Joshua v Fury still possible despite Usyk setback – Parker

By Sports Desk September 28, 2021

Anthony Joshua must learn from his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk if he is to come back stronger and keep alive the possibility of facing Tyson Fury, according to Joseph Parker.

Joshua lost his IBF, WBA and WBO titles to Usyk on Saturday after being outclassed by the Ukrainian on home soil at a packed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The 31-year-old had no answer to former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk and lost on a unanimous points decision.

It was just the second defeat of Joshua's professional career, having previously been stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019 before reclaiming the belts in their rematch.

The prospect of Joshua and Fury facing off now appears slim, with the latter's promoter Frank Warren casting doubt on a bout that at one point looked certain to take place this year.

A rematch with 19-0 Usyk may now be on the cards for Joshua before he can contemplate facing Fury, who has a third clash with Deontay Wilder coming up on October 9.

But Parker, who was the first man to take Joshua the distance in their 2018 unification fight in Cardiff, believes there is still hope of an all-British heavyweight clash taking place.

"I feel like the point is just the best fighting the best," Parker told Stats Perform. "Even though AJ lost that fight to Usyk, he's still considered one of the best. 

"He's going to go down in history as one of the best heavyweights. I think people want to see the best fight the best and that's a fight that can still happen. 

"People will still be very interested to see who's the best British heavyweight there is."

Speaking after his surprise defeat in London at the weekend, Joshua said he is "110 per cent" up for a rematch with Usyk to win back his belts.

Despite the manner of the defeat, Parker has backed Joshua to put up a far stronger performance if he does step back into the ring with Usyk.

"I was a little surprised by the defeat," Parker said. "I mean, a lot of other people called it a 50-50 fight, a lot of people said it was going to be a tear up for AJ to win. 

"But Usyk showed everyone watching tremendous skill and footwork and movement. You just saw him outbox and outsmart AJ for the 12 rounds.

"But [Joshua's] a smart man and he's got a smart team. He's faced a loss and adversity and he's come back with a better game plan. That's what he's going to need to do. 

"I think I saw an interview saying he's already watched the fight straight after it happened and he just needs to make those adjustments and how to counter someone like Usyk.

"Who wins the rematch depends on the training, it depends on who shows up on the day. But going into the rematch, Usyk would have big confidence. 

"It's pretty crazy how he came from the cruiserweight division, unified champion of the world and then has three fights and he's the unified champion of the world. 

"That's the goal of a lot of heavyweights, is to be champion of the world and be unified champ. It's so crazy how things happen."

Joshua followed up his victory over Parker, which saw him retain his WBA, IBF and IBO belts and win the WBO title, with a knockout triumph over Alexander Povetkin.

The Briton has lost two of his following four fights, however, giving him a record of 24-2 and leading to inevitable suggestions that his career is now declining.

But Parker said: "It's hard to say if that's the case. From when I fought him, he's had a couple of wins, a loss to Ruiz and come back and beat him again.

"He's saying that he's improving and getting better, but maybe he just was faced with a fighter who was just different, you know, in his element. 

"When you see Usyk, with the footwork and the movement - he didn't really allow AJ to land his shots and catch him. He was just in and out and just very smart."

Related items

  • Guardiola suits Brazil and would get the best out of Neymar, says Julio Cesar Guardiola suits Brazil and would get the best out of Neymar, says Julio Cesar

    Pep Guardiola would be an ideal coach for Brazil as his style of play would benefit the likes of Neymar and Vinicius Junior, according to Julio Cesar. 

    Brazil are on the hunt for a new boss with Tite leaving the role after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and Guardiola has been linked with the position.

    The Catalan is under contract at Manchester City, who he could lead to Premier League glory on Sunday, until June 2023 but has previously expressed a desire to move into international management.

    Julio Cesar thinks he would be a great fit for the Selecao as his possession-based approach would help Brazil's most talented players.

    "He has all the qualities to do it. He is one of the best in the world, his style of play is very Brazilian," Julio Cesar told Stats Perform courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. 

    "Everyone knows that Brazilian players love to keep the ball; the majority of them also play in Europe and they are learning to play better on the pitch.  

    "We have so much quality on the Brazilian national team: Neymar, Raphinha, [Lucas] Paqueta, Vinicius Junior. All these players are very talented and having a manager like Guardiola would give these players the opportunity of playing the ball more. 

    "Every player would love to work with a manager like him. It wouldn't be a bad idea, although we also have really good managers in Brazil. He is a big name in the football world and it wouldn't be a bad thing having him representing our national side. I like the idea." 

    Tite's only previous World Cup campaign with Brazil ended in a quarter-final defeat to Belgium in Russia four years ago. 

    He steered the Selecao to Copa America glory in 2019 but they were unable to defend their title two years later, with Argentina defeating them in the final. 

    Julio Cesar already believes Tite will leave a lasting legacy but has no doubt that leading Brazil to glory in Qatar would achieve him an even higher status. 

    "This is what the World Cup gets you, it will level you up. If you can bring the World Cup to Brazil, you can leave with your head held high, you have done your job," he said. 

    "He won the Copa America in 2019, he got to the final again against Argentina. He did very well so far, even in the [World Cup] qualifiers he got first place ahead of Argentina.

    "He can leave with his head held high, but winning a World Cup with Brazil will take him to the top." 

  • 'Special' Ten Hag needs time to bed in Man Utd ideas, says ex-Ajax man Arveladze 'Special' Ten Hag needs time to bed in Man Utd ideas, says ex-Ajax man Arveladze

    Shota Arveladze says Erik ten Hag will bring "something special" to Manchester United but must be given time.

    Ten Hag left Ajax to take charge at Old Trafford, succeeding interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

    The 52-year-old has been charged with the task of turning around the Red Devils following another disappointing season, which saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer get the sack.

    Former Ajax forward Arveladze - who now coaches Hull City - believes Ten Hag can make a big impact at United, but there will be no quick fix. 

    "Erik has grown very smart," he said. "[With] his career, he has done really good in choosing his previous teams, his previous works.

    "At Bayern Munich, he was head coach of the second team, and then he moved to Utrecht and made a great football team

    "Then Ajax, again, he took them to the top level in Europe, winning all the trophies, and now, to England.

    "He is very principled. He knows his ideas, his philosophy and he will definitely bring something special there.

    "He will need time to do, to show, to explain the way he wants to play [but] I'm quite comfortable with that, that he definitely will succeed."

    United have not won a trophy since 2017 and they will not play in the Champions League next season.

  • Amir Khan retires at 35 after Kell Brook loss Amir Khan retires at 35 after Kell Brook loss

    Amir Khan has announced his retirement from boxing aged 35, just under three months after losing to long-time rival Kell Brook.

    Former unified light-welterweight world champion Khan was stopped by 36-year-old Brook in the sixth round of their grudge match in Manchester back in February.

    Brook subsequently called a day on his boxing career after the all-British bout, and Khan strongly hinted at retiring in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.

    The unbeaten Albanian Florian Marku was floated as the next potential fight for Khan, but the 35-year-old has decided to hang up his gloves with a professional record of 34-6.

    "It’s time to hang up my gloves. I feel blessed to have had such an amazing career that has spanned over 27 years," Khan posted on Twitter on Friday.

    "I want to say a heartfelt thanks and to the incredible teams I have worked with and to my family, friends and fans for the love and support they have shown me."

    He accompanied the post with pictures from his greatest nights in the ring, with images from victories over Mexican icon Marco Antonio Barrera, Argentina's Marcos Maidana and American Devon Alexander.

    Khan remains one of the youngest world champions in British boxing history, having won the WBA title at the age of 22, while he is Britain's youngest boxing Olympic medalist after claiming lightweight silver in 2004, aged just 17.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.