By: Sean Crose
If anyone knows how good a fighter Oleksandr Usyk is, it’s former WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua. The towering Englishman was reportedly set to fight countryman Tyson Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship back in 2021, but an American judge ruled that Fury had to fight Deontay Wilder for the third time instead. Joshua subsequently went on to face Usyk – and ended up losing twice in a row to the skilled Ukrainian. Bye-bye world titles, bye-bye super fight against Fury for all the figurative marbles. Times change, however, and now a rejuvenated Joshua may find himself in line for a world title again.
First, though, Joshua has to best former UFC titan Francis Ngannou, who almost bested Fury in his first professional boxing match several months ago. Should Joshua best Ngannou, however, he may be in position to fight for at least one major belt. For Fury and Usyk will be battling for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world next month. And, although boxing politics may prevent the fighters from holding on to each major heavyweight title for long, Joshua may still end up in the running for possession of at least one heavyweight strap.
“It’s going to be a good fight,” Joshua admitted to Sky Sports of Fury-Usyk. “I think Usyk edges it.” Although he may not be keen on facing Usyk for the third time, Joshua clearly feels that it won’t be Fury who holds all those world titles after his fight with Usyk is over. “I’m not really bothered,” he continued, “I just want them both (Fury and Usyk) to be healthy and leave the ring. It’s a tough game. So that’s all I can ask for, that they leave the ring healthy.” What’s more, Joshua seems to be at peace with any and all future scenarios. “In terms of how it (Fury-Usyk) goes, it doesn’t affect my life, in a way. I’m not like one of those fans that starts crying because someone won or lost. It is what it is. Tomorrow comes around. Good luck to both of them.”
It may not mean the world to him, but Joshua admitted that, between Usyk and Fury, he’d rather face Fury in the ring. “Probably the opportunity to fight Tyson Fury,” he said when asked about his preference “I think that’s a better fight for the fans and myself.” He’s probably right in that regard. A Joshua-Fury fight might well turn into a true slugfest. Usyk, however, is an extremely difficult man to beat – something Joshua and others know all too well.