Boxing

Joshua pledges to fight heavyweight rival Fury after dealing with Usyk

Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is set to face Oleksandr Usyk but still has an eye on a long-awaited showdown with Tyson Fury.

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Joshua pledges to fight heavyweight rival Fury after dealing with Usyk

Anthony Joshua remains convinced his heavyweight blockbuster with Tyson Fury will still happen despite the pair's undisputed showdown collapsing earlier this year.

Joshua, the IBF, WBA and WBO champion, was set to take on Fury in August in Saudi Arabia before a court arbitration in the United States ruled the WBC king must face Deontay Wilder for a third time.

Fury v Wilder III will take place in Las Vegas on July 24, with Joshua now set to face former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

As high-quality as those two encounters promise to be, it still amounts to a less-than-ideal situation in terms of the fight boxing's glamour division demands.

Joshua reiterated his belief that the collapse of the bout remains the responsibility of Fury's handlers and pledged to make the bout happen.

Joshua: "The Fury fight can happen at the end of the year"

"Unfortunately, his team let the whole boxing world down," he told Sky Sports. "I will still be here, still ready to put on a show.

"[The Fury fight can happen at the] end of the year. Let me get past Usyk first. But with or without Usyk in my life, I will fight Fury. Usyk isn't the be-all and end-all.

"Usyk doesn't determine the Fury fight. The Fury fight has to happen. It's a big fight, bigger than boxing, bigger than the belts.

"It will happen. After the Usyk fight, after I defend my belts. The fight will be bigger, better than what it would have been."

Fury pledged Joshua would be one of several leading heavyweights in line for "the biggest beatdown they have had in their lives" after he faces Wilder, who he believes "would knock Joshua out in the first round".

Joshua added: "I am 100 per cent sure that I will fight him and win. You've got to ask him the same question. I'm not too sure [what he would say].

"We did everything. During a global pandemic, the toughest time to organise a fight like that, we managed to have 20,000 fans available, a site fee, the media ready, my name was on the contract, I was in training.

"Then boom, they cancelled. I stay ready to fight them all because I'm a throwback fighter."