Anthony Joshua has announced “I’m ready” in response to doubts from Tyson Fury, with talks continuing about two huge fights with his British heavyweight rival in 2021.
WBC champion Fury has recently questioned why Joshua did not initially call him out in the aftermath of a knockout victory over Kubrat Pulev earlier this month.
But Joshua insists he remains determined to put his WBA, IBF and WBO belts on the line against Fury in a massive undisputed world title fight next year.
Asked about a potential stumbling block, Joshua told Sky Sports News: “Whether he really wants it or not. I’m keen.
“I basically said, ‘If Tyson Fury is the man with the belts, Tyson Fury is the man I want.’ That basically says, ‘I’ll fight anyone who has that belt, there’s no problem with the person’. I just want to go for the undisputed championship. That’s what I was trying to say that night.
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“He took it how he wanted to take it. I’ve never turned away from a fight. I’ve never announced a fight and not showed up. I’ve fought six to seven champions, in my short career. Tyson Fury is another one of them.
“There’s no reason as to why I see him any different to any other. If Tyson Fury is down, I’m ready, I’m keen. I’ve got four of the major belts, he’s got one. I’ll take that one from him.”
Fury had given his own interpretation of Joshua’s post-fight interview during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show.
“He was asked the question: ‘Do you want to fight Tyson Fury?'” Fury said.
“Very plain and simple, and he never answered the question. It was a simple yes or no answer, wasn’t it?
“Then they said: ‘Do you think you’re the best heavyweight in the world?’
“And he went [holds hands up]. Didn’t answer the question. Ask me: ‘Do you want to fight Anthony Joshua?’
Joshua insists he will face Fury twice next year and has suggested that a date in June is most likely for the first fight.
“I’m speaking to my management team, and I’m ready. I’m keen, I’ve got past my mandatory. Right now, I’m about less talk, more action,” Joshua said.
“But the ultimate thing coming from me, I’m ready. The next fight, I want Tyson Fury, the next fight I want the WBC champion, the next fight I want to be for the undisputed championship of the world.
“That being said, they are in conversations now – my management team, my promotional outfit – of the best way to put a package together that can lead us into 2021 and hopefully the pandemic will be done and we can bring some unity, a good energy to Britain, if we can announce this fight.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been discussing a deal with Top Rank boss Bob Arum, who has guided Fury’s career in America.
Fury has entered a mediation process with Deontay Wilder about a third fight, while Joshua’s WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk is waiting for a title shot, but Hearn hopes both issues can be resolved.
“I do believe Deontay Wilder is appealing that, in the US courts, but we don’t expect that to be a problem,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“Ultimately the big issue for Anthony Joshua is he has a WBO mandatory now. We will be writing to the WBO to say you have an opportunity to be part of the biggest fight in boxing. One of the biggest fights in boxing history.
“Oleksandr Usyk is the WBO mandatory, we have to respect that, and the rules as well. We’ll be speaking to him to make sure he’s happy with a potential resolution.”