Anthony Joshua has told Tyson Fury “if you really want to say you’re No 1, come fight me”.
Every world heavyweight championship belt resides in Britain after Fury brilliantly captured the WBC title from Deontay Wilder in February and Joshua reclaimed the IBF, WBA and WBO gold from Andy Ruiz Jr in December.
Joshua exclusively told Sky Sports that Fury can’t claim to be the division’s No 1 until they meet in the ring: “Yes, come fight me.
“If you really want to say you’re No 1, come fight me. Let’s get it on.
“I’m the unified heavyweight champion of the world, he’s the WBC champion. What it will prove, me and him fighting? There will be one dominant figure in the heavyweight division that will have all of the belts and become undisputed.
“Logically to prove yourself as No 1, I have to fight Tyson Fury. He has to fight Anthony Joshua.”
Fury is first contractually obliged to face Wilder for a third time, pencilled in for October, while Joshua is due to defend his titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.
Fury and Pulev share Top Rank as their US-based promoter so Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had speculated that a deal could be worked out to move straight into the undisputed title fight between the Brits.
Joshua said: “It would be amazing to tell Pulev ‘I think it’s best if you step aside for now’ and to tell Wilder ‘we have bigger fish to fry’.
“‘Enjoy your Alabama chicken while we get cracking in the UK!’
“That fight needs to happen because there will never be another time like this again.”
However, Wilder refuted any suggestions that he forego his right to another chance at Fury. He told the Premier Boxing Champions’ podcast: “No-one should be surprised. I am who I am, Deontay ‘The Bronze Bomber’ Wilder.
“Why wouldn’t I want it?
“He knows that wasn’t me. I know that wasn’t me. That wasn’t the real Deontay Wilder, something was wrong.
“There is more fuel on the fire. This is the final straw.”
Joshua and Fury’s dream fight for every major belt would, therefore, have to wait until next year.
Joshua insisted that the enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic has enabled him to refocus: “Without a shadow of a doubt. Life was moving at such a fast pace before, I couldn’t have time to look back and assess the footsteps I had taken.
“Now I’ve taken time to really look at myself, moving forwards into the next chapter of my career.
“From a mental and physical standpoint that should put me in good stead because I’m well-rested. My mind is settled, my body is settled.
“When the fire gets going again, it will be a roaring blaze.”
Joshua previously said about Wilder’s performance when he lost to Fury: “We’ve seen in some of his fights, it’s been difficult for him and then he lands his punch and he’s been victorious, but I always believe that when you go to war, you can’t have one weapon in your arsenal, which was his right hand.
“Once that was taken away from him, which Tyson Fury did, I’m not going to go into tactics, but he was able to annihilate Deontay Wilder and expose him for some of his weaknesses.
“Tyson Fury did a great job tactically and I’m looking forward to their rematch.”
Credit: Sky Sports