Nigerian-born world heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Olaseni Oluwafemi Joshua has thrown an open challenge at fellow-Brit and holder of one of the global belts, Tyson Fury, as ‘AJ’ says ‘The Gypsy King’ should be ready to step into the ring to prove that he deserves the title he won from America’s Deontay Wilder, megasportsarena.com reports.
Although Fury has a date against Wilder lined uip for their third bout, which had initially been billed to hold this June, before it was postponed on account of coronavirus, Joshua believes he can still get round that schedule to get his own date for a unification bout instead.
Fury is the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight belt holder, but Joshua insists the fellow-two-time champ can only prove that he deserves to be called number one in the world of professional pugilism once he accepts to enter the ring for the much-expected unification bout.
Currently, every world heavyweight championship belt resides in Britain, after Fury captured the WBC title from Wilder in February, while Joshua reclaimed the International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) diadems from the first man to beat him as a professional boxer, México’s Andy Ruiz Jr on December 7.
Joshua insisted that the enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic has enabled him to refocus and, as he sets his focus on the much-expected dream fight for every major belt, Fury’s trainer Sugarhill Steward insists ‘the story isn’t over,’ even if they have to wait until next year.
However, Fury is contractually obliged to face Wilder for a third time, which is now penciled in for October, while Joshua is due to defend his titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, who shares with The Gypsy King the banner of USA-based Top Rank Promotions.
While Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn this week expressed doubt over his initial talk that a deal could be worked out to move straight into the undisputed title fight between the Brits, his trainer, Rob McCracken says a fight with Fury will happen.
McCracken is staying optimistic, even after Wilder refuted any suggestions that he will 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.
Nonetheless, Joshua told Sky Sports that Fury cannot claim to be a real champion until they both tango in the ring and added: “Yes, come fight me. If you really want to say you’re No 1, come fight me. Let’s get it on. I’ve got the rest of the belts so it only makes sense.
“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.
“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.
“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. 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.”