Anthony Joshua says it will be “an honor” to fight Tyson Fury next year after his rival British heavyweight finally gave an indication that he expected to face Joshua next year.
Fury defends his WBC title against Deontay Wilder on October 9 in Las Vegas, two weeks after Joshua puts his WBA, WBO and IBF titles on the line against Oleksandr Usyk in London.
Earlier this week Fury said that he expected to face Joshua twice next year, music to Joshua’s ears.
“Finally, finally, another one for the resume,” Joshua said when asked for a reaction to Fury’s remarks. “Let’s get it on!
“What an honor it would be to fight Tyson, get another great fighter on my record, beat him, and then we would move forward. Yeah, Fury, I’d love that opportunity.”
Joshua had been expecting to face Fury this summer, but a deal for them to face each other in Saudi Arabia fell apart after a US judge ordered Fury to face Wilder again.
“We were close to doing it,” Joshua said. “Matchroom did a great job, managing an heavyweight undisputed championship of the world fight during a pandemic. We were a couple of weeks away and then it came to an end unfortunately.
“You guys [the press] didn’t get to cover what would have been one of the biggest boxing fights in history. Yeah, we’ll get it on at some stage, we’re professional.
“That didn’t happen, but look where we are now, Joshua versus Usyk. It’s probably bigger or just as big as that fight. We will always try and deliver, that’s one thing about us.”
Joshua hinted, however, that since the collapse of talks with Fury this summer, he is not banking on the fight with Fury happening.
“We’ve known this for a long time with Fury, always have something in the background,” he said.
“It’s good to study your opponents and learn about them, so, yeah, we know his history. He pulled out of a couple of fights, it just happens. He’s someone who pulls out of fights. Even with the Wilder situation it happened again.
“Good luck to him and we’ll see him some time. Whenever he’s ready, we’ll be here waiting.”
Joshua decided to take time away from training, delaying the fight with Usyk by a month, after the Fury talks collapsed, but he made light on the disappointment he felt.
“I had to cancel all my bids on that mansion!” he joked.
“It would have been brilliant for boxing. It’s the fight everyone wants deep down. Belt, no belt, belts better, it would have been a brilliant fight to have at the time, but it didn’t matter.
“What we decided to, which was the right thing, was Matchroom, the management company put together a great night of boxing on September 25 against a great challenger, which is causing great interest.
“There’s a great Ukrainian following in boxing and in the UK and they will be out in force. There will be 50-60,000 Brits who will come out for the fight, it’s a fight with big interest.
“Even though it’s not Fury, it’s still a great fight. Even though it’s annoying, I’m glad I can still take on an opponent who makes me want to get up in the morning because I want to improve and get better.”
He also insisted that he was not taking Usyk lightly.
“There’s a lot of talk about size, a good big guy beats a good little guy,” Joshua said. “If that’s the case why I am getting up in the morning to train? Why I am sitting in ice baths? I sound like Conor Benn ‘why I am doing this?’
“Why I am passionate about it? Because I’m fighting a good guy. The guys have done a great job, even though the Fury fight fell through. We’re still taking on a good fight and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. 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.