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Deontay Wilder: Why he's a more threatening opponent for Joshua than Fury

Lee Cleveland Updated
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They are considered by many as the best heavyweights in the world.... IBF/WBA Champ Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) and WBC Champ Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs).

And the boxing world is buzzing about the prospects for this match-up. But, are we mistakenly dismissing lineal champion Tyson Fury as a possible opponent for Joshua next year?

In October 2016, Tyson was forced to relinquish his organizational titles, and his boxing license was subsequently suspended. And it's presumed he is being treated for cocaine addiction but that hasn't kept him from taunting Joshua via social media and threatening a return to the ring.

Should Tyson come back, would he be a bigger threat to Joshua than Wilder?

Fight legend Joe Calzaghe thinks so.

“... I think Tyson Fury would be a tougher fight for Joshua, just because of the way he boxes,” Calzaghe told Sky Sports earlier this week.

“I fancy AJ to knock out Wilder, but it will be pretty entertaining while it lasts."

“I would love to see Tyson Fury get back into shape because I think it would be the biggest British fight of all time. A great fight for Britain. It would be a world title fight. Because remember, Tyson Fury beat Klitschko a lot more comfortably than Anthony Joshua. A great mix of styles. I would love to see that fight.”

Calzaghe seems to have forgotten how determined and prepared Wlad was for the Joshua fight. That version of Klitschko was better than the listless, seemingly disinterested Wlad who faced Tyson Fury. Moreover, styles make fights. Just because Fighter B decisively outpointed Fighter A doesn't mean Fighter C, who won a difficult battle with Fighter A, would be at a disadvantage against Fighter B.

The Drugs, Weight and Layoff
The ultimate question: Can Tyson Fury fully rebound from a drug problem, an astounding 100 plus pound weight gain and lengthy layoff? Should he come back, he wouldn't - or at least shouldn't - face a top-level opponent straight away.

Given the obstacles Fury has created for himself, I can't imagine him being a threat to Anthony Joshua anytime soon. It will take awhile for him to regain top form, physically and mentally.

The problem: Should Fury come back, he'll be rushed into a Joshua superfight fight after a mere one or two tune-ups which won't be enough.

He'll need more time to fully regain his timing, rhythm, footwork, conditioning and the feeling of fighting live under the big lights and cameras. It's easy to spar in the gym, but fighting live on the big stage is a whole different animal that takes getting used to.

In sum, regaining his old form will be like a trip through hell; Moreso because of the drug addiction and its after-effects than the weight gain and lengthy layoff.

Fury or Wilder?
For Team Joshua, it would be a no-brainer. Fury would not only be the less threatening opponent, that fight might be more lucrative.

As for Wilder, let's not forget he was an Olympic bronze medalist and is fundamentally sound. Moreover, he is explosive and can crack. Hence, his 38-0, 37 KO record. He punches harder than Fury, is faster, and doesn't take as many "flush" shots as Tyson, even at the latter's best.

In order to regain his old form, Fury will need at least two years of sobriety and three or more tune-ups; But unfortunately, he'll be expected to fight Joshua before he's fully regained his former self.

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