Anthony Joshua shocked the world on Saturday night at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 fans in an exremely close fight that ended in an 11th round KO of long reigning heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko. To show you just how close things were before Joshua finished Klitschko, the judges were split 96-93 and 95-93 Joshua to 95-93 Klitschko, with many unofficial scorecards favoring the Ukranian Klitschko as the fight drew to a finish.
For Joshua it was a night of validation as doubters had questioned his ability to defeat a top name like Wladimir, who has stood atop boxing’s heavyweight division for a decade until a loss to Tyson Fury in 2015 cost him all the belts he had accumulated. Since then Wladimir has chased a rematch with Tyson, but two attempted fights ended up being cancelled by Fury, first due to a sprained ankle and then due to a mental breakdown where the British ‘Gypsy King’ admitted he had spent the last several months on a cocaine binge.
Upon those revelations, Tyson Fury retired to concentrate on his mental health, which is why it’s interesting that the victorious Anthony Joshua called him out following his massive victory over Klitschko.
“Fury! Tyson Fury, where you at, baby?” Joshua yelled. “I know he’s been talking, I want to give 90,000 a chance to see us.”
“You had life and death with Klitschko and I played with the guy,” Fury responded on Twitter. “Let’s dance.”
Whether Fury is in any condition to dance is doubtful. Even the generally neutral BBC posted a picture of a portly Tyson with the caption ‘Fury was certainly not at fighting weight when pictured in Manchester in early April’ when discussing the fight. But the possibility of a massive payday in Wembley might be enough to get Fury out of his funk and back into fighting shape. And as a man who spent his entire career defying the expectations of his detractors, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think he could take the red hot Joshua in a fight. But it’s a lot to ask of a fighter who pulled out of his last two massive fights with Klitschko and is still in a very iffy place mentally.
Other possibilities include a rematch with Klitschko (who had a rematch clause in the original bout agreement that can be ‘executed at certain points’) or mandatory challengers dictated by the organizations that ‘run’ Joshua’s belts like Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker, or Kubrat Pulev. But with the calling out of Fury, Joshua is making it clear that he doesn’t want to go backwards: he wants big fights against big names, something the heavyweight division doesn’t have a lot of at this point. Who knows, though. With Anthony Joshua at the top, things could quickly change as the sport gets a much needed shot of excitement in the arm.