Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury
Again in November 2014, two extremely proficient British heavyweights, at totally different phases of their careers, fought inside per week of one another. On the twenty second, Anthony Joshua, the London 2012 gold medallist who had rapidly ascended to 9-0 as knowledgeable, took simply 86 seconds to blast out a pale former champ in Michael Sprott. On the Echo Area in Liverpool, the match was on a pay-per-view present however not the principle occasion – that ’honour’ belonged to the boring rematch between once-bitter rivals Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly.
Per week later, at London’s Excel Area, Tyson Fury, who had turned professional virtually 5 years previous to Joshua, bided his time whereas ready for the world title shot that will come simply two fights later in Germany. In entrance of a half-empty venue, largely as a result of the cardboard had run late and journey again from that nook of east London is notoriously problematic, Fury moved, prodded and tortured outdated foe Dereck Chisora, till the latter’s nook smart and compassionately withdrew their courageous cost on the finish of spherical 10. This allowed myself and the opposite hardcore remainers to belatedly exit into the freezing evening and discover a manner residence. By the point I received again round 4am, Fury had presumably accomplished his celebration, having taken Chisora’s European title and regained the (vacant) British championship stay on BoxNation (bear in mind them?). Whereas Fury vs Chisora 2 was the nominal headliner, the overwhelming majority of fan and press curiosity centred on one other high-level home conflict on the invoice, though Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr delivered an exciting and aggressive affair earlier within the working order.
Six years down the road, and following myriad ups and downs, the 2 giants, now the one main world heavyweight rulers on the earth, will as soon as once more compete simply seven days aside. WBC king Fury goes first this time round, assembly an as-yet unnamed foe atop a Frank Warren and (almost certainly) BT Sport Field Workplace present on December 5. Joshua will likely be out on the twelfth, on the O2 Area, defending his unified belts in opposition to longtime IBF obligatory, Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria on Sky Sports activities Field Workplace. The query is, who will make extra of an impression because the pair proceed down the lengthy and winding street in direction of an inevitable showdown.
For Fury, a lot depends upon the selection of opponent. Latest experiences point out we’re right down to a two-horse race between erratic stallion Carlos Takam and measured thoroughbred Agit Kabayel. Each signify creditable challengers however virtually actually huge outsiders with the bookmakers. Takam would, I really feel, present a extra thrilling conflict for the followers. The Cameroon-born Frenchman is aggressive, powerful and joyful to land with no matter he can, whether or not fists, head or elbows. Whereas Takam fell to Chisora simply two years in the past, he dominated for lengthy durations earlier than falling sufferer to the perfect shot of the Londoner’s profession and, earlier to that upset, gave Joshua issues at quick discover, earlier than lastly succumbing within the tenth. He would seemingly tough Fury up, with out profitable, in an analogous approach to Otto Wallin, who boldly took the struggle to Tyson, badly chopping him within the course of, final 12 months. Kabayel, alternatively, is likely to be a keen dance companion in additional of a sluggish waltz, worse for the followers however maybe higher for Fury and his long-term plans. An unbeaten boxer with sound fundamentals, quick palms and good mobility, Kabayel is nothing particular and his major qualities are mirrored, and to a higher extent, by the champion. Fury may, after a quiet few rounds, finally seem devestating in opposition to his former sparring companion.
Joshua ought to – and given the primary Andy Ruiz struggle, ’ought to’ is the operative phrase right here – be capable to rapidly take benefit in opposition to Pulev. The veteran former European boss has fought undemanding opposition since securing his probability by clearly outscoring a reduce Hughie Fury in 2018. A European champion and World bronze medallist in his novice days, Pulev has glorious technical abilities, is bodily sturdy and may dig a bit. On the flip aspect, he’s removed from versatile and may usually show one-paced. At 39, he additionally appears to be ever so barely over the hill and the lengthy, Covid-induced layoff will seemingly have affected him greater than Joshua. Watford’s AJ is hardly Willie Pep himself however is extra explosive than Pulev and has proven he can struggle each on the entrance foot and utilizing lateral motion. Ruiz, a fast-handed curler, gave him suits of their first bout, whereas I’ve lengthy felt Fury’s mixture of deft motion and swift punching can be all improper for him. Pulev, like a extra sturdy however much less skilful Alexander Povetkin – who gave Joshua bother a few years in the past – seems made to order. Joshua ought to open up spectatcularly as soon as he has the Bulgarian’s measure and could have real hope of changing into solely the second man to defeat, and cease, a really strong heavyweight.
We are going to then flip our consideration to the respective winners assembly. Nobody desires to attend one other six years for the pair to compete in such shut proximity and, once they do, we solely hope they’re on the identical invoice, opposing one another within the largest all-British struggle ever.