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‘Be happy for him’: Tyson Fury defends Anthony Joshua from critics in surprising turnaround

Tyson Fury has launched a surprising defence of Anthony Joshua, urging critics of the former heavyweight champion to ‘be happy for him’.

Fury and Joshua once seemed destined for an all-British clash, potentially one that would crown an undisputed heavyweight champion, but “AJ”’s defeats and Fury’s alleged retirement have cast doubt over the chances of such a contest ever taking place.

Joshua, 32, responded to a stoppage loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019 by outpointing the Mexican-American at the end of that year, and in doing so he regained the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts that he had lost in their first fight. Joshua dropped the titles again last September, however, with a decision defeat by Oleksandr Usyk.

In August, Joshua will attempt to avenge that loss when he rematches the unbeaten Usyk in Saudi Arabia, with the winner of that bout potentially in line for a clash with WBC champion Fury. The “Gypsy King”, however, has claimed to be retired following his knockout of Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium in April.

The unbeaten Fury, 33, has said he has little to no interest in facing Joshua or Usyk, and he has in particular dismissed AJ’s skills in the ring.

He has now defended his compatriot from critics, though, saying in a Twitter video on Wednesday: “This is my defence of AJ.

Oleksandr Usyk (left) and Anthony Joshua (centre) at a London press conference (Getty Images)
Oleksandr Usyk (left) and Anthony Joshua (centre) at a London press conference (Getty Images)

“Everyone’s saying: ‘AJ’s a bum, he’s this, he’s that, he can’t fight because he’s lost a few.’ But AJ has made it in life.

“The man can go to the pub every single day and drink Peroni, if he wants to. He can go on holiday every day, he can play with his kids every day of his life

“So, I don’t wanna hear any more of this bulls*** about: ‘AJ’s this, he’s that, he’s useless, he can’t fight.’

“The man’s made it, be happy for him.”

Earlier in the day, Joshua had been asked by iFL TV about Fury’s demand of $500m or £500m to return to the ring.

“What do you want me to say? ‘No, he should only get £100m,’” Joshua said.

“Well done, talk your s***! If you want £500m or £1billion, talk your s***. You might get it. Speak it into existence. If that’s what he wants, someone throw up the dough.

“I rate it, you’ve got to speak it into existence.”

Tyson Fury retained the WBC heavyweight title in April by stopping Dillian Whyte (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)
Tyson Fury retained the WBC heavyweight title in April by stopping Dillian Whyte (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)

Joshua was also asked whether he believes that Fury will actually stay retired.

“If someone calls him out, he’ll come out for a couple of fights, why not?” Joshua said. “Come out for a couple good scraps, why not?

“He’s still involved in the fight game. Retirement doesn’t mean that you’re completely done, it probably just means: ‘Right now I just need to retire, take some time out.’

“Everyone’s different, but at the same time... as much as we all believe he’ll come back, let’s respect his decision as well. You know what I’m trying to say? If that’s the case...”