ON Sunday morning, Tyson Fury surprised most of Great Britain when he came out and offered condolences and support to Anthony Joshua following his stunning upset defeat at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jnr in New York.
Based on past form, the assumption was that Fury would kick his fallen rival while he was down, rub salt in his wounds, call him a ‘big dosser’ or a ‘fraud’, or simply use Joshua’s loss as proof that it is ‘The Gypsy King’ and not Joshua or Deontay Wilder who runs the heavyweight division.
That he did none of these things not only shocked people but had plenty praising him for his respectful tone.
A few days later, however, this has all changed. Now Fury, speaking on ESPN radio, has offered a different take on Joshua’s fall from grace.
“He’ll never live it down,” the former heavyweight champion said. “Can you imagine? You’re built like an Adonis, you’re six-foot-six, you’re ripped, carved in stone, and a little fat man who has eaten every Snickers and Mars bar in California comes in there and bladders you all over? What a disgrace.
“If that was me, I would never show my face in public ever again.”
Fury will look to avoid an upset loss of his own when fighting unknown German Tom Schwarz on June 15 in Las Vegas. Should he win that, and he should, there’s then hope he will settle the score with WBC champion Wilder, with whom he drew back in December.
As for Joshua, a fight against Fury could still be a possibility if the Watford man manages to return to form and defeat Ruiz in a rematch targeted for November. But that, Fury believes, will be easier said than done.
“His [Joshua] style and his [Ruiz Jr] style aren’t made to go together, and Andy will always beat AJ in my opinion,” he said.
This remains to be seen. What we do know is that Joshua, the former WBA, IBF and WBO champion, is still the most marketable heavyweight in the world, something his manager Freddie Cunningham was quick to emphasise in some bizarre post-fight quotes, and far from a failure. Indeed, even Fury, though happy to gloat, appreciates what the 2012 Olympic champion has done to enhance not only his own life but the popularity of boxing in Great Britain.
“Joshua has done very well for himself out of boxing,” Fury said. “He came from nowhere. He came out of the gutter, brought up with no money. He changed his stars and changed his life.
“He’s probably worth $70 million. He’s done well in his life and career. He’s been the heavyweight champion of the world. If that’s a failure then I don’t know what isn’t a failure.
“He’s definitely done well in his career, but everybody bumps into that one person that can knock them out any time.
“Unfortunately for AJ, it was the little fat fella from California who chinned him.”
Fury has yet to meet the man to do to him what Ruiz did to Joshua but he’s right – he’s probably out there somewhere. What’s more, with the way the heavyweight division seems to be going right now, who’s to say it won’t be Tom Schwarz on June 15 in Sin City?