Tyson Fury had doubts over Anthony Joshua’s ability to outbox Oleksandr Usyk – and the Gypsy King’s fears proved correct.
Joshua could have been set for a heavyweight unification fight against Fury had he beaten Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday night.
But the 31-year-old surrendered his WBA, WBO and IBF belts as he suffered a unanimous points defeat to the Ukrainian.
Joshua has confirmed he intends to trigger the rematch clause in his contract with Usyk – who became only the third boxer to win world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight after David Haye and Evander Holyfield.
And he might want to listen to the advice of WBC champion Fury, who said before Saturday’s fight that Joshua’s best chance of victory was to go out hard for the opening two rounds.
“The way I would say for AJ to beat Usyk is to get straight on him in an all-out attack, head, and body,” Fury told Boxing with Chris Mannix ahead of the fight.
“Use your size and strength and get him out of there.”
While Fury felt Joshua’s best chance was to overpower Usyk early on, he feared his fellow Brit might suffer for such an approach in the later rounds.
“You have to have big balls to do that, and AJ doesn’t have the stamina to do that sort of thing,” he added.
“Because if he does a sustained attack for two rounds, he needs four rounds to recover again. You know, it could be interesting. Everyone says Usyk is a small puncher, but I’m not so sure.
“All heavyweights can punch hard. The people that have troubled me the most in my career are the light non-punchers.”
Fury’s co-promoter Frank Warren doubts whether a long-awaited all-British match-up between his fighter and Joshua will happen now.
“I don’t see it happening now,” Warren told BBC Sport. “If it did happen, what would Tyson have done to him? It wouldn’t have gone 12 rounds. Tyson would have destroyed him. Absolutely. The unification fight was there, such a big fight. Heartbreaking.
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“What would Tyson Fury had done to Joshua? A better chin, bigger puncher.”
Warren did say there was a clamour for Fury and Joshua to fight even with no belts on the line.
“I’ll fight Tyson Fury and Wilder without the belts,” he said. “The belts are fun, it’s great, it’s legacy – but with or without the belts, I’ll fight whoever. The road to undisputed [champion] is a nice title to have and chase but would you still watch it without the belts?
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“The main thing is that you have got two competitive fighters in the ring from UK soil that just want to go toe-to-toe.”
Fury defends his WBC strap in his trilogy rematch with Deontay Wilder on October 9.