Devastated boxing fans have been left wondering what could have been after Anthony Joshua’s shock defeat to Oleksandr Usyk all but ruled out the possibility of a mega clash with Tyson Fury.
Joshua lost by unanimous decision to the Ukrainian, who is the new unified heavyweight world champion after putting on a clinic in front of 65,000 fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
There was no doubting the way the decision would go before the judges scored it 117-112, 116-112, 115-113 in favour of Usyk, who was more than worth his success.
Over to years on from his first professional loss to Andy Ruiz Jr, defeat to Usyk leaves Joshua facing yet another salvage job – leaving dreams of a huge British bout with Fury on the chopping room floor.
Joshua has a rematch clause to face Usyk again – and it would be a major surprise if he didn’t exercise it, making a fight with Fury look increasingly unlikely.
Fans certainly don’t believe the two rivals will be going head-to-head any time soon.
One devastated boxing fan said: “We will never ever see Joshua vs Fury. Never.”
Someone else added: “For all Eddie Hearns clever management of an overrated Joshua he may of made one abysmal mistake here blowing possibly the biggest money fight ever with Fury.”
A third person commented: “Anthony Joshua losing to Usyk so he doesn’t have to fight Tyson Fury.”
Another disgruntled supporter added: “We deserved Joshua Vs Fury this year and now you can see the possibility of it never happening, f***ing shambles! Would’ve been the biggest heavyweight fight the worlds ever seen.”
“That’s Joshua Fury never happening, Fury would batter him and probably finish him,” added someone else.
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Instead of a potential date with destiny against Fury, Joshua is now on course for a career-defining rematch against Usyk.
“It’s straight back into the fire and he will want to go straight back into that rematch,” Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports Box Office.
“He will be an underdog in the rematch this time after that tonight, but that’s what he does.”