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Tyson Fury ‘didn’t fancy’ fighting Anthony Joshua, says Barry Hearn, who claims egos got in way of Battle of Britain

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Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury

BARRY HEARN has been one of the most colourful figures in British sport for half a century.

Here, in the second part of SunSport’s exclusive serialisation of his autobiography, Hearn opens up about the scrapped Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury fight – claiming the Gypsy King didn’t fancy taking on the 2012 Olympic champion.
tyson fury and anthony joshua
EVERY boxing fan has wondered or had an opinion about who was the better heavyweight, Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury?

As a committed Joshua fan, I was biased, but I could understand some of the fans’ insistence that the Gypsy King was the main man.

Let us hope that the question will one day be answered.

But it’s surely exciting that a heavyweight merry-go-round to rival the great welterweight and middleweight contests of the 1980s has developed.
Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua
Back in the day, we had Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran fighting for supremacy.

Today, we’ve Joshua, Fury, Deontay Wilder and Oleksandr Usyk, with Dillian Whyte and Joe Joyce in the wings.

Following the win against Kubrat Pulev (in December 2020), Joshua’s next contest was against mandatory challenger Usyk.

Actually, this wasn’t a fight anyone really wanted, except Usyk himself.

The fight every fan wanted to see was Joshua versus Fury for the undisputed heavyweight title.

Negotiations for that showdown had been going on for ages.
Anthony Joshua
The culmination of countless discussions came when my son Eddie negotiated a massive site fee from Saudi Arabia to host the fight.
anotny joshua
That was when the complications really set in.

See also  Anthony Joshua may have his hands full with Oleksandr Usyk next year, but there is another monstrous heavyweight who wants to get his hands on him.

Fury was co-promoted by Bob Arum and Frank Warren but effectively controlled by his management company in Dubai.

All management decisions emanated from Dubai and basically Arum and Warren were told what to do by Fury’s management.

I don’t believe Arum or Warren ever thought that Eddie could really deliver the fight the whole boxing world wanted to see.

But when he did they had to make a big decision: take the fight and risk everything while earning a life-changing amount of money, or look elsewhere.

That decision became irrelevant when Wilder applied for an injunction to compel Fury to honour a rematch clause in the contract for their second fight.

Wilder won his case and Fury was forced to box him for a third time.

I was intrigued that, despite the huge amounts of money available for the Joshua–Fury fight, no effort was made by the Fury camp to negotiate a step-aside payment for Wilder to allow that fight to happen.

Perhaps Fury didn’t fancy the fight or Wilder wouldn’t take any amount of money to step aside.

But I believe the real reason lay in the egos of Arum and Warren, who wanted to keep control rather than allow that young upstart, Eddie Hearn, to prove once again that he is the best operator in the business.

I know that if Fury’s management had asked us for a contribution towards a payoff for Wilder and asked the Saudis for a similar contribution, we’d definitely have paid up because the sums of money from the site fee were so enormous.

The fact that they didn’t ask and didn’t try to postpone the Wilder–Fury fight suggests that they didn’t fancy the Joshua fight in the first place.

See also  Tyson Fury set to face Oleksandr Usyk; Anthony Joshua to rule out rematch

Joshua was just beaten by a better boxer

Barry Hearn On Usyk Win
Once that blockbuster fight was off the agenda, Joshua, the consummate professional, agreed to face Usyk, who was the undisputed world cruiserweight champion.

In my mind, he was one of the finest boxers of the modern era, although clearly lacking the punching power possessed by Joshua.

The fight, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25, 2021, was interesting but essentially technical, like a chess match.

Joshua seemed to be trying to out–box a boxer and that fell right into the hands of Usyk, a great technician.

Once again, there was an upset, with Usyk clearly winning on points, and once again the question had to be asked: did complacency do its deadly work?

I think not. Joshua was just beaten by a better boxer. AJ and his team got their tactics wrong.

Joshua was left with a chance of salvation, having exercised the rematch clause.

Boxing & UFC

DID ANTHONY JOSHUA JUST ADMIT TYSON FURY IS THE BEST HEAVYWEIGHT AROUND?

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Tyson Fury
DID ANTHONY JOSHUA JUST ADMIT TYSON FURY IS THE BEST HEAVYWEIGHT AROUND?

Firstly, the current four-belt world heavyweight champion has some tale to tell about goings-on over the past eighteen months of his career.

From discussions to fight Deontay Wilder for all the top division marbles to an opponent falling out due to failed drug tests for three separate substances. To a shock defeat, a redemption victory, and a subsequent deal to face Tyson Fury – again for every strap on offer – it’s never a dull moment for the Briton.

Tyson Fury

But reflecting on his recent spell, coupled with a look back to how far he’s come, Joshua is philosophical about his future.

AJ says he’s in a position far exceeding where he thought he would be at 30 years old.

Winning the 2012 Olympics just a few years after taking up the sport, Joshua still believes he’s way ahead of the game.

On how a loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York, the first of his career had affected him, Joshua surprisingly holds no regrets.

“There were certain things I was talking about perhaps two years ahead of that loss, and the defeat just showcased them,” Joshua told GQ Middle East.

“I know people say crazy things like, ‘Oh, we were planning on that loss,’ but it really was a blessing in disguise.

Tyson Fury

Andy Ruiz Anthony JoshuaEd Mulholland
“It highlighted everything I had been concerned about. After that it was simple: these are the changes I’ve been talking about, now you need to listen.”

Needing to listen was maybe advice he could have given himself before the Ruiz implosion, Joshua is quite content with how his path has panned out.

See also  Eddie Hearn explains '£40m' Anthony Joshua stance on Tyson Fury vs Usyk unification fight

ANTHONY JOSHUA & TYSON FURY
The Londoner even says being considered alongside the likes of his rival and two-time lineal champion Fury, means he’s ahead of himself at the moment.

“I changed everything after that first fight,” says Joshua. “Losing to Andy made me rethink and restructure. I took the positives out of it, but it wasn’t easy.

“My training camp was six weeks of pure hell. I had new team members. I had injuries I was trying to overcome. There were so many different issues.

“But we got there in the end through will, determination, and intelligence.

“Being world champion, with all those knockouts, you do feel kind of unstoppable. But realistically, in boxing terms, I’m way ahead of where I should be.

Tyson Fury

“I’m working at such a quick pace. I shouldn’t even be in a position where I’m mentioned in Tyson Fury’s era. He’s five or six years ahead of me in terms of turning professional.

“In fact, when he was turning pro, I was just putting on my gloves for the first time.”

With Kubrat Pulev, a mandatory challenge from the IBF in his future, Joshua is simply waiting for the date to step up preparations.

Tyson Fury

The heavyweight clash has already been delayed from June due to the ongoing pandemic.

“I’m OK with (waiting), to be honest,” he says. “It’s saved me weeks of getting punched in the head. That can never be a bad thing.”

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Tyson Fury sets out training rules after offering to coach rival Anthony Joshua

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Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury sets out training rules after offering to coach rival Anthony Joshua

Tyson Fury has told Anthony Joshua he will need to adopt his old school training methods if he is to accept his rival’s coaching offer.

Fury, who defends his WBC heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte on Saturday night, has offered to coach Joshua for his planned rematch against Oleksandr Usyk this summer. Joshua lost his belts when he was outpointed by Usyk last September

Tyson Fury

For the first time in his professional career, Joshua will change his trainer for a rematch with Usyk. ‘AJ’ has partnered with Angel Fernandez after parting ways with Rob McCracken, who received criticism for Joshua’s approach in his first bout with Usyk.

Fury has now vowed Joshua will have to ditch modern training methods if he wants to partner with him for his next bout. “I’m willing to train him, but he’s got to be willing to learn,” Fury said. “In my world, numbers on a screen on a heart rate monitor are not welcome.

Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte weigh combined 518lb for heavyweight world title fight
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Tyson Fury admits dad “hates” his boxing style ahead of Dillian Whyte showdown
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Who wins tonight – Tyson Fury or Dillian Whyte? Let us know your prediction in the comments section below

“You train hard, you put your life and soul into something and you fight until the end. You don’t quit when you get knocked down, you don’t look out of the ring like you don’t want to fight on, you go and throw the kitchen sink when you’re behind in a world title fight.

See also  Tyson Fury set to face Oleksandr Usyk; Anthony Joshua to rule out rematch

Tyson Fury

“You don’t cruise to a points loss because in my world, getting knocked out in round one is better than losing on points and not trying to win.”

Since teaming up with coach SugarHill Steward for his rematch with Deontay Wilder in 2020, Fury’s style has drastically changed as he focuses on knockouts rather than out-boxing his opponents.

Tyson Fury said he would coach Anthony Joshua alongside SugarHill Steward
Tyson Fury said he would coach Anthony Joshua alongside SugarHill Steward ( Image: Top Rank via Getty Images)
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His approach for his fight with Whyte is much the same, as Fury has vowed to knockout his former training partner in what could be the final fight of his career.

Fury thinks that if Joshua could adapt a similar approach to his game, he would “definitely” be able to beat Usyk and become one of the few three-time heavyweight champions in boxing history. “I know that if I trained Joshua – me and SugarHill Steward – he’d definitely beat Oleksandr Usyk,” Fury told BT Sport.

Tyson Fury

“That’s a fact and I would be open to doing it. I’d be very open to me and SugarHill training him. I’d do it for free, because I don’t need the money. I wouldn’t take his money anyway, we would take on that challenge no problem.”

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Poll: Will Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua actually happen in 2021?

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Tyson Fury
Poll: Will Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua actually happen in 2021?

We’ve heard all the talk, all the predictions for who will win when the magical fight happens, but here’s a question: will it actually happen?

Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua have agreed to terms in principle on a two-fight deal that would start in 2021. As of now, it the fight would crown a true, bona fide, undisputed heavyweight champion, the first since Lennox Lewis beat Evander Holyfield in 1999, and the first in the era of four belts recognized as legitimate world titles.

But there’s a lot of ground to cover between now and then, too.

Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO) still has to meet Deontay Wilder in a third fight. Though Fury dominated Wilder in their February rematch, Tyson himself will tell you that he cannot take Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KO) lightly, as no matter what else anyone thinks, Deontay has dynamite in his hands and can knock anyone out if he lands the clean shot.

He may also have to deal with a potential WBC mandatory title defense against Dillian Whyte, but honestly, I’d bet against it; the WBC have been incredibly reluctant to actually give Whyte the fight he’s thought he’s been owed. But it’s not impossible, at least.

Tyson Fury

Joshua (23-1, 21 KO) has an IBF mandatory against Kubrat Pulev due, and while the IBF aren’t pushing the issue, them not setting a deadline doesn’t mean they’re going to wait forever, or that they can. Pulev would certainly look to push the issue. There’s also the WBO mandatory, which is Oleksandr Usyk, who does not intend to step aside.

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While promoter Eddie Hearn is right that getting the financial details sorted is probably the biggest step of all, there’s also just the chance that whatever deal is currently agreed to will fall apart for whatever reason. It would not be the first or 500th time that has happened for a big fight.

 

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Tyson Fury fears British heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua won’t happen

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Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury fears British heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua won't happen

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WBC Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has pleaded that rival British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua should fight him instead of having a rematch against Oleksandr Usyk.

Tyson Fury

Joshua has already invoked a clause that allows him to rematch the current WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion, Usyk.

Fury believes that Usyk will win the rematch against Joshua and that any chance he has to fight AJ will have passed.

Speaking to Boxing Lowdown, Fury urged Joshua not to go straight into the rematch with Usyk.

“I’d prefer him to just let me fight [Usyk],” said Fury, “because if Joshua goes in again and loses, which I think he will, that fight’s dead in the water for me.

“Because, you don’t lose two fights and then go into a massive heavyweight title fight.

“But if he lets me fight Usyk and I batter Usyk, then I’d come back and fight Joshua, batter him as well.

“Then I can just f*** off and they can all fight for the belts. I’d retire.”

Fury vs Whyte?
The Gypsy King has already been told by WBC that he must fight Dillian Whyte next, but Fury is still yet to speak publicly about that fight, insisting that he doesn’t know what the future holds.

Tyson Fury

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“I’m just chilling, enjoying life, taking one day at a time, and enjoying myself,” Fury told Sky Sports.

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“I’m not really interested, because to be honest it doesn’t really make much sense who I want to fight at this moment. It’s who’s available and what makes sense later on.”

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German fighter Musa Yamak died Saturday after suffering a heart attack and collapsing in the boxing ring following a fight earlier in the day at a small show in Garching, Germany.

Yamak (8-0, 8 KOs), a 38-year-old, and up to that point undefeated Turkish-born German boxer, tried to come out for the third round, but collapsed on the ground and fell unconscious.

The fight was won by Ugandan veteran Hamza Wandera (20-19, 3 knockouts). German and international media report that Yamak tried to come out for the third, but suddenly fell down and was knocked unconscious. He could not be revived.

Tyson Fury

Later, the boxer was pronounced dead in the hospital. And as for the cause of what happened, it is reported that his death was the product of a myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Yamak turned pro in 2017 in a low-key career, which of course was affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And in his last fight in November 2021, he won the WBFI title by knocking out Siarhei Huliakevich.

Second boxing death in 2022
His death is the second recorded in the ring this year following the death of Armenian-born Russian boxer Arrest Sahakyan last January 9.

Sahakyan spent ten days in a coma before being pronounced dead at the age of 26.

See also  Eddie Hearn explains '£40m' Anthony Joshua stance on Tyson Fury vs Usyk unification fight

Last year, Rashed Al-Swaisat died at the age of 19 after collapsing in the ring during a World Youth Championship bout.

Al-Swaisat was rushed to the hospital where he underwent emergency brain surgery, but died ten days later.

Mexican Alejandra Ayala hospitalized in Scotland
Mexican boxer Alejandra Ayala underwent emergency surgery in Glasgow, Scotland, due to the injuries she suffered during the fight against Hanna Rankin on May 13.

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Tyson Fury
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The fight was stopped in round 10, Ayala was already receiving a lot of punishment, the boxer immediately felt bad, the ring doctors gave her the first attentions, but when they saw that the fighter did not react they decided to take her to the hospital.

The promoter Fightzone issued a press release stating that Ayala underwent surgery and that she was recovering without problems, they informed that her condition was stable and they expected her evolution to be favorable.

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Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua sign deal to crown a new heavyweight icon

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Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua sign deal to crown a new heavyweight icon

Though it took the two sides months of discussions and bargaining, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua have finally signed the deal for their two-fight contract to unify heavyweight titles.

“We’d like to get a site deal confirmed in the next month. The hard part is always getting everybody to put pen to paper. But this was a major effort from all parties to get this over the line. You had rival promoters, rival networks and rival fighters,” said Eddie Hearn, managing director of Joshua’s promoter of Matchroom Sport.’

Tyson Fury

The signings happened on Saturday, according to ESPN, and they included the two rivals Fury and Joshua, Joshua’s promoter Matchroom Boxing, Fury’s American promoter Top Rank, his English promoter Queensberry and his management company Dubai-based MTK.

Tyson Fury enters the ring prior to the Heavyweight bout for Deontay Wilder’s WBC and Fury’s lineal heavyweight title at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., February 22, 2020. /CFP

“It’s pending, finding a site and a date that’s acceptable to both (fighters’ camps). We have 30 days from the signing, or the deal could go away,” said Top Rank.

“I actually feel we’ve done the hard part. Speaking for myself, Anthony and his team at 258 management [258 MGT], I know how hard we’ve worked these last couple of months, and I just feel that this fight is so big it’s not a difficult sell. We’ve already had approaches from eight or nine sites. The offers have come from multiple countries in the Middle East, from Asia, Eastern Europe and America,” said Hearn.

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Tyson Fury

All four major world boxing titles – World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF), and World Boxing Organization (WBO) – will be on the table this time, and the winner claims them all to become the undisputed champion.

Anthony Joshua poses for a photo with the IBF, WBA, WBO, and IBO World Heavyweight Title belts after beating Andy Ruiz Jr. during the Matchroom Boxing ‘Clash on the Dunes’ show at the Diriyah Season in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, December 7, 2019. /CFP

Since both are British, it will be the biggest fight in British boxing history. Meanwhile, it will also be the largest boxing event since the Fight of the Century between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao in 2015. The first fight is expected to happen in either June or July and in the Middle East and both can earn over 100 million pounds (about $138.2 million).

Tyson Fury

“This is the biggest fight in boxing and one of the biggest sporting events in the world. It will be a major, major win for a country that wants to showcase itself,” said Hearn.

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