LONDON: Anthony Joshua has admitted he must fight Tyson Fury, believing boxing needs at least one bout between the British rivals.

“Do I need Tyson Fury on my record? I need it,” Joshua said on the BBC 5 Live Boxing podcast. “We need it for boxing. It’s what we all need, I need it. Come on, let’s see how good I am.”

A showdown between them this year for the undisputed world heavyweight title was close to being negotiated after months of talks until a US arbitrator ruled WBC titleholder Fury had to fight Deontay Wilder a third time. They meet next month in Las Vegas.

In the meantime, Joshua will defend his WBA, IBF and WBO titles against Oleksandr Usyk on Sept 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before an expected crowd of more than 60,000, then hope to meet Fury next.

“Fight good fighters and they bring out the best of you,” Joshua said. “Training camp is hard. To get better is very difficult in boxing. To fight Tyson Fury is a big challenge.

“Let’s see how far I can take myself during this period. It’ll be a good challenge mentally. Not about him, but because I actually want to do well.

“When I wake up in the morning early and I’m tired, my body’s battered, I still go out and do what I do. It’s great rewards and only someone like Fury can give that to me.”

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2021

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