Tyson Fury remains the clear favourite to emerge victorious in a potential fight against Anthony Joshua after calling out his countryman on Saturday night. Joshua delivered a poised performance to beat Bulgarian challenger Kubrat Pulev via a ninth round knockout at Wembley Arena. In the post-fight interview, promoter Eddie Hearn said that work begins today on arranging an eagerly anticipated showdown between Joshua and Fury.
The Gypsy King responded by promising to knock Joshua out within three rounds if they get into the ring together in 2021. Joshua refused to rise to the bait, and simply said boxing should be about “less talk, more action” as he bathed in the afterglow of an emphatic victory over Pulev.
It was a mature, disciplined performance from Joshua, who appears to tread more cautiously after his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2018. He switched to a more restrained strategy when he beat the Mexican in a rematch last year, and he was reluctant to take too many risks against Pulev, but he ultimately outclassed and bullied the veteran brawler.
Joshua displayed tremendous power and a vicious right uppercut, but the bookies still make Fury the heavy favourite to secure victory in a potential unification bout between the two heavyweight champions of the world. Paddy Power and Betfair have a best price of 4/7 on a Fury win, while 888 Sport and Unibet will only go to 1/2. Betway has a market leading 7/4 on Joshua to win.
Fury has always been known as a slippery, defensive, hit-and-move heavyweight blessed with astonishing agility for a man of his size. Yet he promised to take the fight to Deontay Wilder in February and knock the Bronze Bomber out. Some commentators did not believe him, but Fury was true to his word, standing in the centre of the ring and totally overwhelming the American.
He says he will knock Joshua out too, but the bookmakers think he will revert to type and try to outbox Joshua en route to a points victory. Paddy Power has 15/8 on a Fury victory by decision, and 9/4 on him winning courtesy of a knockout.
If you think Joshua will win the fight, you can find 5/2 on him winning via a knockout, and 8/1 on him winning via a decision. He is clearly a better boxer than Wilder, but his reach is three inches shorter than Fury’s and it is hard to imagine him outboxing the Gypsy King over 12 rounds, so he might well have to knock Fury out in order to win the biggest fight in British boxing history.
Hearn said he will work hard to make the fight happen in 2021. “We’re going to be friendly, we're going to be nice,” said Hearn as he stood next to Joshua after the Pulev fight. “We know what we have to do. Starting from tomorrow, we make the Tyson Fury fight straight away. It’s the only fight to be made in boxing. It's the biggest fight in boxing. It's the biggest fight in British boxing history.
“I know he [Joshua] wants it. He is the best heavyweight in the world, I promise you. He'll break him down, he’ll knock him out, but for me, less talk, more action.”
Joshua has apparently agreed to split the purse 50-50 with Fury, and the chances of the fight taking place are increasing. However, Wilder could complicate matters. Fury’s team said the American had missed a deadline to secure a rematch, but Wilder disputes this and he is taking legal advice.
The first fight between them ended in a controversial draw, as Fury dominated. The second resulted in an emphatic win for Fury, and he is best priced at just 2/7 with Betfred to win a potential trilogy fight with Wilder. Unibet and 888 Sport have 11/4 on Wilder winning that fight.