ANTHONY JOSHUA does not want to fight Tyson Fury until his British rival is back to his best.
The WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion will face Alexander Povetkin on Saturday as the self-proclaimed Gypsy King prepares for a showdown with Deontay Wilder.
Fury has beaten Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta since his return to the ring after almost three years out of action.
But speaking to Sky Sports, Joshua said: “That’s why I wouldn’t fight Fury now, because I want Fury at his best, so there is no claim to say that I took him out when he was…
“You know, for me I’ve only said that I would fight Fury at his best.
“I said let him get over his issues, let him come back and get fit again. But if the thinks he’s ready, he’s ready.
“But me being a fighter, I think you need learning fights after a three-year lay-off.
“Klitschko had a 17-month lay-off before he fought me because Fury pulled out twice and people say he ‘had a 17-month lay-off, he weren’t the same’, so what is Fury going to do after a three-year lay off.
“It shows that people have concerns about people that have time out of the ring.”
Fury has claimed that he only wants one more warm-up fight before he goes to Las Vegas in November to take on the Bronze Bomber.
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And he has insisted that AJ and promoter Eddie Hearn do not want anything to do with him and had not contacted him regarding a fight in April.
The 30-year-old said: “Here’s how I know Matchroom, Eddie Hearn and [Anthony] Joshua are frightened to death of the Gypsy King and want no part of me.
“Here’s the reason – this fight with me and [Deontay] Wilder’s been announced and talked about yeah, contracts are being sorted – whatever, all the negotiation period – we have had no contract from Mathroom or Joshua or Eddie Hearn.”
But Joshua took the chance to wish both of the heavyweights good luck before their highly anticipated bout.
AJ added: “Good luck to Wilder, good luck to Fury. It’s taken them a long time to actually have meaningful fights.
“As I said, they have been professional nine going on 10 years, and they finally having a fight.
“Because I think they realise that from myself, they have looked across the other side of the pond and said ‘well this young kid has come up, been in meaningful fights, and he’s gaining the respect of the boxing public, maybe we should do the same’.
“Wilder just fought Ortiz – that was a close scrape – and Fury three years ago was the one to fight Wladimir Klitschko.
“It took a long time and now they are finally fighting each other.
“For me, nine to 10 years as a professional, I’ll be thinking about retirement.
“I’ve gone in and taken the risks instead of nine to 10 years to come and say, ‘hang on a minute, I haven’t had a defining fight’ – that’s not the way I want to go.”
And he confirmed that he will fight the winner out of Fury and Wilder.
He said: “Whoever wins out of Wilder and Fury will now come and fight me, god willing I beat Alexander Povetkin, for a chance to prove themselves.
“So they realise you have to fight stiff competition in order to put your name in a position to fight the toughest challengers out there.
“I just think without my name in it, them guys wouldn’t have fought each other.”