Anthony Joshua will need to prepare for every eventuality ahead of his heavyweight unification fight against Tyson Fury, according to the latter’s trainer SugarHill Steward. The pair have been tipped to face off in the ring for some time, with a bout able to crown the first undisputed champion of the division for more than 20 years.
Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn, who promotes Joshua, claimed on Monday that a two-fight deal had finally been signed off with only the dates and location of the events yet to be decided.
Boxing fans are largely split over the outcome, with both fighters regarded as the best heavyweights on the planet for very different reasons.
Joshua is known for his knockout artistry, sealing 22 of his 24 professional wins via stoppage, while Fury is generally considered to be the all-round better boxer.
The ‘Gypsy King’ is able to match Joshua’s tactic of fighting on the front foot, but is equally adept at playing the long game in order to break down opponents and eventually outclass them over the course of the 12 rounds.
Steward, who replaced Ben Davison as Fury’s trainer in 2019, has suggested that his client’s versatility will make him a tough nut to crack for Joshua, who could struggle to deal with the spontaneity of his style.
“Tyson’s unpredictable in the ring, he does not know what he’s going to do next,” Steward told MyBettingSites. “Maybe he will just come out and just box. Who knows what the game plan will be?
“Everybody has to think about so many different things with Tyson. Is he going to come out at you or not? Now you have to train two different ways; somebody coming at you and somebody boxing you.
“It starts to get a little difficult then preparing for something like that. You have to prepare for so many different styles with Tyson Fury, that makes things a lot more difficult.”
Since tasting defeat at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 and avenging the loss six months later, Joshua seems to have made a slight departure from his big-punching habits, adopting a diligent and considered style in order to outbox opponents as well as overpower them when needed.
It took the Watford-born fighter ten rounds to stop Kubrat Pulev in December after a closely-fought contest in which the champion slowly broke down the spirited challenger before moving in for the kill.
Although Steward is confident of a Fury win, he suggested that Joshua could provide him with his toughest test yet, claiming that the former Olympic champion is not a million miles away from being the complete package.
“From what I saw in that fight he really put his stuff together,” added Steward. “I thought he took the risks. He didn’t fight anything like he fought against Ruiz the second time.
“That’s the one he didn’t take the risks in. He fought with a different style and now I believe he’s comfortable with it.
“He did take risks in that Pulev fight, he didn’t shy away and just wait, he was right there. He was aggressive and I thought it was a great fight and great performance by Anthony Joshua.
“Anthony Joshua is one of the top fighters in the division, one of the top fighters in the world, with his skills and experience. He’s one of those guys who keeps practicing. It’s going to be a tough fight.
“He’s got a ton of experience, he’s got the height, good balance, good power, timing. There’s so much that Anthony Joshua has, that’s a very dangerous package.”