It appears that we will finally have an undisputed heavyweight champion.
After months of negotiations amid a global pandemic, WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and WBO, IBF and WBA titlist Anthony Joshua signed on the dotted line for a two-fight deal to make history as the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the four-belt era. A location has yet to be determined, but both sides have agreed and it’s all systems go.
Are you excited?
You should be.
Heavyweight boxing has had an upswing over the past few years after a lull when the Klitschko brothers ruled the sport with an iron fist during the 2000s. They rarely competed in the United States and the lack of competition made the division less than compelling. But the rise of Fury and Joshua — along with Deontay Wilder — has pushed the largest division in boxing back into the spotlight. And there couldn’t be two better fighters for the moment.
In one corner you will have Fury, the undefeated Gypsy King, whose return to the ring after suffering from mental health issues, alcoholism and extreme weight gain became a fascinating narrative. After leaving the sport to get his life together in 2015 following his victory over Wladimir Klitschko, he returned three years later as a man on a mission. Somehow, the three years away made him an even better fighter and he stunned the boxing world when he battled the heavy-handed Wilder to a split draw.
In the return bout last February, Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) dominated and stopped Wilder in the seventh round to remain undefeated and claim the WBC crown.
In the other corner, you will have Anthony Joshua, a human specimen who appears to be molded from a bodybuilding magazine. Arguably the biggest global star in boxing, the Brit took home gold in the 2012 Olympics and rampaged through the heavyweight division from the moment he turned pro in 2013. A knockout machine, Joshua pulverized opponents with a ferocious knack for separating a fighter’s body from his senses as he racked up 22 straight victories with 21 knockouts while becoming the unified heavyweight champion with his scintillating 11th round TKO against Klitschko.
But then he was stunned in his American debut against Andy Ruiz and had to pick up the pieces of his boxing career. He did just that by winning a dominant unanimous decision in the rematch and set the stage for this massive showdown by obliterating Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round of their December clash.
And now we are here. There are no more hurdles to clear as it seems that a proposed third fight between Fury and Wilder has been pushed aside and Oleksandr Usyk will wait his turn before cashing in as the mandatory for Joshua’s WBO title.
Aside from this being the biggest fight in British boxing history, it’s simply a massive affair between two fighters who couldn’t be more different.
They always say that styles make fights, but so do the stories. If you wanted to get invested in a narrative, this would be the one. You could root for Fury, who battled through mental health issues to get to where he is today. Or, you could back Joshua, the charming monster of a man who combines a look made for magazine covers with a viciousness that only his opponents have to deal with. You can’t go wrong but you will be entertained.
Their styles are also so vastly different that it will lead to an intriguing showdown between the two Goliaths. Joshua is a seek-and-destroy fighter who learned how to temper his approach after being stopped by Ruiz. There is now more nuance to his destructive ways as he opts to be a strategist with a violent streak, as exemplified by his knockout of Pulev. With that new wrinkle in his game, he’ll be tough to handle. But if a fighter can handle it, it’s Fury.
Fury’s granite chin and massive size are coupled with a finesse seldom seen in the heavyweight division. He doesn’t lumber around the ring like most 200-plus-pound fighters. Instead, he glides with impeccable grace that befuddles his opponents before lowering the boom with his punches.
This will be a violent ballet that will be equal parts fascinating and frightening. One punch can end either fighter’s night and the world will be on edge to see who comes out on top.
And they have already inked the rematch so no matter how the first fight ends, fans will be treated to an immediate return bout. And that’s what boxing is all about. It’s the best facing the best with no politics in between. The promoters have put their egos aside, the opponents have cleared the path and now the titans of boxing will clash in an epic display of the sweet science. It doesn’t get any better than this.
The only question is where will you be when this historic night of action takes place?