Analysis: Who is the hardest worker in heavyweight boxing?
heavyweight boxing, Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua, infographic

Analysis: Who is the hardest worker in heavyweight boxing?

An all-British heavyweight boxing bout between current world champion Tyson Fury and former title holder Anthony Joshua is close to being agreed.

The proposed date of December 3 gives AJ just 105 days to recover from his gruelling rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, as he looks to restore his reputation.

We have taken a look through the boxing history books to establish the hardest working heavyweight:

The all-time greats

There have been 86 champions and 381 title fights in 127 years of heavyweight boxing.

Most title bouts pit a champion against a challenger with no belts to their name, with three-quarters of such fights ending in defeat for the undecorated boxer.

American great Joe Louis has the most title wins, with 27 during the 1930s and 1940s – including 26 successful defences in a row.

With more belts available in recent years, the Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko has the edge on Louis for the longest combined reign, at 4,382 days – or just over 12 years.

How Fury and Joshua compare

Britons Joshua and Fury are 13th and 23rd respectively in terms of days spent as world champion.

However, AJ is keeping pace with some legends of the sport, with 12 title fights before turning 33 – the same as Muhammad Ali.

Fury is older than AJ and has an unbeaten record, but he has contested only five title fights. Among heavyweights to have successfully defended a title, the Gypsy King has put his belts on the line least often during his reign as champion (once in every 628 days).

Fury’s proposed date of December 3 for a fight against AJ is 224 days after his victory over Dillian Whyte, but he would have the edge on recovery over his opponent.

Joshua fought Usyk on August 22. This would be the shortest turnaround between heavyweight title fights since Deontay Wilder was knocked out by Fury in February 2020, just 91 days after beating Luis Ortiz.

Across heavyweight history, Mike Tyson defended his title most often, fighting once every 118 days in 12 bouts as reigning champ.

Fury has favoured quantity over quality in title bouts by facing opponents of the highest calibre. He handed Klitschko his first defeat for 11 years in 2015 and went on to fight WBC champion Wilder three times between 2018 and 2021.

AJ is looking to restore his reputation as a top heavyweight having lost three of his past four fights (two against Usyk and one against Andy Ruiz Jr), but history is against him.

If AJ were to defeat Fury, he would become only the sixth heavyweight to win a world title after suffering three or more defeats in previous title fights, following in the footsteps of Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Frank Bruno, George Foreman and Jersey Joe Walcott.

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