ve achieved that kind of stardom, it works against him sometimes. With Fury, he’s never really had that stardom. Sometimes there’s that with Joshua. ‘Maybe he’s not the real deal. Maybe he’s just a commercial machine. He’s not. He’s 24 fights in, that’s it. With an amateur record of just 40 fights. He’s a baby, and he’s improving so much. I feel like his last performance, he showed so much maturity for a guy that’s at that stage in his career,” said Hearn.

We’re going to see how good Joshua is when he meets up with Fury, but for that fight to happen, both guys will need to win their next fights. If Fury gets knocked out by Wilder, it’s certain that they’ll fight each other again immediately. Fury won’t walk away from a knockout loss to Wilder to go after a match against Joshua.