Anthony Joshua has put a clash with Tyson Fury on the backburner, potentially until after 2021, as he prepares to fight Kubrat Pulev.
The unified heavyweight champion made a stark admission on the eve of defending his IBF, WBA, WBO, and IBO belts against his mandatory challenger at The O2 in London on Saturday night.
AJ was asked directly who he would like to face next in an interview with William Hill. The 31-year-old gave a confusing answer.
“Tyson Fury,” said Joshua unequivocally. “Due to the fact he has the WBC and Ring Magazine belts.”
That’s where the clarity ended as Joshua followed it up by telling William Hill: “I think it’s a great fight that will happen in the next few years.”
Previously, it had been suggested that Joshua would be pursuing Fury rigorously for his first fight of 2021. If that statement is not a mistake, it could be good news for Oleksandr Usyk.
The Ukrainian is the WBO stipulation and may now find himself top of Joshua’s wanted list. The news will be a blow for Fury and British fans if it fails to go down.
Discussing Fury further, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist added: “His Dad has said he’s confident that he could beat me.
“I’m confident that I can beat Tyson Fury. He says he has the boxing IQ of Einstein, so I’d like to put that to the test and see how well I do.”
In the immediate future, Joshua’s next test comes on December 12, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
DAZN will also broadcast in all of its nine markets including the U.S.
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) is looking to build on recapturing his belts and position as a quadruple belt holder. He scored a unanimous decision victory over Andy Ruiz Jr at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia back in December.
Saturday night will be his first fight on UK soil for over two years ever since he defended his crowns with a devastating seventh-round knockout of Russia’s Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium.
The former Finchley ABC man needs to deal with Pulev in style to have any chance of setting up an undisputed showdown against WBC Champion and fellow Brit Fury in 2021 – whether he wants it or not at that time.