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Fight fans sensing heavyweight history

By MURRAY GREIG | China Daily | Updated: 2020-06-15 09:23
Tyson Fury knocks down Deontay Wilder during the fight in Las Vegas, US, Feb 22, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Fury vs Joshua betting earning comparisons to 'Thrilla in Manila'

Within days of being unofficially confirmed, an all-British heavyweight super-fight is already generating the biggest buzz among boxing bettors in nearly half a century.

On June 10, lineal champion Tyson Fury announced on social media that an agreement has been reached for a showdown against unified titleholder Anthony Joshua in mid-2021-though the exact date and venue have not been finalized.

By the weekend, bookmakers were favoring Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), even though he will likely first have to survive a third bout with Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), which is projected to take place this fall.

Fury opened at-200 (bet $200 to win back another $100), according to Oddschecker.com, while Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) was at +175(bet $100 to win another $175).

"It's been a dream fight for a number of years, which at times looked unlikely to happen, especially through Fury's struggles with his personal demons and AJ's loss to Andy Ruiz," Pete Watt, spokesman for Oddschecker.com, told Boxingscene.com.

This marks the first time that Joshua, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, is listed as a betting underdog. A 33-1 favorite going into his KO loss to Andy Ruiz Jr last June, he was a 3-1 pick to win their December rematch, in which he regained the IBF, WBO and WBA crowns by unanimous decision.

Joshua is next due to face IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs), with unbeaten Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs), the WBO's No 1 contender, waiting in the wings for his overdue title shot.

But betting action on Joshua vs Fury is already creating comparisons to the 1975 "Thrilla in Manila" between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier-and the early indication is that Fury is the clear favorite.

"It's the 'People's Champion' Tyson Fury who has been most backed since the market opened, taking 61 percent of bets compared with just 36 percent for AJ and 3 percent for the draw," said Watt.

Odds for a draw opened at+2800 according to Fox Bet, but were quickly bet down to+2500.

In his Instagram announcement, Fury, who reclaimed the lineal championship and the WBC title with a brutal seventh-round stoppage of Wilder in their rematch on Feb 22, raised some eyebrows by thanking Daniel Kinahan for "getting this deal over the line".

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