Anthony Joshua rejects Tyson Fury accusations as undisputed clash edges closer

Tyson Fury jumps into the sea despite cold conditions

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Anthony Joshua has dismissed claims from heavyweight rival Tyson Fury that he is holding up the negotiation process as a deal to mandate two highly-anticipated unification fights between the pair continues to move closer towards completion. Joshua and Fury have long been tipped to face each other in the ring, with the victor in line to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999.

Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn has repeatedly claimed that an agreement is tantalisingly close, with the first bout expected to take place in June of this year.

The deal is yet to be rubber-stamped, with Hearn and Fury’s promoter Bob Arum still aiming to thrash out a number of details including the location, which seems likely to be finalised in the not-too-distant future.

Both fighters have been vocal in their dislike of one another on social media, with Fury in particular not shying away from the war of words.

He suggested in a tweet last week that Joshua may be suffering from cold feet ahead of the bout, labelling the Watford-born fighter a ‘chicken’ and claiming that he does not share the same enthusiasm about the potential super-fight.

Joshua has since rubbished Fury’s accusation, stressing that he would rather trade blows in the ring than continue to engage in Twitter warfare.

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“I don’t know what it is for him, but all I want to do is beat him,” Joshua told JD. “He’s in my industry and we’re both front runners, but I want to be number one – this is to be undisputed world heavyweight champion.

“Enough of this Twitter back and forth, it’s about securing the fight and putting on a good show and using my energy to uplift people not bring them down.

“I don’t want to demonise his character and use my energy to bring someone down. I know I can beat him, I believe it and I will prove it.

“So in June I’m looking to defend my titles and I’m looking to claim one more as well. I want all the smoke, I’m looking to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

“I’ve been chasing it, I’m born for it and I’m definitely going to do it.”

Both Joshua and Fury are widely regarded as the best fighters in the division by a long stretch, but for very different reasons.

The former is renowned for his big-punching knockout artistry while the ‘Gypsy King’ is generally considered to be the better all-round boxer, with his unpredictability always posing a unique challenge for opponents.

Former super-middleweight champion Carl Froch suggested in December that Fury would go into the first fight as the overwhelming favourite, but refused to rule out the possibility of a Joshua knockout.

“I think the only way that Anthony Joshua can win this fight is by stoppage,” Froch told Sky Sports. “He can’t outbox Fury, who is too good at range. He throws punches from all angles and he’s so awkward.

“But Joshua is an Olympic gold medallist with strong fundamentals and he’s got combination punches with real aggression. If he produces the same finishing instinct that he’s shown in past fights, then he can beat Fury.

“AJ can get him out of there, I think he can, because you saw bursts of his aggression in the Kubrat Pulev fight. If AJ maintains that, there’s a chance he could stop him.

“But the problem is, if he doesn’t stop Fury, then he’s going to lose on points.”

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