AJ on ‘fast road’ to ‘smash up’ Fury vs Usyk winner

There is “no way in the world” Anthony Joshua will not face Tyson Fury in an undisputed showdown if both men win their respective heavyweight fights this spring.

That is according to Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who spoke ahead of AJ’s 10-rounder with former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou on Friday night, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Joshua and Ngannou will collide in Saudi Arabia before Fury and fellow unbeaten boxer Oleksandr Usyk do likewise on May 18 for the undisputed heavyweight title.

If both Brits are successful, Hearn insists Joshua-Fury will be made official by Turki Al-Sheikh, chair of General Authority for Entertainment in Saudi Arabia.

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Joshua is looking forward to getting back into training and not worrying about future opponents after facing Ngannou

He told Sky Sports News: “That is why we’re here in this fight. His Excellency [Turki Al-Sheikh] said to us, the winner of AJ and Ngannou will fight the winner of Fury vs Usyk.

“For us, this is the fast road to undisputed. You’ve seen what he did to Otto Wallin. People believe in him now. You saw Fury against Ngannou.

“Now all of a sudden, people are going, ‘AJ might take Fury out’. I’m telling you, he knocks Tyson Fury out, but we’ve just got to get over this hurdle on Friday night and I know that His Excellency will have AJ stopping Ngannou and Fury beating Usyk – fingers crossed – [then] there is no way in the world he will not make that fight.

“It will be the biggest fight in boxing. One of the biggest fights of our generation and in all time of the history of the sport, AJ against Tyson Fury.

“But it is all irrelevant if he doesn’t win Friday and then May 18, Tyson Fury has to beat Usyk.”

‘I’m telling you AJ knocks Fury out’

Joshua is on a three-fight winning streak since back-to-back defeats to Usyk, beating Jermaine Franklin on points before stopping Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin.

Fury was floored in the third round by Ngannou in October, in what was the Cameroonian’s first boxing fight, before recovering to win via a split decision.

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Speaking on the Toe2Toe podcast, Johnny Nelson says Joshua took a big risk by agreeing the Ngannou fight

Hearn added: “The landlord is in town to collect his rent, that’s what it is. Come over. Knock Ngannou out. Do a job. Get paid. Go back and smash up the winner of Fury-Usyk.

“Some call us deluded but that is the mindset. Anthony Joshua is going to be undisputed champion but he has this massive hurdle in front of him on Friday night.

The pressure is always on him, it has been for many years. He has been carrying British boxing since winning the Olympics in 2012. He has realised at this stage of his career that he has to do it for himself.

Eddie Hearn on Anthony Joshua

“It is a massive risk against little reward because most people are expecting him to beat a UFC fighter.

“[Ngannou] is probably more than a UFC fighter. We saw in the Fury fight someone that was very competent, very confident, someone with huge power who is incredibly strong.

“I’ll be honest with you, the knees were trembling a little bit when I saw the size of him at the grand arrivals. He is a man mountain and he is full of heart. You know AJ has to be switched on.”

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Ngannou says he may have lost the element of surprise when he faces Joshua but believes he will be a better fighter than the one who almost shocked Fury

‘Fury is a different animal – he will knock out Usyk’

Fury’s promoter Frank Warren told Sky Sports News that his fighter will overcome Usyk in May, saying: “Tyson is up for it. He is preparing for this fight like you cannot believe.

“He is very blase about the four belts but I know deep down that means to him ‘you’re the No 1’. I believe he is the No 1 and I believe he will prove that on May 18.”

Fury and Usyk were scheduled to meet on February 17, only for the fight to be pushed pack to May after Fury sustained a cut in sparring.

Fury’s father John said: “The cut was unfortunate because I think Usyk was going to face the best Tyson Fury.

“He’s got the bit between his teeth. He is training hard. He has got his weight down and he is ready to go.

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John Fury says his son Tyson will show he is a smarter fighter than Oleksandr Usyk and stop the Ukrainian in round eight or nine

“I am the biggest critic he has got. If it’s not right, I’ll tell him. I’m not looking to keep a job, I’m looking to keep him a reigning world champion. But I am more than impressed.

“The Ngannou fight stood him in good stead, believe it or not. If you can get up off the floor from a serious banger like Ngannou I don’t see a problem.

“But he has to box. It’s wit against wit. It’s who’s the cleverest who’s going to win the fight – but when they do fight Tyson will stop him – eight or nine rounds.

“He is a different animal now, it’s the old Tyson, with more experience. The skillset is still there, the speed is still there and he has the eye of the tiger back.”

Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight showdown with Francis Ngannou takes place on Friday March 8, live on Sky Sports Box Office with the main event expected around 11pm. Book now!

Source : Sky Sports