Anthony Joshua must develop new skills before facing Tyson Fury

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Anthony Joshua has become a sought after heavyweight in 2016, having overcome Dillian Whyte back in December - in the toughest fight of his career to that point - before going on secure his first world title against American Charles Martin.

And with the IBF belt securely around his waist, the likes of David Haye, Joseph Parker, Dillian Whyte, again, Deontay Wilder and Wladimir Klitschko have all sounded the Watford-born fighter out. But no fight would be any bigger or more career defining than Tyson Fury, and it would require the 26-year-old to hone new skills, also.

The 6ft 9in Mancunian currently holds the WBA and WBO World heavyweight belts, after inflicting a shock defeat on heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf, late last year. And it would hand Joshua the opportunity of a lifetime, if the two Brits come together for a domestic showdown, soon.


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There have been few boxers like Fury, if any, when you weigh up his pros and cons - with his loud mouth the only blemish to an otherwise, dazzling professional career, to date. And he would present himself as the biggest task for Joshua, when taking into consideration both of the heavyweights' most recent fights.

As expected, Joshua retained his IBF belt against American Dominic Breazeale on Saturday night, despite being taken the joint furthest in his professional career - having to wait until the seventh round for a knockout victory - but, again, fans left the O2 Arena knowing much bigger tests are to come.

Joshua's Californian opponent was unable to offer much more than numerous body shots to the heavyweight champion and a solid chin, while the Watford fighter moved in for the kill when he sensed the chance in the seventh round. And before the fight, he vowed to be more mobile in the ring, as he continuously critiques his own performance - despite a perfect career record to date.

It is fair to say he did that, however, if Fury was in the opposite corner, Joshua would have far much more practice to do on his footwork. In fact, it was largely Fury's footwork that frustrated Klitschko, when they met in November last year.

The 27-year-old doesn't have the legs of someone of his stature - in fact, they don't look built for a many who weighs 247 lbs - but that is to his advantage. Consistently on the move in the ring, dictating his opponent and trying to lure them in - Joshua would face a whole new test, like never before.

The IBF belt holder would have to keep up with Fury, in order to showcase his skills he has developed in the past eight years or so. There would also be a need to dictate Fury's movements, as any chance of dominating the Gypsy King is reliant on putting him in his place and keeping him there, in order for Joshua to get the chance to offload some lethal combinations.

Complete package

But it will take more than fancy footwork if the two Brits do meet in the ring in the next year or so; Joshua will need to be the complete package to equip himself well enough to defeat Fury.

Joshua's power is the first attribute any boxing fan will associate with the 26-year-old - as exemplified by his successive knockout victories, including Saturday's knockout of his biggest opponent to date, in Breazeale - but Fury could ruin the former Olympian's unblemished professional career.

Every boxing fan loves a rivalry - as showcased between Joshua and Fury on Twitter in recent months - but while most fighters do their psychological damage to their opponents outside of the ring, the Lancashire fighter likes to do his inside the ring, also.

Dropping his guard against a heavyweight who had not tasted defeat in 11 years, while bouncing his 6ft 9in frame around the ring, Fury won his battle against Klitschko by enticing the Ukrainian in and countered when he was exposed. 

Ruthless mentality

But Joshua is not used to this kind of fighter - in fact, not many are - and continuing his career with a ruthless mentality would be the best way for the Watford man to defeat Fury. Going for the knockout when the opportunity arises - and for Joshua's sake, hopefully early on - would be the Olympic gold medalist's best, but most risky, chance of success, with Fury having proven that, when required, he is more than happy to take the bout the distance.

Fury boasts a single KO more than Joshua (18), however, his 72% knockout rate doesn't compare to Joshua's 100% record, and that, in fact, indicates potentially the best way for Joshua to stop the world champion.

If the Mancunian can, again, claim victory over Klitschko to retain his world title belts, then it seems inevitable that himself and Joshua will meet in the ring sooner rather than later, to unify their belts.

Joshua would face the man that poses the biggest threat to him losing his belt, but would be presented with the opportunity to be the belt holder of the IBF, WBA and WBO belts, just like the great Wladimir Klitschko once was.

The 26-year-old has reiterated his willingness to fight any heavyweight at any venue. But fighting Fury would risk everything he has worked so hard for, so far. Is it too soon to fight Fury? His record doesn't suggest so, and neither does he or his team, or promoter Eddie Hearn doubt it, for that matter. However, the outcome of this potential fight could be dictated by both fighter's movement, as much as punch power.

Could Anthony Joshua defeat current WBA and WBO heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury? Have your say in the comment box below.

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