John Fury, father of WBC king Tyson Fury and a former pro heavyweight himself, has launched a staunch defence of deposed unified champion Anthony Joshua.

The long-touted but unrealised undisputed heavyweight title fight between Tyson and Joshua has now disintegrated, with AJ set to face conqueror Oleksandr Usyk in an immediate rematch early in 2022.

It would be easy for John Fury to take aim at Joshua, who lost his WBA Super, WBO and IBF belts to Usyk at the weekend, but the father of the WBC title holder believes the blame lies with AJ’s corner, led by coach Robert McCracken, and their lack of a successful game plan and adjustments as the fight slipped away.

“He’s a very awkward man Usyk. Obviously [Joshua had] never fought anybody like that before,” John Fury told BT Sport. “What he did need to do is adopt Derek Chisora’s game plan because he did a better job than what [AJ] did.

“I thought if he used his weight a bit more and put a bit more devil in his work, it could’ve gone better for him. I was surprised because he’s a big dude. He might’ve lost too much weight, but what he needed to do was get all over him and put him under pressure. Not let him settle. When your plan ain’t working, it’s up to the corner to switch it up, and they never. They kept saying in the eighth round, ‘Be smart behind your jab’.

“It wasn’t working because he was in front of a master technician and he played Usyk’s game from the beginning. They didn’t try and change it – it’s his corner’s fault. Give AJ a break. Because it wasn’t all AJ’s fault, it was his corner, they never had the brains to help him out of a sticky situation. You’ve got to know that the men in your corner know the fight game.”

Main image: Ian Walton/Matchroom Boxing.