Joshua doubts Fury fight happens in 2021, says Usyk more likely
By Doug Gillen: A gloomy sounding Anthony Joshua says he’s more likely to face fellow Matchroom fighter Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 rather than Tyson Fury, who he sees as possibly facing Deontay Wilder or Agit Kabayel next.
Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn both want to set-up a fight with WBC heavyweight champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) in early 2o21.
Unfortunately for Joshua, former WBC champion Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) could get in the way of his plans to fight Fury, as he’s going through a mediation process to force his third fight with the ‘Gypsy King.’
Joshua not sure who Fury will fight
“I don’t know if he’s going to fight Wilder, or if he’s not going to fight Wilder, if he’s going to fight [Agit] Kabayel, or if he’s not going to fight Kabayel,” said Joshua to ESPN.
“He announced he was going to fight me, then the deal didn’t get signed and we’re not fighting,” said Joshua.
Fury’s promoter Bob Arum doesn’t view it as a bad thing for a fight between him and Wilder taking place, considering he views it as a good option for February.
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) still needs to defend against WBO mandatory Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs), which could happen in the first half of 2021. The World Boxing Organization is expected to order the Joshua-Usyk fight as soon as AJ completes his December 12th fight against IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev.
If Joshua wins that contest, as many believe he will, the WBO will order him to face Usyk. They’re not going to let Joshua put Usyk on ice for the entire year in 2021 because he’s already been waiting since 2019 for his mandated title shot.
Joshua, 30, overlooks his December 12th fight against Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs), and that’s a questionable thing for him to be doing. We saw what happened to AJ when he overlooked Andy Ruiz Jr in their first fight in June 2019.
AJ expects to face Usyk, not Fury, in 2021
Arum feels that Pulev is going to thrash Joshua, who he sees as having a weak chin, and poor stamina. Arum could be right. If so, Joshua can forget about fighting Fury or Usyk in 2021.
Those options will have been taken away from him by Pulev, and he’ll be stuck needing to face him a second time to try and avenge the loss.
It’s troubling that Joshua hasn’t learned his lesson about overlooking his opponents because he’s making the same mistake.
“I don’t know what will happen in 2021 but if I was to bet all my money on it I would say Usyk because he is with Matchroom, straightforward fight, and his track record shows when he says he is going to fight someone, he does,” said Joshua.
It’s a bad omen that Joshua is talking negatively about a fight between him and Fury so early, considering that it makes it look likely he’s already setting up his excuses ahead of time for the fight not happening.
Joshua should be talking positively about the Fury fight because even if he needs to face Wilder next, it’s not going to keep him from facing AJ twice in 2021.
Joshua rates Usyk as being equal to Fury
Usyk should be the one that Joshua is focusing on rather than Fury if he’s going to look past Pulev. It seems clear that Joshua doesn’t want to vacate his WBO title, and he’d have to do that if he chooses not to fight Usyk in early 2021.
The WBO is almost surely going to order Joshua to face Usyk as soon as the dust clears from AJs fight against Pulev on December 12th. Also, it’s easier for Joshua to fight Usyk in early 2021 than it would for him until Joe Joyce potentially beat the Ukrainian to capture the WBO title.
“Usyk or Fury possess big dangers; I couldn’t say who is better; they are definitely dangerous,” said Joshua.
Is Joshua serious about believing that Usyk and Fury are on the same level, or is he just saying that to mess with the Gypsy King’s head?
If anyone saw Usyk’s close win over Dereck Chisora on October 31st, it’s impossible to view him as being on the same level as Fury.
More Boxing News:
- Andre Ward rather face Joshua over Canelo in comeback
- Bellew: Joshua knocks out Fury within 6 rounds
- Tony Bellew criticizes Fury for dull win over Klitschko
- Joe Joyce: ‘I will stop Oleksandr Usyk’