A potential undisputed heavyweight championship fight in 2021 between WBC and LINEAL!!!!!! champion Tyson Fury and WBA/IBF/WBO titleholder Anthony Joshua has been a hot topic during boxing’s sidelined period over the last three months, and while it’s a big topic with American fans and media, it’s certainly even bigger in the United Kingdom.
Sky Sports had Ricky Hatton and Matthew Macklin on to discuss the fight and its potential significance, and make their picks for a winner.
Hatton, one of the UK’s biggest-ever stars and attractions, feels this is a fight that absolutely has to happen, and that everyone would kick themselves later if it doesn’t.
“This fight can’t not happen,” Hatton said. “It’s got to go ahead. Otherwise, all of us, we’ll never forgive ourselves. Years ago in British boxing, you couldn’t think of two British heavyweights. We have the two best in the division now, and they’ve got to fight each other.
“I think the TV companies, the promoters, everyone involved, when they sit around the negotiating table, everyone’s just got to be sensible. A lot of fights don’t take place because of who has the lion’s share, and we can’t let this fight not happen.”
Fellow ex-fighter Matthew Macklin, now a terrific pundit and commentator for Sky Sports, is confident that it will happen, though like Hatton he is fully aware of the danger of slip-ups at heavyweight.
“I really do believe, all things going well with interim bouts, hopefully no banana skins there — but all going well, I really do believe we will see Fury and Joshua in the first part of next year,” Macklin said.
Hatton also believes that while the fight may make more money in Las Vegas or somewhere in the United States, it really should be held in the United Kingdom.
“I don’t see why it can’t happen at Wembley or something like that. You need a big, outdoor arena,” he said. “The majority of the money is made when you go box in the United States on (pay-per-view), because obviously the vast size of the United States. But a fight of this size, I think it needs to be in England. Two men at the top of their game. AJ’s got the belts, Tyson’s undefeated. An unbelievable, brilliant clash of styles, brilliant clash of personalities. We’ve got to have it in the UK, I think.”
As for predictions, Macklin doesn’t count Joshua (23-1, 21 KO) out, but sees Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO) as the better fighter and likely winner.
“Anthony Joshua is probably not as dangerous with one punch as (Deontay) Wilder, but he’s an all-around much better fighter,” Macklin said. “He’s got a lot more to his arsenal, he’s got a good jab, he’s technically a good fighter. He can fight on the inside, as well. He carries enough power, certainly a big, big puncher.
“But I just think Tyson Fury, his boxing IQ, his smartness, his mental strength, his jab, his speed, his mobility and agility for such a big guy — I just think he knows a little bit too much for Joshua. I just fancy him, I’ve got a gut feeling that he’ll just be a little bit too good in every department.”
Hatton only had time to give a one-word answer for a winner, and he was clear: “Fury.”
Sky Sports pundits and former fighters Darren Barker, Anthony Crolla, and Jamie Moore also pick Fury to win, while Tony Bellew, Johnny Nelson, and Spencer Oliver are taking Joshua. Those three all think Joshua would win by stoppage, while only Crolla sees Fury winning via stoppage.