Retired former unified heavyweight champion Wladimir ‘Dr Steelhammer’ Klitschko has tipped Anthony Joshua 23-1 (21) to defeat Tyson Fury 30-0-1 (21) if the pair meet in a unification bout later this year.
Long-reigning world champion Klitschko was sensationally dethroned by Fury by 12-round unanimous decision in Germany in November 2015.
The Ukrainian giant was knocked out in 11 rounds by Joshua almost a year-and-a-half later and hasn’t fought since.
Joshua, 30, claimed the IBF title from American Charles Martin in 2016, added the WBA belt to his collection against Klitschko and annexed the WBO championship from New Zealander Joseph Parker two years ago.
Last month Fury became the WBC heavyweight champion with a stunning seventh-round knockout of dangerous puncher Deontay Wilder 42-1-1 (41). Fury had Wilder on the deck twice before the towel came in from the American’s corner.
Next up for Fury is an immediate rematch with Wilder in July, who enacted the immediate rematch clause in their contract. Joshua will face IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev on June 20.
Should both boxers win, there is a high likelihood the British rivals will meet in a mouth-watering four-belt heavyweight unification bout in December.
Klitschko, who retired with a record of 64-5 (53), believes Joshua will win.
“Styles make fights exciting or not. Joshua is a superior athlete, a great fighter, Olympic champion,” Klitschko told The National at the Milken Institute Summit Middle East and Africa Summit in Abu Dhabi.
“Most importantly, he’s a great guy. He carries the torch of this image of a heavyweight champion perfectly.
“I’m proud to call him a friend. Even though we were (enemies in the ring). And I think and I wish that eventually, Joshua is going to unify all of the belts. That’s the eventual plan.
“But until then, there’s going to be some bumps on the road. So let’s just lean back and enjoy it.”
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