Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn has claimed that there are plenty of similarities between Anthony Joshua and pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as the former prepares to face heavyweight rival Tyson Fury in a blockbuster unification bout later this year. A two-fight deal that would see the British champions finally come to blows is close to being finalised, with only minor details left to iron out before the first event can be officially announced.
Only the location and the date, which has been narrowed down to late June or early July, are yet to be decided with Hearn and Fury’s promoter Bob Arum aiming to wrap up negotiations as soon as possible.
A meeting between Joshua and Fury has been demanded by boxing fans for some time, with the winner able to become the first undisputed champion of the division since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
Joshua, for the first time in his career, appears to be going into the contest as an underdog with Fury tipped to come out on top by the majority of onlookers.
However, Hearn is convinced that the Watford-born fighter can upset the apple cart and condemn the ‘Gypsy King’ to his first professional defeat.
The Matchroom chief believes that Joshua has a number of things in common with Alvarez, highlighting the pair’s rags-to-riches stories and their shared desire for continuous improvement no matter how dominant they become.
“I see similarities, not in the ring, between him and Canelo,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“Two guys who came from nothing, who have built their legacies, who have the same hunger now as when they first walked into a gym. That’s what makes a winner.
“Joshua is constantly trying to evolve. When you walk into Canelo’s dressing room after a fight he is talking to [his trainer] Eddy Reynoso about how he can improve.”
Joshua has been working hard in the gym in recent weeks in order to prepare for Fury, with the latter regarded as a formidable opponent for any heavyweight on the planet.
His awkwardness and unpredictability, such as his tendency to switch between fighting orthodox and southpaw mid-contest, is likely to cause a number of problems for Joshua who has been criticised for his flat-footedness on a number of previous occasions.
Fury is also more than capable of delivering a knockout blow when needed, evidenced by his brutal win over Deontay Wilder last year.
Although Hearn is well aware of the difficulty facing Joshua, he is confident that his man will emerge victorious and achieve his goal of becoming undisputed champion.
“He is so focused,” added Hearn. “Although he’d tell you that he’s training just to improve as a fighter, I know that all he’s thinking about is Fury.
“He’s working on the plan to beat this guy and become undisputed. I love the work he’s doing, the improvements he’s making, the mind-set.
“He has the mind-set of a winner, of a champion. Fury is a fantastic fighter but AJ will do a job on him.
“The preparation starts now. Don’t think Fury isn’t doing the same. He knows. This may be the biggest fight of all time.”