Former World Champion Asks Pressing Question to Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk And Deontay Wilder

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Will the much-anticipated clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk save the heavyweight division? 2023 has been eventful for the boxing realm in totality. However, the heavyweight class, coveted to lead the sport has fallen aback compared to the rest of the sects. There is a popular understanding that the A-listers of this class hesitate to clash with each other, a fear that such a clash could push them off the notoriety they have amassed.

Is it the fear of a loss or the lack of resources to back such massive cards? The answers oscillate between the two. The Fury-Usyk clash has been prolonged for almost a year now. Insiders strongly attribute the delay to Fury’s disapproval of the purse splits. On the other hand, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder have been chasing their showdown for about seven years now. Yet, a date for the fight has not emerged. In such stagnant waters, a bygone voice has emerged in strong criticism.

In a conversation with Daily Star, former super middleweight champion, Joe Calzaghe chimed into the ongoing discourse about the heavyweight class. One of the most revered English fighters of his time, Calzaghe was a driving force in traditional boxing in the realm. Today, years after he has hung his gloves, he still holds the normative ecosystem of boxing valid. He disapproves of YouTubers venturing into the sport. And to save boxing from their advent, he made his plea to the current boxing stars.

As he stood ringside in Saudi for the exhibition-esque clash between Fury and novice boxer Francis Ngannou, the future of the boxing realm flashed in front of him. It was at this point that it dawned on him that it was notable fighters like Fury, Usyk, AJ, and Wilder that could keep the sport at the helm of glory. He mentions the changing landscape of the sport. “You have young fans who are not boxing fans, they are Jake Paul fans,” remarked Calzaghe. He might hold some conservative views about who boxing should open up to, but he is not completely wrong about YouTubers today, standing poised to get better recognition than pro-fighters.

He understands that he is a 51-year-old retired boxer, whose era is a story of bygones. But he still came from a time when unbeaten champs got the acknowledgment their prowess deserved. He lamented, “On the one hand, we have unbeaten world champions who are not getting the recognition, and maybe the rewards, they deserve. On the other hand, we have YouTubers who are getting millions of pounds for fighting, who don’t know much about boxing.”

Boxing is after all a sport that has historically been the bastion of the legends. When looked closer, it is the heavyweight class that hosted names like Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson that pushed the sport to where it is today. Calzaghe says, “In the heavyweight division, we have Wilder, AJ, Fury and Usyk. Those four are all big stars. But why aren’t they fighting each other? I would love to see that happen. So would every proper boxing fan out there. But instead, we have Fury fighting a guy who’s never boxed in Saudi Arabia.” 

Fury fought Ngannou on the 28th of October. The WBC champion has been the scourge of criticism ever since the inception of the Ngannou fight. Critics have pointed out that Fury undertook a fight purely for the sake of money and gave up on the bigger, more vital picture: his unification of titles clash against Usyk. But in response, there is a common understanding that fighters today resonate with. If boxers like Fury got the compensation that their experience and record demanded, the Ngannou fight would have never happened.

Similarly, the AJ and Wilder clash has taken forever to be realized. The latest developments have emerged regarding their plans in the ring. AJ and Wilder may finally fight on the same Saudi card on the 23rd of December. However, the two will still not fight each other despite being at the same venue on the same day. Organizers have hinted that they are saving the fight for a bigger clash next year. Meanwhile, Fury’s promoter Frank Warren has also clarified that his fighter needs some time to recuperate after the Ngannou bout. Fury will mostly face off against Usyk in February or March 2024.


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