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Anthony Joshua ready to start sparring

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev Tyson Fury

By Charles Brun: Anthony Joshua’s knee problem has improved to the point where he’s finally ready to start sparring in the next couple of weeks to ready himself or his fight with Kubrat Pulev.

AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn still hasn’t picked a date, but we could be seeing those two battle it out in November.

While Joshua says his tricky knee is now healed, that might not be the case. I hate to say it but Joshua won’t know if his knee can make it through training camp until he stars sparring heavily in a couple of weeks from now. One AJ starts sparring, we’ll see if his knee is 100% or not.

The IBF still hasn’t set a deadline for Joshua and Pulev to fight, but you have to believe they will soon if Hearn fails to put together the fight. Joshua needs to get this match against Pulev out of the way so that he can head into some bigger fights.

Eddie Hearn wants to stage Joshua’s fight in front of a small crowd

Hearn wants 2,000 fans for Joshua’s title defense against IBF mandatory Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs). Tickets will be more expensive than usual, which could make it interesting to see which type of people purchase them.

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev Tyson Fury

Hearn recently said he was thinking about staging the Joshua-Pulev fight on a boat, which led to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum making fun of him by reciting an old Dr. Seuss story.

The boat idea has been limited by Hearn, and he’s now looking at staging it the fight in the UK in front of a small group of boxing fans that is willing to pay the high prices for the tickets.

Will it be mostly the fat-cat high earners or will some of the average Joes be able to come up with the money to see Joshua (23-1, 14 KOs) and Pulev, 39, go at it.

“The knee is as good as it can be, I’m on two feet and I’m sure we can start sparring, so I’ll be looking for some sparring partners in about a week or two to start training camp,” said Joshua to skysports.com.

Don’t be surprised if Joshua comes up lame in the first week of sparring with his knee giving out on him. As the late Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s always the knee.” If there’s partially torn cartilage in Joshua’s knee, that’s not going to go away on its own.

If AJ reinjures his knee, that could finish him for the remainder of 2020. It would throw everything off, especially if Joshua needs surgery to repair his knee.

Fury warns Joshua and Wilder

It can take six to eight months to come back from knee surgery, and sometimes fighters are never the same after that. Sergio Martinez is a good example of a fighter’s career imploding after he had knee surgery in 2012.

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev Tyson Fury

In other news, Tyson Fury is making it clear that he’s going to be facing Deontay Wilder next, and then he’s going to come looking for Joshua next.

For some reason, WBC heavyweight champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) is completely skipping over his WBC mandatory challenger Dillian ‘The Bodysnatcher’ Whyte, who has been told by the World Boxing Council that he can challenge for the title by late February.

Fury, 31, doesn’t sound like he plans on defending his WBC belt against Whyte before facing Joshua, which begs the question: Will Fury be vacating his WBC title?

“I’m getting better like a fine wine. I’m going for Wilder first, and then I’m coming for Anthony Joshua,” said Fury to social media. “Then I’m coming for anyone else that wants the smoke.

“You’re all getting annihilated every single one of us. Ain’t no stopping, and anyone that does will get smashed to bits, terminated, plowed over like a stone in the road,” said Fury.

If Fury keeps carrying a lot of weight for his fights, it could eventually hurt his stamina and mobility.


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