Anthony Joshua has described Tyson Fury as one of his “enemies” and could be willing to fight his British rival without any of the world heavyweight titles.
Joshua had agreed a blockbuster battle for all the world belts this summer, only for the fight to dramatically fall apart when an arbitration judge ordered Fury to defend his WBC title against Deontay Wilder instead.
Oleksandr Usyk has been confirmed as the next challenger for Joshua on September 25, live on Sky Sports Box Office, but the WBA, IBF and WBO champion has suggested that he might be willing to fight Fury without any title obligations.
Joshua faces Oleksandr Usyk next on September 25
Speaking to Gary Neville’s The Overlap, Joshua said: “He’s a fighter isn’t he. What’s the worst that can happen? You get hit.
“He’s been doing it for years, however, I just know on my end, and my management team and my promoter – we done everything we can to make this happen and as long as I’m champion, I’ll compete with anyone.
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“I’ve got a tough challenger coming up now. A great fighter.
Joshua admits he had his sights set on the Fury fight
“Without the belts? I rate that. That’s what I’m talking about. We’ll fight, 100 per cent, let’s do it.
“I’ll smoke that guy. I will. It’s annoying.
“For me, I don’t really get into the Twitter back and forth, because it’s Twitter fingers. Anyone can sit behind a computer and talk. Let’s be real, let’s be honest. Let’s let the people know. You’re the one that let the fans down, because everyone seems to think…
“I fought on December 12th. When they were like, ‘Who do you want to fight next?’ I said I don’t want to call out any names, and I know because I’m going to start shouting out people’s names and I’m going to be in this position now where the guys’ name I’m shouting out doesn’t want to fight or he’s not ready to fight.”
Look back at how Joshua responded to Fury questions after his last world title win
Joshua had declared that he wants to fight ‘people that are serious’ after the announcement of the Usyk fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Asked by Gary Neville whether he respects Fury as a fighter and a man, Joshua said: “I don’t know. I like [former opponent] Wladimir Klitschko, he’s cool.
“I don’t know. I don’t look at anyone in my industry like that. They are just people that I want to fight.
“I haven’t got no time for none of them. I’m not friends with no one. They are all enemies at the end of the day.”
The unified world champion has also voiced his support for footballers who take a knee, the anti-discrimination gesture used throughout sport.
England’s football team took a knee before every game at the recent European Championship.
England footballers have taken a knee before games
“I feel like the players and the teams have done a great job of explaining what the reasons are for taking a knee and as a fan, whether you’re there for that, or not, you’re there to watch the team win,” said Joshua.
“The importance of supporting your team-mates and your players – emotionally you’re with them through thick and thin. That’s the whole point of being, I ride for this team. That’s loyalty. The reason that has been explained of them taking a knee is to bring awareness to an issue that’s been going on. Before phones were recording certain incidents, these things were happening.
“Certain people are aware, certain people have learnt more recently. But as I said, it’s nice that the explanation was made clear as to why a knee is being taken.
“For me it’s not a political stance. I’ve had to learn about what’s happened and what’s been going on more so last year and this year, than I ever have, to understand that this is just for a change for the better.
Joshua Buatsi took a knee before a fight last year
“It’s not political, it’s not about defunding anything or funding anything. The change wants to be made for the better. For the betterment of my kids, probably your kids, probably the person down the road’s kids, so harmony is created, because division is going to cause war.”
Asked by Neville if he would take a knee in the ring, Joshua said: “Yeah, 100 per cent I would. 100 per cent.
“I would take a knee anyway.”
Gary Neville’s The Overlap with Anthony Joshua is available now on YouTube.