By: Sean Crose
He no doubt has other things on his mind at the moment, but if you pull his arm, WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua will tell you he believes Deontay Wilder will best Tyson Fury when the two men meet next month in Las Vegas for a third go round. “Let’s go with Wilder,” Joshua told the BBC in the leadup to his own fight this weekend against former cruiserweight kingpin Oleksandr Usyk. “He (Wilder) seems obsessed, like he really wants it.” Joshua went on to add that “a focused man is a dangerous man, and he’s focused.”
Wilder and Fury first met back in December of 2018, when the two battled for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title. The fight was close, but Fury looked to be on his way to a decision win when Wilder dropped him hard in the final round. Amazingly, Fury got to his feet, fought on well, and ultimately walked away with a draw. The two men met again in early 2020. This time, it was Fury who was the aggressor. Not only did he outfight Wilder, he led to a member of Wilder’s corner to throw in the towel in the seventh.
Even though Fury won the rematch in thoroughly dominant fashion, Joshua feels Wilder’s focus in the leadup to the third fight will give him the edge. “Wilder might get the decision,” he said. “Actually, no… it has to be a knockout. One of them will knock the other out.” Joshua himself, however, has other things on his mind, mainly the undefeated Usyk, who he’ll be facing in England. Although favored to win, the towering Englishman is facing an undefeated fighter who was himself the undisputed cruiserweight champion on the world – during a time when cruiserweight was a division bursting with talent.
Should he best Usyk, Joshua will be expected to face the winner of Fury-Wilder. That pressure will be particularly intense if Joshua and Fury end up victorious in their respective bouts. Both are supersize heavyweights and, even more importantly, both Englishman. Throw in the fact that the winner of a Joshua-Fury bout would find himself being the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in ages and the potential bout looks to have the makings of a true superfight. Indeed, the two men were supposed to face off in the middle east this year before an American arbitrator ordered Fury to face Wilder again. Joshua, however, comes across as willing to take on all comers.
“Honestly,” he said, “there’s no problem with challenging any fighter in the heavyweight division.”