(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Tyson Fury thrives on unpredictability inside and outside of the ring. He loves to make his opponents feel uncomfortable and will wage mental warfare to get under their skin.
He famously wore a Nigeria mouthguard to send a message to Anthony Joshua when he was fighting Deontay Wilder, claimed he outlasted Wladimir Klitschko in the sauna while confronting him on television and more recently shared a picture of himself in top shape weeks after saying he was drinking every day and not training.
Fury has always known that he and AJ would eventually come head-to-head. The pair have long gone back-and-forth on social media and in interviews, making digs at one another. There’s nothing unusual about that but one piece of mental warfare was a more subtle one.
During the rematch with Wilder, Fury wore a Nigeria mouthguard (Joshua has Nigerian heritage). Even more strangely, Fury had said nothing about it in the press, just trusted that eagle-eyed fans would capture it and the message would find it’s way to his rival.
His mind games with Joshua seem to be working with the latter already in training camp ahead of their mouthwatering heavyweight unification showdown at some point this summer.
AJ is level-headed about the madness and understands that this is part of Fury’s shtick. Instead of taking it as an insult, he regarded it as a complement and shared a screenshot of it on his Instagram story, writing: ‘Gladiator’.
After bumping into Fury on holiday in Marbella, he even joked that he wouldn’t be surprised if his domestic foe had planned it all along.
He told Sky Sports: ‘It wasn’t planned, he was just driving down the strip and I was walking down and we just bumped into each other.
‘I don’t know how he saw me because I had my mask on, my hat on and everything.
‘He’s obviously got his eye on me. He’s probably following me around.’
‘We wouldn’t put it past him!’
With Fury finally having secured a two-fight deal with AJ worth £200m, it seems he is starting the psychological games already. Fury is a student of the game and will leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of victory. The 32-year-old is up to his old tricks again, but will they work on Joshua the way they worked against previous opponents?