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Anthony Joshua: Tyson Fury is a fraud, used my name for clout

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Anthony Joshua isn’t normally a big trash talker, but he’s reached a new level of frustration.

British boxer Anthony Joshua wins back his world heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

Anthony Joshua doesn’t often say much by way of trash talk, tending to leave that for opponents. But Joshua did lash out a bit on social media toward Tyson Fury, who clearly will be facing Deontay Wilder for a third time following an arbitration ruling.

After months of negotiation, frustrating everyone who paid any attention, Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO) and Joshua (24-1, 22 KO) had reportedly, from both sides, reached a full agreement for an Aug. 14 fight in Saudi Arabia. But that’s not happening, and AJ has spoken up.

“Tyson Fury, the world now sees you for the fraud you are,” Joshua wrote on Twitter. “You’ve let boxing down! You lied to the fans and led them on. Used my name for clout, not a fight. Bring me any championship fighter who can handle their business correctly.”

The common thought now — expressed by Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn — is that Joshua (24-1, 22 KO) will face WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KO), whose team very wisely waited out this Fury-Joshua thing until there was a signed, official, fully set fight with a real public announcement and a press conference and all that. Because he did that and didn’t actually sign for an interim title bout with Joe Joyce, Usyk appears he’ll get the fight he’s wanted since moving up from cruiserweight in 2019.

Personally, I truly don’t think Fury is a “fraud” or avoiding Joshua or any of that. I really, honestly believe the Fury side, perhaps particularly co-promoter Bob Arum, just did not think the Wilder arbitration thing would go the way it did. You can look back several months to when this was first brought up, in late 2020, and Arum consistently was confident it was a non-issue, that Wilder’s claim had expired and he was out of the picture.

Obviously, that’s not the case. And rather than vacate the WBC title, Fury is going to fight Wilder, leaving Joshua to fight someone else. If both win, there is hope Fury-Joshua can still happen in late 2021.

But it’s also hard to blame Joshua for being pissed off or even smelling a rat to a degree. Boxing isn’t the most honest business in the world, to say the least, and Joshua has to have reached a massive level of frustration. If this were going to be the end result, he could have signed to fight Usyk and taken care of a mandatory and saved himself a lot of headaches.