Boxing: Anthony Joshua believes Mike Tyson would beat prime Muhammad Ali - Tyson responds

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For many years, fans have debated who would come out on top in a fantasy bout between Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali.

When discussing said debate himself, Iron Mike has stated that he believes Muhammad Ali would beat him if they were to have faced each other in the prime of their careers, as he's simply the best there ever has been.

Ali’s prime was arguably between 1964 and 1967, while Tyson’s may have been from 1987 to 1990.

Despite Tyson backing Ali himself, British heavyweight star Anthony Joshua feels differently.

During an JD Sports Instagram Live, Anthony Joshua argued, as per talkSPORT: “It’s quite interesting because in the era of Muhammad Ali’s heavyweight reign, the heavyweights were ranked as the cruiserweights of the Mike Tyson era.

"With Lennox Lewis, you know how they started getting bigger, hence why in the amateurs they then created a super-heavyweight division. The current heavyweight division in the amateurs is what we class as the cruiserweight division. So, Muhammad Ali wouldn’t have been a fully-fledged heavyweight.

So, let’s say we bulked Muhammad Ali up and put size and strength to him, I truly believe Mike Tyson would’ve won.

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"The reason being, when you watch the fight with Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, you see a certain Tyson-esque to Frazier’s style. Tyson used to study that Joe Frazier. The moving, the hooks. He managed to put Ali down in the fight, it was a very tough fight for Ali. And I just believe Mike Tyson was better schooled, times have evolved, Mike Tyson was more developed. More science, more information.

"So, I think that Mike Tyson would’ve won, in my humble opinion.”

Tyson replied via Yahoo Sports, saying: “I wouldn’t win the real fight. Ali’s the greatest there’s ever been.”

Tyson had a record of 50 wins and six losses, while Ali boasted 56 wins and five losses. However, Tyson’s knockout rate was superior, with 44 knockouts compared to 37.

Ali’s biggest wins included those against George Foreman, Joe Frazier (twice) and Sonny Liston. Tyson claimed victories against Michael Spinks, Trevor Berbick, Tony Tucker and Razor Ruddock.

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Tyson is often lauded amongst the greatest of all time by a huge proportion of fans, but most pundits have him down as just shy of the absolute best due to him failing several times in bouts against fighters of truly elite levels, such as Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. Ali certainly had the bigger wins in his career, with his greatest victories certainly eclipsing that of Tyson’s.

Tyson lost his trainer, friend, and father figure Cus D'Amato when he was still young and troubled with issues outside of the ring, and this had a huge impact on his career. His record would surely have been even better if D'Amato had been able to keep him away from distractions and negative situations. When Tyson was in his prime, he was devastating, with brutal, vicious knockouts and fantastic head movement.

Ali had legendary feet and head movement, an ability to avoid damage and superb shot placement and timing. Ali had a significant height and reach advantage over Tyson, however, Ali’s greater weight is purely down to his height, and Tyson would surely have a significant strength advantage, with more muscle packed onto his shorter frame.

Over the course of his career, it is difficult to include Tyson in the same bracket as Ali. However, the pure devastation Tyson caused in his prime would likely have made it a closer affair.

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Who is this heavyweight boxer?

Tyson’s humble assertion that Ali would win, will be in part due to his understanding of Ali’s greatness as a fighter and also his respect for his peer as a person, built up through many years of close friendship.

Anthony Joshua does make an excellent point about the progression of boxing as a sport. The development of techniques and greater knowledge imparted through better coaching, and fighter’s diets improving, give a boxer of Tyson’s generation a huge advantage.

These factors make it too difficult to pick a winner in what would undoubtedly be an all-time classic.

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