- Tyson Fury has warned Anthony Joshua about the perils of facing Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia.
- It could be a second “disaster” in a row if Joshua fights like he did in the first bout, where he got dropped four times and stopped on his feet in the seventh round of a catastrophic American debut earlier this year.
- Fury, in contrast, fights well overseas and has a good record in the US.
- The 31-year-old returns to Las Vegas for a heavyweight bout against Otto Wallin on September 14.
- And Fury, who has dressed up as Batman at a press conference and sings Aerosmith in the middle of the ring after his wins, told Business Insider that Vegas – the entertainment capital of the world – feels like a home away from home.
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Anthony Joshua is heading for disaster in his upcoming Saudi Arabia rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr.
That is the opinion of the unbeaten heavyweight fighter Tyson Fury, who believes the result of the first bout, the location, and Joshua’s inability to box on his feet favours the Mexican fighter who shook up the world by dropping the Briton four times during a seventh-round shellacking in New York, June 1.
Joshua could win his world titles back in a do-over in Diriyah, December 7, but Fury doesn’t fancy his countryman’s chances.
“I’m not sure,” Fury told Business Insider. “I’m really not sure. It’s heavyweight boxing. One punch can change a fight drastically. It’s a bizarre location in Saudi Arabia and the heat might affect both fighters.
“If anything, Andy Ruiz might be more used to the heat because he’s Mexican and lives in California. It’s always hot there whereas Joshua lives in London and it’s not always hot there.
“He’s already been knocked out, so that favours Ruiz. I think fighting fire with fire with someone who is quicker than you and puts better shots together is a disaster.
“I don’t really see the fight going any differently unless AJ comes out and boxes on his toes, which we know he can’t do.”
The devastating nature of Joshua’s ill-fated debut in the US spawned numerous conspiracy theories which suggested the Londoner had been knocked out in sparring a week before the bout, suffered a panic attack backstage, and even walked to the Madison Square Garden ring with a concussion, but each theory was denied by the fighter’s promoter Eddie Hearn at the time.
The reality of the situation was that Joshua failed to take his excellent run of victories in England on the road, and lost his very first bout on an American canvas. It was supposed to introduce him to an American market as a dominant champion, but he instead returned to Britain beltless and beaten.
“There’s always going to be somebody out there to beat somebody else,” Fury told Business Insider. “And no matter what people want to say about Joshua or whatever, it’s a fight. You can only do your best on the night and his best wasn’t good enough that night.
“Why should he be criticised or why should anybody go off him a bit more because he just lost a fight? Everybody will lose a fight. Muhammad Ali lost fights, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, everybody.”
I make this look gooood!
Fury, in contrast to Joshua, has travelled remarkably well.
He has fought in England, Ireland, Canada, New York, Dusseldorf, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. He is, so far, undefeated.
So what is the difference between them?
“The difference between me and Joshua? The difference is I make this look goooood!” Fury said.
“The difference is I travel all around the world, do what I’ve got to do, and I’m good at my job. That’s it.”
Fury has his chance to shine once again in Las Vegas
Fury avoided a disaster in his own American debut when he climbed off a New York canvas to knockout Steve Cunningham in 2013.
He avoided a scare in Los Angeles five years later when Deontay Wilder thought he had the “Gypsy King” down and out in the final round of a wild bout, but Fury rose from the brink of defeat to grind out an iconic draw in the dying moments.
In June, he stopped Tom Schwarz in two rounds having walked to the Las Vegas ring with an outfit that would not have looked out of place on Apollo Creed.
He returns to Vegas on September 14 for 12 rounds against the unheralded Swedish heavyweight Otto Wallin, and Fury could not be more excited.
“Back in Vegas, home of the Gyspy King!” Fury said, before telling us how amazing the Vegas experience was in the build-up to the Schwarz win.
“I always wanted to fight in Las Vegas and go there. I finally got the opportunity, and I’m right back where I started only a few months ago with another big fight and another massive event, top of another Top Rank card. Life at the minute being Tyson Fury is great. I’m mentally well. I’m healthy, and that’s the most important thing.
“I feel at home in Las Vegas,” he said. “Everyone’s psyched for the fight and gearing up for the big event. Gypsy King is back in Las Vegas and everybody’s coming from all over to watch.”
And people don’t just come to watch Fury fight, they also come to watch him entertain regardless of whether he’s dressing up as Batman in a pre-fight press conference, walking around with dwarfs as bodyguards, or belting out the Aerosmith song “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” to celebrate a win.
It is likely he will have more shenanigans up the sleeve of a flamboyant robe on fight night. He has a particular love of Las Vegas legends Elvis Presley and Tom Jones, and sings their songs whenever he gets the chance to on karaoke.
This time, on fight night, Fury wants rounds in the bank. He wants a distance bout so he can work on his conditioning and endurance ahead of the probable Deontay Wilder rematch early next year.
“Listen, I’d love to get some rounds in,” he told us. “You never take anyone for granted. I don’t know much about Otto Wallin. I know he’s a tall guy and a southpaw.
“He’ll put up a good fight to be fair, he’s a tough lad who has had a lot of experience amateur boxing and all that, he’s fought some of the best names in the world as an amateur and he never got knocked out. Or, I’ve never heard of him being knocked down or out before. I think he’s got a good chin but it will be tested on the night, don’t you worry about that!”
After Wallin, Fury, his team, and his American promoter Top Rank will be sizing Wilder up, looking to finalise a box office bout in the first quarter of 2020 – which will have all the makings of the fight of the year.
Should Fury be the first to beat the heavy-hitting American, the world awaits. He could challenge Joshua to a battle of Britain-type fight at the 90,000 capacity Wembley Stadium in London, take on the undisputed cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk now the Ukrainian is campaigning at heavyweight, or even complete a trilogy of huge fights with Wilder.
Fury already has one career-defining win having been the first person to bamboozle Wladimir Klitschko after the former heavyweight champion ruled the division for an era, leaving Dusseldorf with an extraordinary decision win in 2015.
So does adding more career-defining wins to his resume and forging an immortal legacy in a historic weight class motivate him?
“I don’t look at the legacy side of things,” he said. “I’m just having fun and enjoying my job. What will be will be, what fights get made get made, and what fights don’t, won’t. That’s just my outlook on boxing. As soon as I stop loving the sport, I’ll walk. As I once did before.
“I get a lot of positivity all over the world and since my return, I’ve been much loved no matter what country I go to, people show me love so it’s been a great return and journey. And who knows where it will end up.”
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