Anthony Joshua ISN’T an elite level heavyweight – Bob Arum

Tyson Fury’s promoter Bob Arum views Anthony Joshua as less talented as Dillian Whyte, and he says he’ll be the next heavyweight that he’ll be looking to have Tyson fight once he’s finished with his trilogy match with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder later this year.

Arum sees a victory for Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) this weekend over Wilder as a foregone conclusion, and he’s already planning for the trilogy fight between them in September. The two heavyweights are already under contract to face each other in a trilogy match anyway, and he’s confident that fight will go ahead without a hitch. However, the loser of this Saturday night’s Wilder-Fury II rematch can always choose to pull the plug and not take the trilogy fight, but Arum doesn’t believe that’ll happen.

The loser for this Saturday’s fight will get 40% of the purse for the trilogy match, and the winner 60%. Arum thinks that’s a great deal because he’s optimistic that Fury will be the one that has his hand raised this Saturday.

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“As far as Joshua is concerned, the only people that think Joshua is an elite heavyweight are the Brits,” said Arum to Sky Sports Boxing. “He isn’t. Andy Ruiz is a good heavyweight, but he’s not a top tier fighter. Any fighter that gets knocked out by Andy Ruiz is NOT an elite level fighter, despite what Eddie Hearns keeps mouthing about.

“First of all, there won’t be an Anthony Joshua after June when he fights Pulev, and I mean that seriously, Andy Ruiz is an OK fighter. He doesn’t compare with a Pulev, who is bigger, stronger, more mobile, and will be in shape. Andy Ruiz really wasn’t in shape for the first fight [with Joshua], and no less for the second fight.

“So I think Pulev is going to beat Joshua, then maybe we can keep talking about Dillian Whyte, who really is a good fighter. Not if Anthony Joshua loses to Kubrat Pulev it won’t,” said Arum when asked if a fight between Fury and Joshua will STILL make money even if AJ loses to Pulev. “I’m telling you that’s going to happen,” said Arum.

Hopefully, Arum isn’t betting his house on the 38-year-old Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) beating Joshua when the two face each other in London in the summer. Arum brings up Andy Ruiz Jr. as an example to prove that Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) isn’t an elite level heavyweight, but that a special case. Joshua seemed like he underestimated Ruiz in their first fight last June, and went for the finish too soon after dropping him in the third.

As we all know, Ruiz took advantage of Joshua’s carelessness by clipping him with a big left hook that wobbled him. The rest is history. Ruiz ended up dropping Joshua 4 times before the fight was stopped in the 7th. Pulev isn’t a big puncher like Ruiz, and he’s not fast of hand. Moreover, Pulev doesn’t throw combinations the way Ruiz does.

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“I really think if Dillian Whyte keeps fighting and keeps winning, he should be next after that trilogy occurs. I think that would be appropriate. Everyone knows it’s a three-fight deal [between Wilder and Fury]. The loser may pull the plug, but then Dillian Whyte should be next up,” said Arum.

The World Boxing Council has already mandated that Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) be given a title shot, as the WBC mandatory, in 2021. Whyte still needs to win his fights in 2020 against Alexander Povetkin next, and whoever comes after that. We won’t know if Whyte will be challenging for the WBC world title until after this year, and there’s a chance he could lose. 40-year-old Pulev may do the job on Whyte when the two face each other on April 25 or May 2. Those are the two dates that Matchroom has for that fight.

“I don’t care about the world title belt,” said Arum when asked how important it is that Fury win a world title belt. “I want him to win [against Wilder], and go into the third fight with the 60% rather than the 40%. 60% is better than [getting] 40%, so that’s what I like. It’ll be before the fall,” said Arum when asked when the trilogy fight between Wilder and Fury will take place. Certainly not later than September,” said Arum.