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The Tag Team Champions of the World: Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury
By: Kirk Jackson
The lineal heavyweight champion of the world Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO’s) is pulling out every stop in preparation for his tentative rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KO’s) scheduled for Feb 22.
First the changing of trainers from Ben Davison to Javan “Sugar” Hill.
Now Fury may receive the addition of the highest caliber of sparring, in the form of unified WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KO’s).
What would be Joshua’s reasoning helping potential future opponent/rival for the biggest bout in his career thus far?
“It’s not about me, it’s about the sport and the legacy,” Joshua said to Sky Sports.
“If he wants to create his legacy and he wants to be a future hall of famer, he (Wilder) needs to come and see us. You’ve got the two lords of the rings here. The last one to unify, undisputed, the division. I’ve got four, he’s got one. I just need one more.”
Earlier in the week, Fury took to his Instagram page to accept the offer presented from unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to help him prepare for the mega-fight.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>And <a href=”https://twitter.com/Tyson_Fury?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Tyson_Fury</a> has responded😲 <a href=”https://t.co/I20mWZmwx7″>https://t.co/I20mWZmwx7</a> <a href=”https://t.co/nJh1mNwi2O”>pic.twitter.com/nJh1mNwi2O</a></p>— Chris Lloyd (@ChrisLloydTV) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ChrisLloydTV/status/1206934316057542657?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>December 17, 2019</a></blockquote>
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“I’ve just seen the video of Joshua saying he’d love to come and help me in camp and that I’d fight him quicker than Wilder, that’s for sure,” Fury said in the video. “When I beat Wilder, I will fight you, A.J., no problem.”
“I would love to have you in camp, really, really love to have in camp to work out for this fight and give Deontay Wilder a proper beating. I hope you mean it because I’d love to have you in training camp with me.”
For Joshua’s reasoning to assist Fury, he continued, “I think Tyson Fury would fight me quicker than Wilder would. If that’s the case, I want Fury to win, because I just want to fight,”Joshua told Sky Sports.
“To have that fight here on British soil? Man, can you imagine that? Fury, if you need me for sparring, we’re going to fight one day. I’ve sparred Tyson Fury when we were kids anyway. I would go out to America and spar Tyson Fury and get him ready for this Wilder fight. Honestly, I think Fury might beat Wilder next time they’re out. That’s just my opinion.”
This would not be the first time, top heavyweight talent collaborated together with each party eventually pursuing world titles and supremacy. Heavyweights throughout history have sparred together and fought later down the line
In the lead-up to the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974, Muhammad Ali worked with Larry Holmes to help prepare for George Foreman.
Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield sparred each other in preparation for the 1984 Olympic Games. Tyson and Lennox Lewis also sparred one another in the 1980s.
Although each of these instances presented a different set of circumstances.
To clarify some of the comments from Joshua, he holds three, not four world titles recognized by the governing bodies, as the IBO belt is not recognized as a major world title in the era of alphabet belts. The recognition is the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF.
Many questions come to surface with this proposed partnership between Joshua and Fury. Is this great sportsmanship or a concession of weakness and fear?
As unified world champion, Joshua presents the highest level of sparring, but he doesn’t have the same style as Wilder. How much can he help Fury?
Being that Fury and Joshua are tag team partners, halfway through Fury’s proposed rematch against Wilder, will he tag in and swap places with Fury to give him a breather?
Will they combine powers and perform the fusion dance like Dragon Ball Z characters?
<iframe src=”https://giphy.com/embed/TbYgHMnICI1A4″ width=”480″ height=”135″ frameBorder=”0″ class=”giphy-embed” allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href=”https://giphy.com/gifs/dragon-ball-z-dbz-TbYgHMnICI1A4″>via GIPHY</a></p>
Additional commentary to question from Joshua is his assessment of the legacy of his contemporaries. He referenced Wilder, stating if he wants to create his legacy and wants to be a future hall of famer, he must to come and see Fury and himself.
Wilder and Joshua could not agree to terms to face one another. Wilder faced Fury already and is preparing to do so again, but with what Joshua is proposing sounds like a tag-team.
Joshua even has the name for this super group when he mentioned, “The two lords of the rings.” I guess the British Bulldogs were already taken.
One half of this lord of the rings tandem may be playing chess with the current pieces on the board. Using his pawn to attack the king.
Some observers may critique the style of Wilder, but it’s fair to suggest his punching power and style is something to be worried about. And it does not appear Joshua is screaming at the opportunity to face Wilder.
It’s not farfetched to speculate Joshua would rather face Fury as opposed to Wilder for stylistic purposes. For all the talk of Wilder’s discrepancies as a fighter, he is currently holding a historic reign a heavyweight champion and not too many guys are jumping in line to fight him.
“I said I only have six years in the sport that I wanna dedicate my energy and my passion to, and I mean that. So, I ask everyone to give me my roses right now,” Wilder said in his post-fight interview after defeating Luis Ortiz in their rematch.
“You know, give me my due respect and my credit right now. You know, I am here, and I ain’t going nowhere. My style is here. What I bring to boxing is here, and I ain’t going nowhere.”
“People always talk about skills and skills and skills. But as I can see it, I’m still undefeated. I’m knocking out everyone that I face. And these guys that have skills, they gettin’ beat. So, I mean, something got to – I mean, it speaks for itself. So, at this point in time, I need my due respect, please.”
Visions of a round-robin featuring Fury, Wilder and Joshua have been in discussion for a while now. It’s a possible reality. Joshua has a great promoter with Eddie Hearn, as does Fury with Bob Arum, Wilder is advised by Al Haymon and managed by Shelly Finkel.
From a fan-perspective it would be nice to see these match-ups. From a promoter’s perspective, the desire may be different. With great promotion comes the control of narratives, sometimes involving delusion.
Meaning, the promoters may lay out grand statements without the desire of honoring their proclamations. Some of these statements in which serve as smokescreens. Which hurts the fans because this equates to certain fights not manifesting.
There are also false narratives of which may be perpetuated by certain members of the media.
Journalistic integrity is for sale in some instances. Some reporters have received free rooms, among other expenditures – courtesy of Hearn and I suppose it is out of the kindness of his heart, correct?
This is all relevant because this fosters a cycle of deception and disinformation. With these precedents in place, who’s to say we’ll ever witness Wilder vs. Joshua or even Joshua vs. Fury – considering they’re the tag team champions of the world.
The tag tandem of Joshua and Hearn presently, is a powerful force. Might be the most powerful force in boxing. The partnership of Fury and Joshua is an interesting concept and it may be interesting to watch how it unfolds past the rematch between Fury and Wilder.
But for competitive purposes, the tandem of Joshua vs. Fury or vs. Wilder, no matter how it’s sliced sounds most appealing.