Anthony Joshua has welcomed Tyson Fury’s claim he will beat the unified champion of the world “inside three rounds” and says he feels his British rival will “bring out the best in me”.
Joshua, 31, knocked out Kubrat Pulev in round nine on Saturday to increase hope he could fight Fury next.
“I want the fight next. I can’t wait to knock him out,” WBC champion Fury said in a video posted on social media.
“That’s good to hear,” Joshua said. “At least I can get him in the ring.”
“That’s what we want right, so he’s on the right track,” Joshua told BBC Radio 5 Live Boxing in his changing room.
Joshua, 31, was impressive against Pulev in their heavyweight contest in front of 1,000 fans at Wembley Arena. The Bulgarian challenger was forced to take a standing count in round three and floored before the bell, and was knocked down twice more in round nine.
In the instant aftermath, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said work would start on Sunday to finalise a bout with Fury.
Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum said he would begin work on Monday to secure the “biggest fight since Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier in 1971”.
WBC world heavyweight champion Fury has been installed as an odds-on favourite to beat IBF, WBA and WBO belt holder Joshua if they fight next in a bout which would see all four heavyweight titles contested for the first time.
Asked about the odds, Joshua added: “It’s good. I said he’s talented and he will bring out the best in me. So that’s brilliant. I’ve been to his fights, I’ve watched him, so when I fight him it will be good to change those odds and put them in my favour.”
Hearn eyes May showdown
Joshua revealed he continued to have animosity with Pulev in the ring after his knockout win, which in turn influenced his initial television interview at ringside.
“I just wanted to fight. I was ready to fight anyone,” Joshua added. “I didn’t want to do any interviews or speak to anyone. I just feel like this is just about me. I’m not in competition with anyone, I don’t want to have to please anyone, I want to be myself. I want to be able to make mistakes.
“It’s hard when you’re underneath the microscope all the time. It’s a lot of pressure so I was in that mode where I’m ready to fight everyone. Me and Pulev were still going at it after.”
Speaking more than two hours after his win, a calm Joshua revealed former five-weight world champion Floyd Mayweather had spent time with him in his changing room and stated he can “go all the way” though there is “room for improvement”.
Two fights with Fury would go some way to adding to Joshua’s legacy and promoter Hearn said they will target May for the first, with a second in November or December.
“Sometimes there are words backwards and forwards form both camps – I don’t think that’s going to do any good,” Hearn told 5 Live Boxing.
“We just all want to make the fight. Now is the time. We will start the ball rolling. I don’t think it’s that difficult. The crux of the deal I have always said is agreed now in terms of numbers and money splits. There are only some minor details. So there’s no reason we can’t be up and running.”
Joshua v Fury – analysis
Peter Fury – who trained his nephew Tyson Fury to world-title success in 2015 – on Sky Sports: “It would be a great fight if it happens. They are both up for it. They’ve got different styles though – Tyson is a totally different ball game to Pulev.
“Those shots won’t be landing on Tyson so clean. If AJ can land, anyone’s going down, but the same for Tyson, he’s a puncher as well. It works both ways.
“Joshua is a little bit hesitant in there. He doesn’t let his hands go too much. For me, he’s too upright, he’s got no lateral movement, and Tyson’s got that in abundance. He’s very, very awkward.”
BBC boxing correspondent Mike Costello on BBC Radio 5 Live: “In the end a devastating performance. Destructive hitting from Anthony Joshua. Everything is set for now for Fury v Joshua – one of the greatest sporting occasions Britain has ever known.”
Source: BBC Sports104