Anthony Joshua has his sights set firmly on a heavyweight unification bout with Tyson Fury despite his mandatory defence against Oleksandr Usyk coming on September 25.
The WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO belt holder looked all set to face the WBC king across two blockbuster bouts, but Fury will now be taking part in a trilogy fight against Deontay Wilder in October.
With many boxing fans hoping to see the Brits come through unscathed so they can then meet order in early 2022, the pair have been exchanging words through the media.
With Fury saying that he has recently shared a phone call with the London 2012 Olympic Gold medalist, Joshua wants the proposed meeting to bring the best out of him.
"Do I need Tyson Fury on my record? I need it," Joshua told Steve Bunce on the 5 Live Boxing podcast.
"Fight good fighters and they bring out the best of you."
Later adding: "We need it for boxing.
"Training camp is hard. To get better is very difficult in boxing. To fight Tyson Fury is a big challenge.
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"I'm going to put that pressure on myself to actually get better. But it's what we all need, I need it. Come on, let's see how good I am.
"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."
That came after Fury told Queensberry's The Lowdown: “I have definitely encountered the true Anthony Joshua. He's not a nice person, he's sort of a bully.
"He's someone who thought he was gonna put the bluff on me. That’s what type of person he is.
“He phoned me up one day in a mood to say he was gonna do this to me and do that to me. It didn’t fare too well for him, let’s just say that – just out of the blue, he decided to give me a call, a telling off call.
“I don’t think he liked what he heard on the end of it, there’d be no telling me off anyway. I just told him the truth and the truth always hurts.”
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