Anthony Joshua – boxing’s reluctant good guy?

Is the unbeaten brawler the anti-Fury?

Anthony Joshua could be the guy to clean up the mess left by Tyson FuryImage Picture Scott Heavey/Getty Images

To add to his controversy about remaining on the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year shortlist, Tyson Fury has been stripped of the IBF World Heavyweight title.

After opting to give a rematch to Wladimir Klitschko instead of the mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov, the International Boxing Federation stripped Fury of the belt. 

Naturally, Fury took it well.

On the list of many contenders to replace him is a Brit seen as the best hope to restore order to boxing’s most important title, Anthony Joshua.

Via The Daily Telegraph, Joshua wisely advised Fury to “think before he speaks.” An unlikely idea given Fury’s views on women and sexuality, but you never know.

Joshua wanted to remind Fury of the responsibilities that come with being champion.

“Fury‘s got the talent to become heavyweight champion of the world, so give him his credit, but becoming heavyweight champion comes with responsibilities,” says Joshua. ”You’ve got people from kids to grandmas watching you. Everyone’s listening. There’s a place and a time to say certain things.”

Tyson Fury lost his heavyweight title after giving Wladimir Klitschko a re-match
Modest Fury All round nice-gu... oh wait, it’s Tyson Fury. Image Picture Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

At 26, Joshua is probably the classiest of the contenders, and he presents an alternative to Fury’s foolishness.

The more reserved Joshua seems to know what he’s doing, and his public reprimand of Fury while also managing to not kick him when he’s down has won him many admirers.  It’s typical of a class Joshua has displayed since he won gold at the 2012 Olympics.

He’s quietly focused on building his boxing career, rather than use Olympic glory as a route to minor celebrity like Anthony Ogogo or Audley Harrison.

One of Joshua’s admirers is promoter Eddie Hearn, who believes Joshua has got what it takes – although he advises the Watford-born fighter to wait until next summer before going for the title. Joshua has existing commitments, while the boxing fraternity is also keen not to expose him too quickly.

Joshua, who fights Dillian Whyte on Saturday night for the British And Commonwealth Heavyweight title, needs to be careful with his next move – and equally cautious about how he positions himself as the anti-Fury.

The reluctant good guy doesn’t want to be seen as the rescuer of boxing, but he might not have a choice.

For next summer, a title bout with Fury would be the mouthwatering bout fight fans have been waiting for. At a time when British boxing is at its healthiest in years, it’d help to have an old-fashioned good vs evil scrap – and it’s one which the sport itself would benefit from.

And if Joshua lost? At least he’d show more dignity than a beaten Fury.

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