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Joshua v Fury: Numbers behind the big fight

| 18.05.2021

This epic clash, originally set for August 14 in Saudi Arabia, has been delayed because of a court ruling which means Tyson Fury must fight Deontay Wilder for a third time.

It’s only a matter of time before they meet, though,so we’ve taken a look at the numbers behind what is set to be the biggest fight in British boxing history.

This won’t be the first time that they’ve stepped into a ring together, having sparred way back in 2010 when  Fury was an emerging pro and an amateur Anthony Joshua was two years away from winning Olympic gold.

The session lasted for three rounds and the two men have different recollections of what happened, but by all accounts the inexperienced Joshua gave a surprisingly good account of himself and impressed Fury, who is the 8/15 favourite to win the bout.

The story so far

Both fighters have come a long way since then and have taken different paths to the pinnacle of the modern sport.

Two years earlier in 2008, Fury was deemed not to be ready for Team GB’s 2008 Olympic squad. Rather than wait four years for another shot, he decided to turn professional and won his first fight with a first- round knockout later that year.

Nine months later in September 2009 he was English heavyweight champion and less than two years after that he defeated Dereck Chisora to claim the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles.

Meanwhile, Joshua won the ABA championships in 2010 but turned down the chance to turn professional and was rewarded with a gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012. By this point, Fury had already won 19 professional fights without defeat.

Joshua finally left the amateur ranks in the wake of his Olympic success and also marked his professional debut with a first-round knockout in October 2013. A year later, he won his first belt in the WBC international heavyweight division.

One month afterwards, in November 2014, Fury beat Chisora again to claim three more belts, setting him on the path to a match against the legendary Wladimir Klitschko. A year later he would stun the boxing world by defeating the Ukrainian and become the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion.

However Fury’s reign would be short-lived as he was forced to vacate his titles, spending over two and a half years out of the ring. In the meantime, Joshua would also take on and defeat Klitschko, and by March 2018 held all of Fury’s former heavyweight belts.

Three months later, Fury returned to the ring but took a while to return to his best form. A draw against Deontay Wilder in December 2018 was corrected with a convincing victory last February that gained him possession of the WBC heavyweight title.

Joshua suffered a setback of his own, losing his belts to underdog Andy Ruiz Jr in one of boxing’s greatest ever upsets in June 2019 before winning them back in a rematch at the end of the year, coincidentally in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua v Fury: How long will it last?

A look at both boxers’ previous 12-round fights suggest the seventh round could be pivotal, as six of them have been stopped here. This includes Fury’s most recent match and two of Joshua’s last four. However there’s a good chance that these two will give us a full 12 rounds, as this has happened in three of Fury’s last five outings and two of Joshua’s last five.

To break down their fighting styles, we’ve analysed the data from their three most recent fights which lasted at least six rounds.

Fury throws more punches

Fury has thrown more punches over this period – an average of 40.2 per round – which means that he has attempted to strike his opponent almost a third more frequently than Joshua’s 30.7.

Joshua more accurate

A higher proportion of the punches thrown by Joshua reach their target – 31.4% to Fury’s 27.7% – but the latter’s work rate means that he hits his opponent more often per round: 11.1 times to Joshua’s 9.6.

Who hits harder: Joshua or Fury?

Almost six in every 10 punches that Joshua has landed have been jabs, which explains his greater accuracy. Meanwhile an even larger proportion of Fury’s connections have been via power punches: a whopping 64.6% to Joshua’s 41.9%.

Third round could be explosive

On average, both fighters have started slowly but connect with far more punches during round three. Both have connected with fewer than seven punches per round at the start of their recent contests, but are comfortably in double figures by the end of the third round.

Fury to pile on pressure

On average, each of Fury’s first six rounds has seen him throw more punches than the last, rising from 30 in round one to 48 by the sixth. Meanwhile, Joshua has peaked in round three with an average of 39 but then dropped back into the 20s as he looks to conserve energy.



Warren Barner