Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury will meet this summer time in an undisputed world heavyweight title battle.
The mega bout – which may have the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO belts on the road – will comfortably smash all data for pay-per-view gross sales and fighter earnings within the UK, and can show to be an occasion not like something the nation has ever seen earlier than.
Nevertheless, when the pair first met for a sparring session at Finchley Beginner Boxing Membership again in 2010, this might not have appeared additional away.
Right here’s how their rivalry began and the way they lastly got here to satisfy…
When Fury and Joshua first met to spar, Tyson was a growing younger professional, whereas AJ was a novice newbie.
Talking a number of weeks after the session, Fury instructed BBC London about Joshua: “He’s crimson sizzling, him, he’s superb. To be trustworthy with you, I believed to myself, ‘I’m solely going to take it straightforward as he’s an newbie and we in all probability gained’t spar once more if I’m going mad.’
“He’s rushed out at me, he threw a one-two and left-hook and I slipped. I believed, ‘He’s not that good, I’m going to take my time.’
“Then bash, he provides me a giant uppercut proper on the purpose of the chin.
“If I’d have had a little bit of a weak chin like David Value, I’d have been knocked out for a month.
“He’s very, superb and he’s solely younger, 20, be careful for that identify – Anthony Joshua – he’s one prospect for the long run.’”
Two years later, Joshua proved that prediction proper by successful super-heavyweight gold on the London 2012 Olympics.
Fury was nonetheless a distance forward of him when it comes to profession development although, as he was 20-Zero as a professional and had gained the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles by beating Dereck Chisora the 12 months earlier than.
Fury lastly broke by on the world stage by upsetting Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous choice in a surprising end in Dusseldorf.
He grew to become unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion and was catapulted into stardom in a single day, whereas AJ watched on again residence within the UK.
A month later, Joshua reached British and Commonwealth title degree when he knocked out Dillian Whyte to go 15-Zero as a professional.
It was from this level on that he was eyed as the right future opponent for a UK tremendous battle with Fury.
Boxing politics noticed Fury stripped of his IBF title quickly after successful it, and this opened up a chance for AJ.
Little-known American Charles Martin picked up the vacant belt and agreed to defend it in opposition to Joshua within the UK.
It took Fury three years to progress from British degree to world titles, whereas AJ caught up massively by making that bounce in his very subsequent battle.
The danger paid off completely as Joshua KOd Martin in two rounds and, impulsively, Britain had two reigning heavyweight world champions.
This didn’t final lengthy although as Fury’s life spiralled uncontrolled.
Psychological well being points and drink/drug abuse noticed him declared medically unfit to battle and his rematch with Wladimir Klitschko was cancelled in consequence.
There was additionally a difficulty that arose with UKAD (UK Anti-Doping), who charged Fury over elevated ranges of nandrolone which registered in a earlier medicine check.
With Fury gone from the game, his two different belts – the WBA and WBO – have been vacated and Klitschko was left in search of a route again to being champion once more.
Issues all aligned because the WBA sanctioned Joshua vs Klitschko for his or her vacant belt, in addition to AJ’s IBF crown.
In a dramatic, historic battle in entrance of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium, Joshua knocked out Klitschko to assert each belts.
He subsequently known as out Fury in his post-fight interview – the primary time both of them had instantly known as out the opposite.
Sadly for followers who wished to see the bout, Fury weighed round 25 stone (350lbs) on the time.
This all modified the next 12 months although, as Fury began on the comeback path.
He cleared up his points with UKAD by a compromise settlement which noticed him given a backdated ban which means he was free to return to the ring.
In the meantime, AJ picked up the WBO belt by beating Joseph Parker – he now held all three of Fury’s outdated titles.
Fury started his comeback with two underwhelming fights in opposition to lesser opposition.
At this level Joshua was focusing on the fourth and last heavyweight belt owned by Deontay Wilder.
Nevertheless, negotiations descended right into a petty farce and the battle collapsed.
Out of nowhere, Fury then agreed to battle Wilder as an alternative and was unlucky to not come away with the title because the battle was a controversial draw.
The highest heavyweights went their separate methods the next 12 months, however a deal was finished for Fury and Wilder to satisfy once more in 2020.
This was a blow for Joshua, who then misplaced to Andy Ruiz Jr earlier than avenging this defeat within the rematch.
In direction of the top of the 12 months, the pair shared a FaceTime dialog which was caught on digicam as a part of an ITV documentary.
Within the clip, Joshua requested Fury: “When are we preventing?”
Fury laughed and replied: “When are we preventing? Behave your self.”
AJ appropriately predicted: “It feels like 2021.”
Earlier than Fury concluded: “I solely known as you as much as say hi there.”
Fury sensationally knocked out Wilder initially of 2020, which means that he and Joshua each reigned as heavyweight champions once more, identical to in 2016.
This time although, there have been no different belt-holders and so a battle between them for the undisputed championship grew to become inevitable.
Whereas the coronavirus pandemic introduced the game to a halt, it didn’t impression negotiations for a showdown.
For the primary time, Joshua and Fury’s representatives entered talks and agreed monetary phrases for a two-fight deal in 2021.
The pair then met in particular person in Marbella and had their first face-to-face dialog in a decade.
Fury wished AJ luck in his battle with Kubrat Pulev, which the champion gained by knockout to spherical off the 12 months.
Following Joshua’s win over Pulev, talks ramped as much as finalise a deal.
This has now been accomplished and Joshua vs Fury is formally set to happen for the undisputed WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO heavyweight championship of the world.