Tyson Fury says he is prepared to “throw his belts in the bin” in order to finally fight British heavyweight rival Anthony Joshua.
WBC champion Fury announced in May that a unification bout had been agreed with long-time rival Joshua, with the meeting set for Saudi Arabia in August.
But, to the frustration of boxing fans around the world, the plans were hit after Fury was ordered to defend his title against Deontay Wilder and complete the pair’s three-fight deal.
The ‘Gypsy King’ is now set to meet Wilder in October, with the fight having been pushed back from July after Fury tested positive for Covid-19, while Joshua puts his WBA, IBF and WBO titles on the line against the undefeated Oleksandr Usyk later this month.
Should both Fury and Joshua emerge from their respective bouts victorious, it should clear the way for the pair to finally meet in a sensational heavyweight unification fight – the first in more than 20 years.
But, even if either Fury or Joshua suffer a defeat and lose their heavyweight belts, the 33-year-old has he said is willing to put titles aside in order to finally meet Joshua in the ring.
“I have never been optimistic about this fight happening. Even when the deal was done, I was never optimistic it and guess what? It never happened,” Fury said in an interview with Gary Neville on the former England and Manchester United defender’s Overlap show.
“I do think, sooner or later, it has to happen. Even if we go AWOL, throw all the belts in the bin, to fight each other? I would do that, if that makes sense. But I’m not sure he would be willing to do that.”
When asked by Neville on the same show earlier this summer, Joshua said that he would also be prepared to meet Fury without titles on the line in order to make the long-awaited fight finally happen.
“Without the belts? I rate that,” Joshua said. “That’s what I’m talking about. We’ll fight, 100 per cent, let’s do it.”
Joshua also told Neville that he would “smoke” Fury should the rivals ever meet in the ring. The undefeated Fury responded: “AJ couldn’t smoke a cigarette, never mind smoke the ‘Gypsy King’.
“He hasn’t got the minerals to fight a man like me. I said to [Joshua’s promoter] Eddie Hearn the difference between a man like him and a man like me is that he’s a businessman and I’m a f****** Spartan.
“I’ll show him that when I get in the ring. I will absolutely annihilate that bodybuilder. He wouldn’t go past six rounds. It would be over quickly. He knows that and his whole team knows it.”
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