Tyson Fury has told Anthony Joshua to ‘grow some nuts’ and fight him for the undisputed world heavyweight title next year.
Fury, Joshua and their US rival Deontay Wilder — who Fury boxed to a draw last year — are all preparing for what the Gypsy King accepts are ‘routine’ fights in America.
Asked why they are not boxing each other, Fury said: ‘They won’t fight me because they don’t have the self-belief they can beat me.
‘Wilder only fought me because he thought I was a fat slob. But I wasn’t afraid to take on the big bad knockout guy even though I was overweight and only just starting my comeback from depression.
‘Had the positions been reversed he would never have fought me. And now that I’m in shape Joshua doesn’t want it.
‘So now Joshua is stuck in my rear view mirror. I’m fed up with hearing the same stuff from Joshua about how he wants to fight the best.
‘It’s time for him to prove it. To man up. To step up to the plate.’
Speaking at the BT Sport studio, Fury was decked out in a black and white suit emblazoned with photographs of ‘all the iconic world heavyweight champions.’ Himself included, with the picture over his heart.
Fury concedes that his decision to seek greater fame and even richer fortunes in America has played a part in delaying the process of finding which of the very big three can be the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.
Veteran American promoter Bob Arum is combining with Frank Warren on the big sell on both sides of the Atlantic.
The aim is to make Fury a chat-show star in America in the idiom of George Foreman, whose celebrity brought in the added windfall of the $250million sale of his grilling machine business.
Fury accepts that will require not only his June 15 debut in Las Vegas but two more high exposure fights in the US later this year.
But he adds: ‘Since Joshua won’t fight me yet, then I want Wilder again next year.’
Arum expects that repeat of their epic draw last December to be a huge pay-per-view event, again in Las Vegas.
Then Fury will insist on the Wembley Stadium fight with Joshua ‘in time for me to be undisputed this time next year’.
Since he, Arum and Warren know only too well that this dream has been delayed by the big business rivalry between TV networks in America and the UK, how can that happen?
‘We will force it,’ says Arum. ‘With the help of the public who want these huge fights. The people have the power. If the fans refuse to pay to go to lesser fights then Joshua will have to come to the table, even though his promoter (Eddie Hearn) is stuck with responsibilities to the DAZN streaming network in America and Sky over here.’
Fury is contracted to BT Sport in the UK and the ESPN/Disney giant in the US.
Arum says: ‘Tyson will become so huge in America with his personality that we should be able to do joint broadcasting ventures the way we did for Mayweather-Pacquiao.
‘With so much money in it for everyone, everything in this business is possible. Only Brexit is insurmountable!’
Fury returns to the land of opportunity this Sunday for the last four weeks of his formal eight-week camp. In fact he has barely been a day out of the gym with his trainer Ben Davison since climbing off the canvas when flattened by Wilder.
‘This is where I’m happiest now,’ he says. ‘This is what will keep me in this good place I’m in now after my struggle with depression.
‘Where boxing used to be a chore, now I’m in love with the sport.’
The hint of anger came when Fury was reminded of Eddie Hearn’s allegation that he had not followed through on his pledge to give his entire $7million purse for the Wilder fight to homeless charities Fury banged the table and said. ‘Everything that come out of Hearn’s mouth is bull****.’
Before Fury fights unbeaten but unheralded German Tom Schwarz on June 15, Wilder will have fought Dominic Breazeale this Saturday and Joshua boxed Andy Ruiz Jr on June 1, both in New York.
Fury says: ‘Nothing is likely to happen in any of these fights to interfere with our futures. But I for one will be ready for Wilder and Joshua next year. If they are.’
For the time being he is just thrilled to be fulfilling a boyhood vow.
He says: ‘I always knew Las Vegas is where the biggest fights take place. Me and my dad watched Ricky Hatton fight Floyd Mayweather there on TV.
‘I always wanted to go there but I promised I never would until I fought in Vegas.’
Perhaps, since he put every shilling he had on Hatton, it is just as well he waited. Come June 15 he will be a certain favourite.
*Fury v Schwarz will be televised exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office late on Saturday June 15.