Tyson Fury says he wants to fight Anthony Joshua in December if his fight with Deontay Wilder does not go ahead.
Fury and Frank Warren, his promoter, confirmed that December 19 is still the planned date for third fight with Wilder, with Warren saying talks had taken place with some locations about a large site fee in case it cannot be held in front of a large crowd in the United States.
But Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion, said he would be willing to face Joshua, the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF champion, next in the event of Wilder pulling out for some reason, although he also threw in the name of Alexander Povetkin, the WBC interim champion and recent victor over Dillian Whyte, as a possible stand-in.
“If Wilder doesn’t happen, let’s do Joshua in December,” Fury said when interviewed by Steve Bunce at the end of BT Sport’s coverage of the Daniel Dubois-Ricardo Snijders fight. “Why not? It’s a boxing match, let’s get it on. I’m ready to go now. I could fight him in that ring tonight. I’d still kick his arse any time of the day.
“I’m a gym junkie. I need the work. I said to Frank, I said to Bob, I said to the MTK guys ’I want a fight, I’ve been training non-stop, I’m ready to fight, let’s get to work’. Whatever type of fight it is, wherever it is, let’s get it on and make it happen.
“If Wilder can’t take the fight, who knows what is next. I know Povetkin is now my mandatory, I don’t know what is going on with that, whether there is going to be a rematch, whatever. Maybe I will fight Drew McIntyre for the WWE heavyweight championship, who knows. I hear he has been calling me out.”
Despite that jibe, a Fury-Joshua fight will not happen this year. Fury, though, demanded that Joshua’s team start proper talks, however, Fury hinting that they had been evasive about it and saying Joshua had blown his chance of being No 1 in the division by not going to the US to fight Wilder.
“Do I see the fight happening any time soon? Hopefully,” he said. “Hopefully. they grow a pair and want to fight the Gypsy King.
“If I was in their position and had my chance at glory to go to America and beat Wilder, but they didn’t take it, so I had to come out of retirement, set about him a couple of times, take the No 1 spot, take all the glory and then they are all looking up to me.
“He must be sitting there thinking ‘that could have been me’. But it wasn’t. It’s their own fault. Whether it was bad management, bad advice, didn’t want the fight for whatever reason, it has played a massive part in how it has all panned out. All the cards have been dealt and they have to come through me.
“So I am saying ‘grow a pair, come and see the champ and I’ll sort you all out’. I am just waiting here patiently. Can’t be stopped, can’t be rocked, can’t be touched, can’t be moved. No fights on the horizon, training like a lunatic, running up mountains and becoming a human racehorse. I am looking forward to all challenges. Whoever they are, bring them to the Gypsy King and I’ll deal with them in exciting fashion.
“We’re all open to talking. Sitting down as men, as adults, bring your handbags and let’s do it.”
Warren said that he hoped within the next month there would be more certainty about when crowds will be allowed to return.
“At the moment, we don’t know where we are,” Warren said. “The idea is to get it on on December 19 in the States or another territory. That’s what we are all working collectively to do.
“That’s what we all want. But our hands are tied. There is something different happening in every country. It all depends, at the end of the day on two things. Either we have a big live crowd in and if that doesn’t happen then we need a big guarantee as a site fee. Sometimes they both go together.
“If somebody comes up with a site fee – and there are people who are talking about doing that and we are talking to a number of people. And we will see what happens. We want to get it on. We want to get it on for Tyson. He has been training hard now since February. He literally came back from the States, went back in the gym and was training hard. He wants to fight and what he wants we have to deliver.”
Fury said he had coped well during the lockdown, although it was important for him to remain in training for his mental well-being.
“It has been two years since I had that mental breakthrough,” Fury said. “It took me to get to 29 years old to realise that I can be happy all the time if I train all the time. So. I train twice a day five days a week and once on a Saturday and I’m really happy with it. I can fit in all my clothes and feel mentally good, it works for me, it is my medicine to train.
“I spent a long, long time, a long period in my life, from being ten-12 years old to being 27 where I only trained to box. And I would do a training camp, get in good shape, 10-12 weeks, have the fight, win and go and put five stone (70 pounds) back on within the next 3-4 months before I was active again.
“I realised when I made the comeback that I don’t have to do that anymore. That hard work I used to put myself through doesn’t exist anymore. Say I box at 19st, I go in the ring at 19st 2. I’m ready. I’m not battling to lose weight I am fighting at the weight I am walking around at.”
He said that when the coronavirus lockdown happened, he was able to continue training and enjoyed spending mote time with the family.
“Never mind the lockdown, there are low points on a day to day basis,” he said. “When you are mentally unwell like me on a daily basis, I have highs and lows, I have to deal with it. I have a mechanism of dealing with mental health problems, which is training and thinking positive, doing other things as well, short-term goals. There are always going to low points, always, forever.
“The lockdown was almost a blessing for me, because I had just had the big fight, been away for a long time since mid-November in America. It just stopped everything that was going to happen, all these things people wanted me to do, it all went dead and I didn’t have all this work to do and I could spend precious time with my family and I was still training. It was terrible but you have to make a positive out of a negative.”
One thing that Fury had no doubt about, though, was that he believes he will beat Joshua when they meet in the ring.
“People sometimes look at me and say he’s fat, he’s bald and he is ugly to watch, but I get the results, don’t I? 32 in a row now I believe,” he said.
“Here’s an interesting fact. Me, the old featherduster who can’t crack an egg, has beaten the No 1 and No 4 biggest punchers in the heavyweight division. No 1 was Wilder and No 4 was Klitschko and Mr featherduster has beaten them both and I am about to beat another one in AJ. That will be three knockout masters by one featherduster.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.