Home News Tyson Fury made lighter work of Dillian Whyte, but Anthony Joshua stopped...

Tyson Fury made lighter work of Dillian Whyte, but Anthony Joshua stopped Otto Wallin after he hurt the Gypsy King… how will AJ handle Francis Ngannou just months after he ALMOST beat his heavyweight rival?

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Anthony Joshua is just one week away from facing Francis Ngannou in a huge crossover clash in Saudi Arabia with his career on the line.

Joshua cannot afford a loss if he wants to achieve his dream of becoming a three-time heavyweight champion, and he is unlikely to take Ngannou lightly after the former UFC heavyweight king pushed Tyson Fury all the way in October.

Ngannou will be the fifth mutual opponent that Joshua and Fury have taken on, and he may be the most dangerous given his remarkable punching power.

But how have the British pair dealt with the previous four foes that they have in common?

Mail Sport has taken a look at who impressed more ahead of what promises to be a huge week for the heavyweight division in the Middle East.

Anthony Joshua is set to face Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia next week

Anthony Joshua is set to face Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia next week

Ngannou pushed Tyson Fury all the way when they squared off just four months ago

Ngannou pushed Tyson Fury all the way when they squared off just four months ago

Kevin Johnson 

Fury met the brash-talking American Kevin Johnson in December 2012, but it proved to be a forgettable fight.

Johnson, who lost to Vitali Klitschko on points for the WBC heavyweight title in 2009, appeared happy to see the final bell as Fury laboured to a comfortable unanimous decision.

His clash with Joshua two-and-half years later went very differently.

Joshua’s professional career was just gathering momentum at this point as he moved towards domestic titles and he dominated Johnson right from the off, almost sending him through the ropes with a thunderous combination at the end of the opening round.

The bell saved Johnson and he probably shouldn’t have come back out for the second round, but having never previously been stopped he bravely kept on fighting.

Joshua refused to take his foot off the gas and punished Johnson until the referee mercifully stepped in to save him just before the midway point in the second round.

It was a statement win for Joshua against a durable opponent, while Fury had been happy to simply get the job done when he took on Johnson.

Verdict: Joshua eclipsed Fury’s win 

Joshua demolished Kevin Johnson inside two rounds as he continued his rise through the heavyweight ranks in 2015

Joshua demolished Kevin Johnson inside two rounds as he continued his rise through the heavyweight ranks in 2015

Tyson Fury also beat Johnson, but failed to shine on his way to a unanimous points win

Tyson Fury also beat Johnson, but failed to shine on his way to a unanimous points win

Wladimir Klitschko

Just six months after Joshua demolished Johnson, Fury was handed the ultimate challenge of trying to dethrone Wladimir Klitschko.

Not many gave the Gypsy King much of a chance of toppling the Ukrainian, but Fury got inside Klitschko’s head with his pre-fight antics and then bewildered him between the ropes.

It was hardly a classic as both men struggled to land meaningful shots throughout, but Fury controlled the contest behind his jab and stayed away from danger to claim a deserved points win.

Seventeen months later, Klitschko was desperate to return to the top of the heavyweight division and faced Joshua in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley.

In a back-and-forth battle for the ages, both men were sent to the canvas and the fight was in the balance with two rounds to go.

At this point, Joshua found a second wind and delivered the decisive blows in the 11th round to knock Klitschko down twice and force the referee to jump in.

It was a huge win for the former Olympic gold medallist, and cemented him as the man to beat in boxing’s blue-riband division.

Verdict: Two very different approaches, both equally impressive 

Fury outboxed Wladimir Klitschko to dethrone the Ukrainian in November 2015

Fury outboxed Wladimir Klitschko to dethrone the Ukrainian in November 2015

Joshua was knocked down for the first time in his professional career by Klitschko

Joshua was knocked down for the first time in his professional career by Klitschko

But he got off the canvas to finish Klitschko in the 11th round and send him into retirement

But he got off the canvas to finish Klitschko in the 11th round and send him into retirement

Dillian Whyte 

Fury was still celebrating his win over Klitschko when Joshua fought Dillian Whyte in a grudge match for the British title in December 2015.

Whyte had beaten Joshua in the amateurs, and AJ was desperate for revenge as he started fast and looked to put away his rival early. 

But that approach got him in trouble as he walked on to a huge left hook in the second round and had to withstand a heavy barrage of punches from Whyte.

Having weathered the storm, Joshua regained control in the middle rounds and finished Whyte in emphatic fashion in the seventh with a brutal right uppercut.

Whyte got himself back in the mix after his loss to Joshua, and earned his shot at Fury’s WBC belt in April 2022 at Wembley.

But he failed to trouble Fury at all as the giant heavyweight outboxed Whyte to win round after round before stopping him in the sixth, with the right uppercut proving Whyte’s undoing once again.

Fury got rid of Whyte a round quicker than Joshua, and was never hurt as he put on a virtuoso display at England’s national stadium.

Verdict: Fury made lighter work of Whyte

Fury had no problems with Dillian Whyte and stopped him in the sixth round at Wembley

Fury had no problems with Dillian Whyte and stopped him in the sixth round at Wembley

Joshua had a tougher time against Whyte and was rocked by his rival before stopping him

Joshua had a tougher time against Whyte and was rocked by his rival before stopping him

Otto Wallin 

Otto Wallin was supposed to be a stop-gap fight for Fury as he waited for a rematch with Deontay Wilder, but it nearly went badly wrong.

The September 2019 bout could easily have gone in Wallin’s favour after he hurt Fury with a punch that opened up a huge gash just above his right eye that later required 47 stitches.

As the gash came from a legal blow, Wallin would have been declared the winner if the referee had decided that Fury could not continue, but he allowed Fury to fight on.

Fury ground out a hard-earned points decision, but looked far from his best across the 12 rounds, and that proved to be his last fight with trainer Ben Davison, who is now in Joshua’s corner.

Indeed, Joshua and Davison’s first fight together came against Wallin in December, and the former looked back to his very best.

Joshua went straight on to the front foot and systematically beat Wallin up until his corner threw in the towel after five rounds.

It was the first time that Wallin had been stopped, and he was unable to trouble Joshua at all.

Verdict: Joshua dealt with Wallin in far more devastating fashion 

Joshua took Otto Wallin apart and forced his corner to throw in the towel after five rounds

Joshua took Otto Wallin apart and forced his corner to throw in the towel after five rounds

Fury was left with a huge gash above his right eye that required 47 stitches after facing Wallin

Fury was left with a huge gash above his right eye that required 47 stitches after facing Wallin

Can Joshua dominate Ngannou?

Fury’s decision to fight MMA star Ngannou in October after almost a year out of the ring was slammed by most fans, with few expecting the bout to be anything close to competitive.

It turned out to be a thrilling match-up, as Ngannou shocked the world by knocking down Fury with a big left hook in the third round.

Fury clambered off the canvas and got back into the contest, but was arguably fortunate to get his hand raised as he claimed a controversial split decision win. 

Ngannou knocked Fury down last year and Joshua must be careful not to overlook him

Ngannou knocked Fury down last year and Joshua must be careful not to overlook him

Just over four months on from that dramatic night, Ngannou is going straight back in with another formidable heavyweight in the shape of Joshua.

Fury may have overlooked Ngannou, and he almost paid the ultimate price. If Joshua has the same mindset he may not be so lucky.

Yet a dominant win for Joshua would lay down a marker and prove that he is right back in the title picture after previously losing his way following back-to-back defeats against Oleksandr Usyk.

He has outshone Fury against their mutual opponents in the past, and repeating that trick against Ngannou could get him one step closer to finally meeting the Gypsy King in a mouthwatering heavyweight showdown.