There are two fights in which Tyson Fury will find no equal, according to one of his most loved predecessors. In the estimation of Frank Bruno, Anthony Joshua would have about as slim a hope against Fury down the line as Deontay Wilder will this weekend.
The first of those names would get ‘schooled’ in a battle of Britain, should it ever happen, and Fury can be expected to win by stoppage over Wilder.
They are forthright predictions from Bruno, who seems to have lost none of the power from his jab ahead of his 60th birthday next month.
Of the task awaiting Fury on Saturday in Las Vegas, when the WBC world champion will fight Wilder for a third time after a win and a draw, Bruno said: ‘Wilder is a very dangerous and hard puncher. Don’t get stupid because this guy’s got pure power but nothing else. I think Tyson’s got it under control. Tyson Fury will knock him out.’
Boxing icon Frank Bruno (left) expects Tyson Fury (right) to overcome Deontay Wilder
Joshua will fare little better against Fury, in Bruno’s view.
He said: ‘Tyson Fury is much better than people give him credit for. He could go on a night out, get up in the morning and fight 20 rounds because that’s how he’s built. He’s got more determination, more character. Boxing-wise Tyson would school Joshua, twist him up.’
He added: ‘Joshua has a lot of “yes” people around him. As long as he keeps it low down, builds, he can get his belts back. I was shocked to see him get beat like that (by Oleksandr Usyk last month).’ With Fury, Bruno has found common ground between fighting and mental health, so it is perhaps no surprise to hear him speak so favourably about a 33-year-old who divides opinion.
While there is little disputing that Fury is currently the best fighter in the heavyweight division, his reputation has suffered from his past comments and ban for an anti-doping violation.
Bruno insists ‘Wilder is a very dangerous and hard puncher’ – but says he has ‘nothing else’
Joshua will fare little better against Fury in a Battle of Britain superfight, in Bruno’s view
Indeed, Sportsmail understands he remains the subject of an investigation from UK Anti-Doping over claims that a member of his team offered a farmer £25,000 to provide a false alibi for his failed drugs test in 2015.
But in Bruno he has a strong supporter. In a video released this month, they spoke candidly about their mutual struggles with mental health and it was concerning on that front to learn that Bruno was sectioned in June 2020, during the first lockdown.
But he has declared himself well again, saying: ‘It is very important to speak out about mental health. A lot of people are in trouble. When they are in trouble they are scared, they won’t let anybody know they are going through it because there are a lot of bullies out there who can be very vicious, very nasty.
‘It’s good to chat and get it off your plate and explain to people. Please don’t feel bad, come to someone, talk to someone.
‘It’s great that Tyson talks so openly. He is talking seriously and being honest. He is not watering it down. He is speaking from the heart.
‘I totally understand it, when you can’t get out of bed. You feel lethargic, you’ve had a bad day.
‘You were following him when he was going crazy and he lost it a little bit. It was a bad time. Just imagine him taking off 10 stone like he did. He persevered.’
Fury is the favourite for his latest rematch with Wilder, based on his seven-round demolition of the American in 2020.
By crushing the former champion so emphatically, he earned the same WBC belt briefly held by Bruno 25 years earlier, and the forthcoming challenge, as recognised by Fury himself, will be in ensuring he avoids the same difficulties in retirement.
Tyson Fury (left) and Frank Bruno (right) opened up on their struggles with mental health
Bruno painted a stark reality of what might lie ahead, saying: ‘When I finished with boxing, that’s when George Francis my trainer said, “That’s when the fight starts”.
‘When you have finished with the training, you’re not coming down the gym, you’re not keeping up to your routine, something flips. You get upset very quickly and you can be a not very nice person to be around.’
He added: ‘Tyson has a good family behind him, a good dad that doesn’t take no nonsense. If he gets out of order they give him a kick up the backside.’