Anthony Joshua has been backed to defeat Tyson Fury in their WBC title fight by one of the Gypsy King’s former sparring partners.
On Tuesday, Joshua’s management confirmed they will accept Fury’s 60/40 purse – in favour of the champion – split offer to set up a clash with the Gypsy King for the WBC world heavyweight title on December 3. The bout will be contested at the Principality Stadium in Wales.
The highly-anticipated clash between Joshua and Fury could end up being worth over £70 million. It will likely be the biggest bout in British boxing history with plenty of bad blood between the two rivals.
READ MORE: Tyson Fury vows to finish off Anthony Joshua ‘nice and quickly’ in blockbuster clash
Joshua is coming off successive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk with the Ukrainian retaining his WBA (Super), WBO, IBO and IBF world titles in front of 30,000 fans in Saudi Arabia last month. Usyk also took home the Ring Magazine title after it was vacated by Fury following his sudden ‘retirement’.
Fury is looking to establish himself at the top of the heavyweight division following his retirement after defeating Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium in April. However, Fury’s former sparring partner Christopher Lovejoy believes Joshua can return to form in the upcoming bout.
The 38-year-old claims to have knocked Fury out of the ring when they sparred a few years ago. The claim has been refuted and laughed off by the WBC champion.
“I’m not even a fan of AJ,” Lovejoy wrote on Twitter. “But I got him beating Fury, let's not forget Fury got dropped by (Deontay) Wilder. I also knocked Fury out the ring before.”
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Fury has his own version of events from the clash with Lovejoy, who holds a 20-1 professional record. In 2019, he told iFL TV: “What happened was, there was this big fella, six-foot-five, 20 stone, 18-0, he was highly rated by the WBA.
“And he was saying all over Las Vegas, all in the heavyweight gyms, ‘I’m going to knock Tyson Fury out. He’s a bum, he’s this, he’s that.’
“So one of the trainers at the gym said, ‘Oh Tyson, there’s this guy who said he’s gonna knock you out.’ I said, ‘Are you going to knock me out, are you?’
“He said, ‘Yeah, I am.’ I said, ‘Come down and do it then.’ So anyway I wasn’t [sparring] at the gym and he turned up to the gym. I said, ‘I’ll tell you what to do, come back tomorrow and I’m gonna knock you out. If I don’t, it don’t count.’
“He sort of flapped it, didn’t know how to take it. But he left and he came back tomorrow. My cousin said, ‘I want you to drop him with a straight left hand in the first round.’
“I said, ‘You got it.’ He comes running at me, I just went slip, boom and down he went. All 20 stone of him on the floor.”
Joshua has lost successive bouts, and Fury had targeted an undisputed clash with Usyk only for the Ukrainian to rule himself out of action until 2023. As a result, Fury turned to Joshua to finally settle their rivalry.
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