WE analyse world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and his compatriot rival, British and Commonwealth king Anthony Joshua, to decide who is the best big man in Britain: Anthony Joshua v Tyson Fury.
Fury is 6ft 9ins to Joshua’s 6ft 6ins and has a longer reach. More important, while Joshua possess a good jab and straight right hand, Fury uses his physical dimensions, combined with intelligent movement, to better effect, although he rarely throws a long, straight back hand.
Strength & endurance
Fury is, at 27, a year older, but has been a pro for almost five years longer. Watford’s Joshua has the body beautiful but seemed troubled by the shots downstairs delivered by most recent victim Dillian Whyte, although he ultimately came back well. Fury uses his strength to his advantage, mauling and pushing opponents around, sapping their energy and spirit.
Fury is defensively awkward, has good mobility and footwork for a man of his size but his blows are not always entirely ‘correct’ – the right hand often curved and losing power as a result – and he rarely throws combinations. Joshua was an Olympic champion and World runner-up as an amateur and his skills have only improved since the unpaid days. His punches are typically precise, accurate and land cleanly.
Long-time BN writer Daniel Herbert used to say that Fury, in his amateur days, failed to ‘punch his weight’. That has not changed, primarily due to the technical flaws we have discussed. The giant still hits hard but compare his – longer – right hand to Klitschko’s and the difference is clear. Fury has been taken late into fights or even to the final bell by opponents who have been halted early by others, including Kevin Johnson who Joshua blasted apart. “AJ” hits tremendously hard with both hands and has stopped or knocked out everyone he has met.
Fury has very fast hands but rarely tries combinations of more than three shots. Joshua is quick of both hand and foot and is happy to unleash rapid-fire bursts.
Joshua’s amateur pedigree is invaluable but Fury’s number of completed rounds as a pro (130) dwarfs Joshua’s 17. The Wilmslow traveller has also fought more fringe contenders and of course Wladimir Klitschko.
A clear win for Joshua whose amateur career, while fruitful, was relatively concise and who had rarely broken a sweat as a pro until his last bout. Fury is young for a heavyweight but has plenty more miles on the clock than his rival, won a fight against John McDermott many felt he should have lost and has been on the deck.
Were the pair to fight right now, the smart money would be on Fury to whether an early storm, mess up and ‘old man’ Joshua before coming on strong down the stretch to triumph. In two years’ time, however, if Joshua continues to fulfil his early promise, it’s anyone’s fight.