ANTHONY JOSHUA has been backed to beat Tyson Fury – but only if he catches the Gypsy King cold.
Unified champion AJ, 30, and WBC king Fury, 32, verbally agreed to a two-fight deal earlier this year to secure a historic undisputed title decider in 2021.
And former world champion Tony Bellew has backed pal Joshua to win the Battle of Britain by early stoppage, but warns it is Fury’s game if the fight reaches the second half.
Bellew told The Gary Newbon Sports Show: “I think he would jump on Tyson Fury and I think he would catch him pretty quickly.
“But don’t get me wrong, if that fight was to go past four or five rounds, I think Anthony Joshua would find himself in an awful lot of trouble.
“He has to get rid of someone like Tyson Fury and solve that puzzle and enigma that is Tyson Fury quickly because the more fights go on against him the harder it becomes.”
Despite the double header agreement, it is subject to both champions winning their next fights.
Joshua faces mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, 39, while Fury rematches 34-year-old Deontay Wilder, the man he dethroned in February.
But further complications lie for the pair, as their respected mandatories threaten to scupper the mega-money unification.
Oleksandr Usyk is next in line for AJ’s WBO belt while Dillian Whyte was due for his shot at the WBC belt by next February – before his shock loss to Alexander Povetkin.
Prior to Whyte’s defeat, promoter Eddie Hearn claimed Whyte should take priority over Joshua in the pursuit for Fury’s title.
Hearn told Boxing Social: “We don’t want the WBC to make Fury ‘franchise’ champion. Let him take care of his mandatory just like Joshua’s taking care of his.
“We don’t want to be elevated from ‘interim’ champ. He wants to fight the champion, he wants to fight Fury.
“Dillian Whyte actually has to take priority, in my opinion, over Anthony Joshua, to get that shot. We will do everything we can to deliver that.”