Joshua Eyes Undisputed Title, Picks Usyk To Beat Fury
Anthony Joshua is backing IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk to do the job on WBC champ Tyson Fury in their undisputed championship on February 17th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Joshua admits that he knows how good Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) is because he’s never faced the 35-year-old, but he does know of the talent that the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk (22-0, 14 KOs) possesses, having lost twice to him.
Joshua Eyes the Undisputed Dream
AJ is in a solid position to fight the Fury-Usyk winner for the undisputed champion, provided he defeats 0-1 novice Francis Ngannou on March 8th in Riyadh.
His Excellency Turki Alalshikh has tossed the former two-time heavyweight champion Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) a softball, selecting the 37-year-old former UFC champion Ngannou as his opponent to earn a shot to compete for the undisputed championship against the Fury vs. Usyk winner.
The Saudis are basically giving Joshua a free shot at the undisputed, without him having to earn it by beating one of the killers in the heavyweight division.
You can compare it to someone going to a local YMCA gym, finding some unknown Joe working out, and picking them for Joshua’s opponent. How on Earth does Ngannou deserve to fight AJ?
It’s pathetic, but AJ isn’t going to turn it down because probably the only way he can get that shot. It cheapens the whole thing, making it more like Joshua being selected without competing to earn it.
At this point, asking Joshua to defeat someone like Zhilei Zhang to earn the honor & prestige of fighting for the undisputed is unrealistic. Joshua would likely crumble under the fists of the ‘Big Bang, ‘ which would ruin the vision of His Excellency Alalshikh and promoter Eddie Hearn.
Backing Usyk But Recognizing Fury’s Ability
“Usyk. I think he does. He’s a really good fighter, and I’ve never fought Tyson Fury until now, so I don’t know how good he is,” Joshua said to Sky Sports News.
“Usyk, I’ve fought on two different occasions, and he fought differently in each. A good fighter knows how to adapt, so I think he will win,” AJ said.
Fury is kind of an unknown in all of this because he looked so awful against Ngannou, winning a controversial ten-round split decision last April and looking old and fat.
Looking at Fury’s performance against Ngannou, and his lack of quality opposition since 2015, Usyk wins easily.