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Opinion

Will AJ's loss help of hinder Fury?

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1st October, 2021
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Anthony Joshua’s loss to the superb Oleksandr Usyk last week was the latest exhilarating twist in the most exciting heavyweight division in two decades.

The champion Brit’s mandatory defence against the classy Ukrainian was considered by many to be one half of a mini-heavyweight tournament to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion in the four-belt era.

Joshua versus Usyk and Tyson Fury versus Deontay Wilder 3 were hopefully going to be the precursors to an all-British unifier between Joshua and Fury.

Those grand plans went up in smoke courtesy of the eccentric Ukrainian, who combined excellent feints, speed and footwork in the first half of the fight with toughness, grit and desire in the second to comfortably score the victory on the scorecards.

The announcement of the unanimous decision in favour of Usyk not only separated Joshua from his titles, it separated all boxing stakeholders from the biggest fight the sport can make.

Oleksandr Usyk fights Anthony Joshua.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

As Fury stated in an interview days before Joshua versus Usyk, a Joshua loss would cost him a career payday. But could it cost him more?

Just over a week out from the trilogy fight, could AJ’s loss and the derailment of the unification fight negatively impact Fury’s performance against a dangerous Bronze Bomber out for redemption?

Fury has arguably won 17 of 19 rounds against the hard-hitting Wilder, scoring a highly contentious draw in their first encounter and emphatically stamping his dominance in the rematch with a seventh-round technical knock-out after flooring Wilder multiple times.

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With the Joshua fight now dead in the water for potentially at least 12 months, it will be interesting to see the mindset that Fury enters this fight with.

Tyson Fury

(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

On the other hand, a mentally strong Fury, which he has outwardly appeared to be over the last three years, could use the Joshua loss as extra motivation to remain focused and on-task.

While he comprehensively beat Wilder in their last confrontation, Fury must remain vigilant against a man who in all but one of his fights has shown the ability to turn the tide with one big shot.

By finishing off the trilogy with Wilder, Fury will still have the opportunity to compete in big fights. On the horizon are the likes of Usyk and Joshua, depending on their rematch, and WBC mandatory and fellow Brit Dillian Whyte if he vanquishes former Fury foe, Otto Wallin, in October.

Tyson Fury has always been a boxer that has got up for a big event, and provided he sees a path to undisputed glory and remains focused, he should see off the Wilder challenge once and for all.

My prediction is Fury by unanimous decision or late round knock-out or technical knock-out.

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