In his latest column, former Olympian and heavyweight contender Frazer Clarke considers what might be the best move for Anthony Joshua as talk of the Tyson Fury fight resurfaces.
Here we go again…
You get a sense that everyone is getting a bit fed up with Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua. No longer do we hear the names and get all excited, we are past that point. The reality is the same as it was six months ago; until we see them in the ring, we will stay calm.
The sparks are flying again, there is chat between the promoters and from Fury on social media but unfortunately what should be the biggest fight in British boxing history already has a negative spin on it because of what has happened last few years. It is another waiting game here.
It feels like were going down a very similar road with these latest negotiations. Over the last few weeks, I personally have got to grips with and got to know how things can just change so quickly in boxing, in terms of negotiations, in terms of the thought processes of different people.
That is on a relatively small scale so on the scale of Fury vs Joshua, I imagine there is an incredible amount going into it behind the scenes. But at the that top end of the sport, there should be an acknowledgement that we just need to get this done because the public demand is just ridiculous.
There has just been no progress. When you look at Fury, he is a master of taking himself out of the public eye before returning with a bang. All he has to do his mention Anthony Joshua and he’s back in the frame. As the heavyweight king, he has every reason to do what he is doing. But the fans do give up on you eventually. They expect things as the paying public and they want it delivered.
Wilder fight still a factor at play
There are talks for Anthony Joshua to fight Deontay Wilder in December and in a sense, that might be more appealing, maybe less headaches. Joshua vs Wilder is huge but as a Brit, there is no bigger fight than the Fury fight. It eclipses everything.
I truly believe Joshua still wants it over anything else. Fury has been and still is the main objective, I believe. Wilder is of course a massive fight and massive payday. Both are no longer world champions but it still makes so much sense. But fighting Fury is still the one that ranks above it.
Before any of them, I see the Dillian Whyte fight happening in August. Looking at AJ’s last performance, the rebuild is still underway and I don’t think he will jump straight into one of those huge fights. So in the summer, Whyte could be the right option before pursuing Fury or Wilder possibly at the end of the year.
AJ will appreciate time in the gym
The time you spend in the gym with the coach is just invaluable. Just getting that personal relationship where it needs to be, trusting in each other and believing in each other while picking up the methods, techniques and gameplans. It is vital. Who knows, maybe the longer the better as far as AJ is concerned, in that sense. But not too long, because we need these fights sharpish!
But unfortunately, the expectation is going a bit, I think. We’ve been waiting for so long and a lot of people now deem it the fight that will never happen. No one is daft enough to believe it is on at this stage. As fans, you always still hope but that’s all it is at the moment.
Some of the other fights Tyson has been linked with… they are just not appetising. They don’t get the juices flowing. Fair play to every fighter trying to make that challenge, they all want that shot that will change their life. But unfortunately, we’re not interested. Whether people like it or not, AJ vs Fury just eclipses the lot.
Big questions await Okolie
First of all, massive congratulations to Chris Billam-Smith and the whole McGuigan gym after his win over Lawrence Okolie. I have to applaud his mental game in the fight. His mental toughness was incredible, to not get frustrated and stay solid and strong, it was really impressive to see.
As for Lawrence, it is a strange situation for him. He will want the rematch but it makes you think about his chances at heavyweight.
This is no disrespect to Billam-Smith, but if you’re not getting him out of there, if you’re not budging him and you’re just throwing the same one-twos, I’m not sure how far how far in the heavyweight division you go.
He will get rid of a lot of the lesser heavyweights but if you want to compete at the highest level for world titles, you need to be beating Billam-Smith and beating him convincingly.
It was a strange performance. In some ways, Lawrence is still inexperienced when you add it all up, he is not as experienced as his profile suggests. But going forward, he has to right that wrong in the rematch. I would be desperate to do that in his position.
Lawrence was guilty of lots of holding and was punished by the referee on the night. He has to be a bit cuter with that. It has gone on for years in boxing and we have seen the best of the best in this sport do that as well. But there is a way to do that isn’t so obvious.
It can be a great tactical thing but you have to get it right and I feel he has now opened the floodgates with the referees. It made a lot of noise on the night, people asking if he should have been disqualified. They might be on his back more than ever now.
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