Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury will make an estimated £150million between them when they fight this summer - but they’ve already squared off in the ring before for free.
The pair will sell a record number of pay-per-views for their first meeting in August when they fight in Saudi Arabia, after years of back-and-forth.
However, many fans don’t know that back in 2010 the bitter rivals stepped into the ring for a sparring session, two years before Joshua would win Olympic gold in London.
There are varying accounts of what happened from all involved, but there appears to be consensus that the Londoner, an inexperienced amateur at the time, got the better of 11-0 pro Fury.
Speaking just days after the session, Fury was contrite in his account of events, saying: “I’m not going to deny it, he gave me hell for leather for three rounds.”
“To be honest with you,” Fury said to the BBC after the spar, “I thought to myself, ‘I’m only going to take it easy as he’s an amateur and we probably won’t spar again if I go mad.’
“I thought ‘Oh my god, an amateur is killing me.’”
However, according to the now-WBC Champion, he began to gain momentum as the match went on, saying: “Being a professional, and I’ve been an amateur myself and fought all over the world, I slowed him down a bit with a few good body shots.
“The kid’s only 20, and I’m a handful myself, so for him to put up a good performance like that against a top prospect in me, I think he’s one for the future.”
There had been a challenge laid out in the press by Tyson to any prospective sparring partners that should anyone knock him down, he’d give them his Rolex watch.
And Joshua, an amateur from a council estate, has claimed in interviews that he really wanted that watch.
“If you know me, I’m hungry, I always have been and I was hungrier back then. Those assets and stuff were so far out of reach to me.”
The Londoner has been less inclined to go into too much detail about the specifics of his sparring sessions, but he claimed in a 2016 Sky Sports interview that it was a ‘straight war’.
“So I remember him popping in the gym,” Joshua continued. “And coach says, ‘Alright Josh, you’re sparring’.
“I didn’t really know who Tyson Fury was, but in the boxing gym, there’s no word called ‘no’.
“So I just got my headgear on, put my gum shield in and we just cracked on and me and him just had a straight war.
“What I learned about Fury is that we’ve got the same heart, we’re both fighting people and we go to war.
“I didn’t manage to knock him out, we both hit each other with some big shots, powerful shots.”
Asked about the spar in an interview with iFL TV while back in his old gym late last year, AJ said that it was ‘only sparring’ before deflecting the question to his amateur coach Sean Murphy.
Murphy claimed that Joshua won the first and the third, but admits that Fury made him miss wildly in the second and handily took the round.
The coach didn’t give much more detail on the third, and this is where the story gets interesting.
He claims that having given his fighter a stern talking to in the corner, Anthony ended up taking control and winning the third.
He said that Fury demanded another round, but wasn’t willing to ‘weigh in’ his young opponent - a slang term for paying a sparring partner - so he pulled him out and sent in a slightly more experienced Southpaw named Stacy Dunn, who Fury ‘moved around’ fairly handily.
Tyson, on the other hand, claims that he dominated the latter stages, saying prior to his first fight with Deontay Wilder : “He was lifting his legs up in the corner, there were ten people in the gym who saw him do it.
“I’ve got my hands down flicking him, leaning out the way, he’s coming forward with them big swings, how’s he going to hit me?
“I said, ‘Go on then, put one on me, I’ll stand still’!”