Anthony Joshua admires Tyson Fury self-will but critical of fight with MMA star

By Sports Desk August 03, 2023

Anthony Joshua has some admiration for Tyson Fury’s uncompromising attitude but believes his British rival should be fighting professional boxers and not mixed martial artists.

Fury argued he was unable to arrange a showdown with Joshua or Oleksandr Usyk, which led the WBC heavyweight champion agreeing to box MMA star Francis Ngannou on October 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

While Fury’s handlers have denied the crossover bout is an exhibition, the 34-year-old will not be defending his world title against the former UFC heavyweight champion, who has never boxed professionally before.

Fury has been accused of holding up the division and Joshua, who has a rematch against Dillian Whyte on August 12 at London’s O2 Arena, admitted he has some sympathy with boxers having to stand by for a title shot.

“I’m not frustrated by that because I’ve been champion and I know my process and I’m on this rebuilding phase but I can understand for people waiting in line it must be massively frustrating,” Joshua said.

“To become champion for some people is the be all and end all. That’s all they want to do and then they can pack up. I feel sorry for the people who want to know where they are going with their career.

“But Fury has to do what Fury has to do for him. I admire the guy for his confidence to do what’s right for him – he has an ‘eff it’ mentality. I think we all need a bit of that in today’s society.

“If you want to hold him accountable then yes he should be fighting active fighters and he should wait until the end of his career, when he’s not champion anymore, to compete with MMA fighters.”

Negotiations for an undisputed fight between Fury and WBA, IBF and WBO champion Usyk broke down earlier this year, with the British fighter attracting the most criticism which intensified after the Ngannou announcement.

The WBC has given Fury special dispensation to take on his Cameroonian-French opponent, in a fight which is expected to be highly lucrative for both combatants, as there is no mandatory challenger in place.

Joshua ruefully reflected that he would still be a world champion now had he ignored his mandatory and vacated one of the crowns now held by Usyk, who outpointed the Briton twice.

“When all is said and done it will just be part of (Fury’s) legacy and I think we will all forget about it sooner or later,” Joshua added.

“Usyk was my mandatory and I ended up losing to him. I would have loved to have gone to Saudi to compete with someone else and make a s*** load of money and swerve my mandatory.

“I would still be champion if I could do that but I didn’t get that opportunity and I had to take it on the chin. But life isn’t always fair.”

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