British boxing legend Ricky Hatton is convinced his friend Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua are destined to fight – particularly after it was revealed the pair regularly trade verbal blows over the phone.
Joshua, now in camp for his forthcoming rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr, revealed last week he’d been taking calls from a goading Fury.
The Gypsy King, currently in Las Vegas ahead of his fight with Otto Wallin this weekend, then confirmed they’ve been having a bit of ‘back and forth’ which generally ended in them both promising to knock the other out.
It’s all amused the ‘Hitman’, who knows Fury well. The big heavyweight is a regular feature at Hatton’s fitness centre in Hyde.
“He went to Las Vegas early to acclimatise, so he’s not been in the gym a great deal for this camp,” Hatton told talkSPORT. “But he says this is the gym he calls home. Billy Joe Saunders, Ben Davison, Isaac Lowe – they also call this their gym now.
“Obviously the stuff with Tyson, when he’s phoning from over there, it’s the early hours of the morning for AJ, I keep thinking, ‘AJ – why do you keep answering the phone? If you’re thinking it’s that idiot Tyson again, then put the phone on silent!’
“But you know, AJ’s got a good sense of humour too and we all know what Tyson’s like. On his own, he’ll be having a quiet little chuckle to himself. That’s Tyson all over.
“Hopefully, he [Joshua] can get those belts back off Ruiz – which will be a tough ask, but he’s very capable of doing it – and then Tyson can obviously beat the Swedish heavyweight [Wallin] on Saturday.
“Then hopefully he beats Wilder in the New Year and then our dream as British fight fans would be for AJ to fight Tyson in the summer. I think that would be great.”
Hatton was in the corner for Fury’s epic draw with Wilder last December, but with a busy gym and other factors, he’ll be watching on the TV this weekend.
“I can’t make the trip this time,” he said. “My girlfriend booked a trip for us weeks and weeks ago. I daren’t cancel that or she’d hang me from the nearest tree! I’d have loved to have gone with Tyson, it’s just bad timing.
“He should be OK with the opponent, get a good win again then get the Wilder fight early in the new year.”
Meanwhile, fun and games involving another heavyweight have also caught the Hitman’s eye this week.
Derek Chisora was at his most unpredictable and slightly unhinged best at the press conference to announce his forthcoming fight with Joseph Parker.
The British heavyweight wasn’t impressed with playing second fiddle to the main event – Josh Taylor v Regis Prograis – and made his feelings known with a spectacular rant.
“Chisora’s the master of press conferences, isn’t he!” continued Hatton. “He’s turned tables up, he’s cracked people – everything like that.
“He wasn’t happy about not being top of the bill and maybe he has a little bit of a case.
“He’s in London, he had that great win last time out, he’s a bit of a name himself in London.
“Josh Taylor’s top of the bill and I’m a big Josh Taylor fan, but I can probably see his [Chisora’s] point. It’s just Delboy being Delboy! Derek’s certainly entertaining in the ring and he’s just as entertaining out of the ring.
“Josh Taylor’s a world champion though and that’s the top and bottom of it. You know, it might just keep Derek happy to give him joint top of the bill to stop him having a moan.”
Hatton himself wasn’t shy of saying a few outrageous things at press conferences back in his world title fighting days. A clip of his infamous speech at Manchester Town Hall to promote his mega fight with Floyd Mayweather has been doing the rounds on social media again this week.
“They never told me it was going live [on Sky] so I was using a few expletives!” he laughed. “A lot of people said I was over the top, but they weren’t with me for the three weeks I was in America with the clown [Mayweather] – know what I mean!
“We were in his hometown in Michigan, then Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and it was all, ‘Ricky Hatton I’m going to do this and do that and knock you out’.
“I thought, ‘Wait until I get you to Manchester – you can have a little bit there!’ He didn’t like it! He was laughing at the start, by the end of it…
“Oscar De La Hoya phoned me up when they were on the train going back to London and said Floyd was going absolutely raving mad! He’d slated me for three weeks in America, so I just thought, nah – you can have it back now you clown! Good times and happy days!”