For a long time, boxing fans all over the world were rubbing their hands in anticipation of a showdown between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. It was seen as the next logical step for both fighters. Fury had defeated Deontay Wilder in their rematch, whilst Joshua had recovered his reputation after surprisingly losing to Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019. The stage was set, but Wilder was not going to go down without a fight.
The American insisted that the contract with Fury stipulated a third fight should be held between the pair, and when Wilder refused to back down, Joshua and Fury were left with no choice but to put off their proposed bout.
Now, however, that clash is completely up in the air after Joshua lost his world titles to mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk. The defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for Joshua, but also for Fury and Wilder, who would’ve had the Watford fighter in their sights following their trilogy bout. His fellow Englishman was quick to express his disappointment at Joshua’s defeat.
“I was hoping Joshua could win the fight, but he couldn’t – and that’s none of my business,” Fury said. “Did I watch the fight? Yes I did. Was I absolutely wounded that he won? Yes I was. My advice to Joshua in the rematch is get stuck in the best way he knows how, put his best foot forward and swing away, Jack, swing away.”
Fury and Wilder will now have to go head-to-head without a clear picture of what will happen afterwards. Fury is intent on establishing himself as the leading heavyweight in the world, and in a way Joshua’s defeat has gone a long way to proving that, especially when you consider that the ‘Gypsy King’ is favourite to beat Wilder in the Fury v Wilder 3 odds.
If Joshua had emerged triumphant, we would have had a mammoth showdown to look forward to regardless of who wins between Fury and Wilder, but there is still a lot of uncertainty. Joshua will have no choice but to take on Usyk again to try and regain his belts, just as he did against Ruiz, but there’s no doubt that his reputation has taken a severe hit.
Should Fury defeat Wilder, as the boxing betting tips suggest he will, then the Manchester native could arguably claim that Joshua has no right to fight him until he builds up his reputation once more and gets his titles back. Perhaps a bout between Wilder and Joshua would be a more suitable match-up.
A couple of years ago, it seemed as though we were in an era of unprecedented quality in the heavyweight division. There was little to separate Joshua, Wilder and Fury, but now after defeats for Joshua and Wilder, Fury stands alone as the only undefeated fighter of the three.
Wilder will have seen Joshua’s loss as a chance to get himself back into contention. If he can pull off a shock and get the better of Fury, then it would be very interesting to see how things develop moving forward. That will be easier said than done, against an opponent who gives nothing away easily.