TONY BELLEW hailed Tyson Fury as the No1 heavyweight in the world – but still backs Anthony Joshua to beat the Gypsy King.
The heavyweight champions are neck and neck at the moment with Britain in possession of the four major world title belts.
After Fury, 32, dethroned Deontay Wilder, 35, of the WBC crown in February 2020, it set him up to face WBA, IBF and WBO king AJ in a historic undisputed title decider.
And 38-year-old Bellew, who twice beat David Haye at heavyweight, admits the Gypsy King must be recognised as the division's top dog but still thinks Joshua's style leads him to victory against his rival.
He told Mark Wright on Instagram Live in May 2020: “The top three heavyweights today, if you’re going on what they’re actually doing, you can’t really knock Tyson Fury for what he’s doing since he’s come back.
"I understand why people have him No1.
“I have to put Fury No1, but I still think AJ beats him. Styles make fights, and I think AJ’s style is all wrong for Fury.
"I think he would catch Fury. He’s so relentless, so powerful, so athletically explosive and dynamic. I don’t think Fury could keep him off.”
The heavyweight kings were set to be given one last hurdle before they can try to unify against each other in a blockbuster 2021 fight.
Joshua, 31, fights Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev on Saturday – three years after the match-up was first scheduled – while Fury was due to fight Wilder in a trilogy bout but both that and a December homecoming have been scrapped.
Wilder twice dropped Fury in their first fight in 2018, but was unable to force the knockout and was fortunate to walk away with a draw.
But Bellew reckons Joshua – who was was dubbed a better boxer than Fury by Evander Holyfield – can learn from Wilder's mistakes and not allow the Gypsy King to get back to his feet.
He explained: “Deontay Wilder isn’t technically sound enough to get himself in position to punish Tyson Fury. To take into consideration is Anthony Joshua is an Olympic gold medalist, and he’s technically sound. He’s not the finished article, and he’s still improving.
"He’s so much more of a well-rounded boxer than Deontay Wilder. If Deontay Wilder is able to have the best version of Tyson Fury on the floor and out on his feet, then believe you me, Anthony Joshua will not let him off the hook.
“He’s probably the most ruthless finisher in the heavyweight division. “People say, ‘You’re AJ’s friend.’ I’ve known Tyson longer than AJ. So it’s no bias. It’s just me giving my opinion."
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