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Tyson Fury has made feelings clear on potential opponent who 'couldn't lace my boots'

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Tyson Fury has made his thoughts on a fight with Joe Joyce very clear, saying: "I don't think he could lace my boots up."

Fury suffered the first defeat of his professional boxing career against Oleksandr Usyk last month. The 35-year-old lost by split decision, having suffered a brutal onslaught at the hands of the Ukrainian in the ninth round, where he was saved by the bell.

The former WBC champion will look to avenge his loss on December 21, when they will once again battle in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Fury’s future after the undisputed clash remains unclear, with the outcome likely to shape his decisions thereafter.

He insisted he would only retire from boxing once he no longer loves it after the crushing defeat, potentially paving the way for other blockbuster bouts. And he listed Joyce back in April as one of 10 potential opponents he could face ahead of the Usyk fight.

He said: “I’ll do Usyk, Usyk (again). AJ (Anthony Joshua), AJ. That’s four. Then I might back a Daniel Dubois in or a Joe Joyce. Joseph Parker. Maybe Deontay Wilder. Maybe a European guy and a trilogy with Usyk afterwards.”

Fury and Joyce know each other very well from their time sparring. Joyce trained with the Gypsy King for two weeks ahead of his first fight with Wilder in Big Bear, California.

Despite rumours that Joyce gave Fury problems and even dropped him, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist admitted neither of them were knocked out during their meeting. Fury went on to record two wins and a draw over Wilder, while Joyce emphatically knocked out Parker in September 2022.

Joyce called out Fury immediately after the Parker win, but the at-the-time WBC holder was unimpressed with his former sparring partner's display. "He wouldn’t land one punch on me in 12 rounds,” Fury said of Joyce.

Tyson Fury offered to train Joe Joyce [L] before his second defeat to Zhilei Zhang (
Image:
Getty Images)

“I don’t think he could hit me with a f***ing handful of rice. He’s a big man, but I’m bigger. He’s heavy, but I’m heavier. He’s a good fighter, but I’m the best in the world for a reason.

“I think he beats Anthony Joshua, I think he beats the middleweight [Oleksandr Usyk]. He might have a problem with Deontay Wilder’s speed and power, and I don’t think he could lace my boots up - there’s no shame in that.”

He dramatically changed his tune just days later in a video posted on social media, where he proclaimed Joyce the second-greatest heavyweight boxer in the world. “I’ve changed my mind,” Fury said.

“I’ve got to say, big Joe Joyce is the second-best heavyweight in the world behind myself. On his day, given his moment, who knows if he would beat me or not. I think we’d have to find out."

Fury, Joyce and Usyk would go on to have a three-way stand-off in the ring in December 2022 after Fury's win over Derek Chisora. Having called the Ukrainian a "gap-toothed sausage," Fury described Joyce as a "warrior" after the 38-year-old climbed into the ring to call him out.

The pair went back and forth, excitedly stating they would also put on a show the following year at Wembley. Fury only fought former MMA champion Francis Ngannou in 2023, narrowly beating the Cameroonian by split decision.

Ahead of Joyce’s rematch with Zhilei Zhang in September 2023 - where he was knocked out in the third round - Fury offered to assist his rival. The Gypsy King claimed he knew the secret to beating Zhang, demanding a sum of £100,000 to share his knowledge.

Joyce and Fury squared off in the ring in December 2022 (
Image:
talkSPORTBoxing/Youtube)

He said: "Joe I saw you've got the Zhang fight coming up again, if you want some proper southpaw sparring from someone who's bigger, fatter, quicker, harder puncher, everything than Zhang, then please come up to Morecambe and do some sparring with me.

"It can only improve it, it will make it better and trust me on this, I've got a secret for you and I know how to beat that Zhang. Chop him down like an old oak tree. The offer is there Joe, get yourself down to Morecambe Bay and do as many rounds as you want with myself.”

Joyce revealed he had declined the offer, calling Fury’s services “overpriced” and saying: “Number one, £10,000 a round is not really worth it. And then, number two, I have already sparred him.”

He went on to say he sees Fury as a future opponent, adding: “I know it would be good preparation but that would be a fight I want to take as my next fight or my next couple of fights. I don't want to go and give him all of my tactics. It's just a bad idea to go and spar someone you are going to fight.” Joyce’s last fight came in March, where he knocked out Kash Ali in round 10 of their Birmingham bout.

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