Tyson Fury’s promoter claims that Anthony Joshua is not among boxing’s elite heavyweights following his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr.
Joshua suffered a devastating defeat by the American back in 2019, when he was floored four times before eventually being defeated in the seventh round.
In response to the defeat Joshua won a return bout six months later to win back his WBA, IBF, WBO AND IBO titles.
However, Bob Arum still believes the initial defeat carries a scar, and that it has damaged Joshua’s reputation, having labelled Ruiz a ‘non-puncher’.
‘I’m not thrilled with Joshua’ he told journalist Gareth A Davies via the Sun.
‘I don’t think much of Joshua, because every time the name Joshua is mentioned, I see him laying on the canvas after getting hit by a non-puncher like Andy Ruiz.
‘I’m telling you the truth. I may be underestimating Joshua, but I’m not convinced that Joshua is an elite heavyweight.’
A bout between Fury and Joshua would be one of the most highly anticipated clashes in recent times and an August 14 meeting in the Middle East looked set to be confirmed before it was abandoned late on.
This was due to Deontay Wilder winning his bid to set up a trilogy clash with Fury.
Arum had been working with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn on trying to schedule a fight between their British stars, in a unified bout with Fury defending the WBC belt.
Joshua will now face Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25 to defend his titles, a fortnight before Fury travels to Nevada to face Wilder, who he defeated in his last bout back in February last year.
Should both stars win, Arum is ready to resume negotiations with Hearn, although he stated the bout between Wilder and Fury is a bigger deal in the States.
Arum said: ‘This is no disrespect to him, Anthony Joshua means next to nothing in the United States with the boxing community.
‘All they remember of Anthony Joshua is his one fight in the United States where he got knocked out by a non-puncher like Andy Ruiz, that view of Anthony Joshua will not change easily.
‘So, if Anthony Joshua fought Tyson Fury in the United States, it wouldn’t do nearly as well as Tyson Fury’s upcoming fight with Deontay Wilder.
‘He’s not a personality, he doesn’t come through to the US public.
‘It may very well be different the way he connects with the UK public, but he doesn’t connect with the American public.
‘They don’t know who he is or what he stands for – they know nothing about him.’
Although a Fury/Joshua bout would still work in Arum’s financial interests, the promoter has admitted he will be rooting for close pal Usyk when he faces Joshua in north London.
Victory for the Ukrainian would severely damage hopes of a Joshua/Fury bout, despite Joshua having the option of a rematch.
Arum told Sky Sports: ‘Usyk is a friend of mine because he is Vasiliy Lomachenko’s friend,’ Arum told Sky Sports.
‘He is a terrific guy, funny, articulate and smart. It is against my economic interest, but I will be rooting for him in the fight! I just can’t help myself.’