Fury sent fresh warning by AJ’s sparring partner after ‘heavy rounds’

Anthony Joshua tells Tyson Fury he will be ‘ready in December’ for title fight

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Anthony Joshua’s sparring partner Richard Riakporhe believes the pressure is on Tyson Fury’s shoulders coming into the all-British showdown. The fast-rising cruiserweight contender has warned Fury about an ‘intensely focused’ AJ after exchanging leather with him in the ring.

A lot has been made about the potential mental implications of a second defeat to Oleksandr Usyk for Joshua coming into the Fury fight. But Riakporhe – who trains with AJ at Loughborough University under the watchful eye of Angel Fernandez – has noted that Joshua still has his hunger to compete.

The Midnight Train recalls how while he recovered after an exhausting sparring session with Joshua, the Watford powerhouse jumped back into the ring and started to shadow box – with one goal in his mind.

“For him to come back into the gym like a week, two weeks after the fight and just ready to go again and accepting another fight which is tough, it shows what type of man he is and what type of cloth he is cut from,” Riakporhe told Sky Sports.

“We sparred some heavy, heavy rounds, I promise you the public would have paid to see this. It was all guns blazing, nobody holding back and very exciting. It was really tough, this guy can hit hard and he’s just in that mould.

“After he finished sparring, I was exhausted, he jumped straight back in the ring and started to shadow box. You could just see that intense focus on his body language and his eyes.

“I don’t know about Tyson, Tyson is one of those people that may say a few things for a bit of attention, but we’re going to see if he’s really serious about taking this fight.”


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Fury and Joshua are set to square off on December 3 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. After so many years of being the A-side, a beltless Joshua comes into the fight as the underdog – something Riakporhe believes will only benefit him.

“Joshua definitely does not have anything to lose in this fight,” Riakporhe continued. “When I saw the fight and the possibility of it being finalised, I was like ‘take it, he should definitely take it’.

“When I saw the announcements, I was like ‘yes, that’s exactly what the public want them to do’ because he has absolutely nothing to lose. Whereas Fury is the champion, the Gypsy King and he’s trying to uphold this image, this persona and he’s been bantering AJ for a very very long time.

“I imagine if he jumped in the ring and loses against somebody, he’s been saying all types of different remarks about for many years, it’s going to be embarrassing to an extent, so he’s definitely got a lot of pressure, way more than AJ.”


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