London, December 23: Anthony Joshua has denied claims he is scared to face Tyson Fury and is eager to finalise a contract for a much-anticipated unification fight between the heavyweights.
Promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed on Saturday (December 19) a verbal agreement is in place for Joshua to take on Fury next year, most likely in the Middle East due to coronavirus restrictions.
IBF, WBA and WBO title holder Joshua knocked out Kubrat Pulev earlier this month to clear another potential hurdle standing between himself and a lucrative clash with Fury.
He appeared reluctant to call out the WBC champion in the aftermath of the fight at Wembley Arena, saying only that his focus was on securing the fourth heavyweight belt.
Fury accused his fellow Briton of running scared but Joshua is determined to put everything on the line by finalising a date for a money-spinning bout in 2021.
"Whether he really wants it or not, I'm keen," Joshua told Sky Sports. "I basically said, 'If Tyson Fury is the man with the belts, Tyson Fury is the man I want.'
Remain focused pic.twitter.com/QvmYYW30nc— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) December 20, 2020
"That basically says, 'I'll fight anyone who has that belt, there's no problem with the person'. I just want to go for the undisputed championship.
"That's what I was trying to say that night. He took it how he wanted to take it. I've never turned away from a fight. I've never announced a fight and not showed up.
"I've fought six to seven champions, in my short career. Tyson Fury is another one of them.
"There's no reason as to why I see him any different to any other. If Fury is down, I'm ready, I'm keen. I've got four of the major belts, he's got one. I'll take that one from him."
Fury has not stepped in the ring since beating Deontay Wilder to reclaim the WBC heavyweight belt in February, with plans for a trilogy fight halted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Joshua's mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk has suggested he is happy to step aside for now, meanwhile, clearing another obstacle.
"I'm speaking to my management team, and I'm ready. I'm keen," Joshua said. "I've got past my mandatory. Right now, I'm about less talk, more action.
"But the ultimate thing coming from me, I'm ready. The next fight, I want Tyson Fury, the next fight I want the WBC champion, the next fight I want to be for the undisputed championship of the world.
"That being said, they are in conversations now – my management team, my promotional outfit – of the best way to put a package together that can lead us into 2021.
"Hopefully, the pandemic will be done and we can bring someone unity, a good energy to Britain, if we can announce this fight."