‘Different beast’ Anthony Joshua backs Tyson Fury to ‘hurt or out-box’ Deontay Wilder

Tom Kershaw
The Independent

Anthony Joshua has backed Tyson Fury to “hurt or out-box” Deontay Wilder in the pair’s heavyweight rematch next month.

Fury challenges Wilder for his WBC world title on 22 February in Las Vegas, having twice gotten up from the canvas in their first meeting, which ended in a controversial draw in December 2018.

​Joshua, who insists he is a “different beast” after regaining his IBF, WBA and WBO world titles against Andy Ruiz in Saudi Arabia, is expected to fight his mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in June in London.

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Asked who he favours between Fury and Wilder, Joshua told Sky Sports: ”Wilder coming through is better because [a fight with me] is what people have been eagerly anticipating. But I think Fury can win. For Wilder to win he has to knock Fury completely out, and he couldn’t do that the first time.

“For Fury to win, he can hurt Wilder or out-box him. Fury has more to his arsenal so that’s why I’m leaning to him.

“Fury can punch a bit. He’s underestimated with his punching power which makes him dangerous. If you underestimate someone it makes them dangerous because you don’t respect them until you get hit.

“Fury is a really good boxer, to a certain degree, so he has the upper hand. Wilder isn’t the best of boxers but he has a right hand – if you can avoid that, you have the beating of him.

“Good luck to Fury – it would be great to have two heavyweight champions here in England.”

Wilder and Fury have reportedly already agreed terms for a trilogy fight later this year, however, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is hoping to throw a “curveball” that derails those plans.

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury meet against on 22 February (Getty)
Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury meet against on 22 February (Getty)

Hearn admitted he believes it would be easier to negotiate terms with Fury for an undisputed heavyweight title fight.

“Wilder said he has no interest in Joshua, and Joshua is irrelevant. That is baffling,” Hearn said. “That’s why I want Fury to win because I know he’s up for it! One phone call with me, [Fury’s US-based promoter] Bob Arum and [Fury’s management] MTK.

“AJ wants to fight Fury, Fury wants to fight AJ. It’s a two-minute call with MTK and Bob Arum, done deal. But I’m not sure who will win [Wilder vs Fury 2]. The comments worry me that we’re in the same position. The winner of that fight will be under so much pressure to fight Joshua that, this time, it will be unavoidable.​

“The curveball is in terms of; those guys are preparing for their [third fight] and we have an opportunity in place that we can present to the winner to move them away from [a third fight].

Joshua added: “I’m still clawing after the last belt that’s out there. I know I’ll get my hands on it eventually. I don’t want to do what Andy Ruiz Jr did, and lose it straight away. I want to hold it for a number of years. Trust me, a different beast has been awoken.”

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