TYSON FURY vs Anthony Joshua can still happen, even if it isn’t going to be quite the fight we’d come to expect. Joshua losing to Olekandr Usyk in London on September 25 has changed the dynamic of the heavyweight division. An Anthony Joshua victory would have raised hopes for him to go in with the winner of Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder III in a fight that would have pitted the biggest, best and most high profile two heavyweights on the planet against one another – a contest that would have captured the world’s attention.
Now Joshua finds himself battling back to restore his position in the division, and Fury still has to overcome dangerous puncher Deontay Wilder at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday (October 9). The sport might be moving on. But that doesn’t mean Fury-Joshua is completely off the agenda.
Todd DuBoef, president of Top Rank the promotional company that represents Fury, however sees no reason that the Joshua fight couldn’t happen eventually. “Unless Joshua doesn’t want it,” he told Boxing News. “Joshua lost to [Andy] Ruiz, did that get rid of the Fury fight? No. He went back and beat Ruiz and the Fury fight [seemed like] it’s going to happen.”
“I think we should devalue the loss [in boxing]. Why should it hurt? Anthony Joshua had 68,000 people there [at the stadium]. Let’s say 10% of them gave up on him. So 61,000 people? Not such a bad problem to have, 61,000 viewers that still want to see you fight again. But we keep score based on if you lost,” he continued. “They devalue it in MMA. I mean Conor McGregor has lost three of his last five matches or something, I don’t even know what the number is, it’s crazy. I’ve seen main events in the UFC where the guy has lost his last three fights and he’s headlining a pay per view and the press and the media and everybody don’t go, ‘Oh what a disastrous fight, what a shame, what a this, what a that.’”
“I think we’re dealing with a culture. I think we’re dealing with an epidemic in our sport of people that are used to in a way to criticise first,” he added. “Change pre-conceived notions, change perceptions, change all the things. I mean, if you lose one match, it’s not the end of it. It’s not the end… Losing is not a criticism, losing is human.
“I think if we all devalue the loss and value the audience, we would do better for ourselves in the future.”
He highlights the positive side of the situation. Oleksandr Usyk has now come through as one of the leading heavyweights. “I think the negative side is we lost a massive tent pole event [in Fury-Joshua], a massive mega fight, which is a short term problem. The long term thing is we have another player. We just added another Ukrainian to the pot in the heavyweight division, with relevance and significance,” DuBoef said. “It’s not about the negativity of Joshua. What did Joshua do wrong? He may have fought a style that’s difficult for him. Give the accolades to Usyk in victory. A brilliant performance, a gold medallist, a professional, a decent human being, a wonderful person, he’s been great for the promotion and we have the birth of somebody new, let’s all applaud him. We can applaud it, rather than the negative of ‘what did Joshua do?’ It’s like it was his fault he lost, not Usyk’s credentials that got the win.
“You may never have had Usyk [as a star] if he didn’t beat Joshua and Joshua may come back and beat Usyk… We’ve added another ingredient to our pot, this renaissance of boxing that’s coming back.”
A different heavyweight division is taking shape and there is no shortage of appealing matches that could be made. Beyond the top four, there’s an array of rising contenders. “When you look at the heavyweight division, it’s wonderful now. Look at our undercard [on Saturday], you have the Adam Kownacki [vs Robert Helenius] fight that’s terrific, you have the Efe[Ajagba-Frank Sanchez] fight that’s terrific, Jared Anderson who’s terrific. [Outside of of that] you have Yoka in France who’s terrific, you have Joyce in the UK who’s terrific, [that’s] without any of the title holders, you have Andy Ruiz,” DuBoef said. “And listen, Tyson has to go get rid of Wilder.
“One of those crazy punches can come flying… Then we get Fury-Joshua, it would still happen. If we could come away with one thing devalue the loss. Devalue the loss and value the fans.”