AJ says he wants to 'take Tyson Fury's head off his shoulders'

Anthony Joshua says he wants to ‘take Tyson Fury’s head off his shoulders’ and settle the score over an old Rolex promised to him after their famous 2010 spar – and reveals he’s targeting SEVEN more years at the top

  • Rivals Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are in talks over a blockbuster fight in May
  • Joshua stoked the fires of that rivalry by saying he wants to take Fury’s head off
  • AJ was promised he could have Fury’s Rolex if he beat him in a sparring session
  • The now WBC champion Fury admitted AJ gave him ‘a killing’ in sparring in 2010
  • Joshua says he wants the Fury fight but will let his fans pick his next opponent

Anthony Joshua has revealed he wants seven more years at the top – but his immediate priority is to settle a score with Tyson Fury over an old Rolex.

Joshua confirmed on Tuesday that progress has been made in the past week over the proposed £200m showdown in May 2021 that would be one of the biggest events in British sporting history.

Having initially resisted opportunities to stoke fires of that rivalry with Fury in the wake of beating Kubrat Pulev, Joshua has now escalated the narrative by saying he wants to ‘take Fury’s head off his shoulders’.

Anthony Joshua stoked the fires ahead of his potentially huge Tyson Fury fight by saying he wants to ‘take his head off his shoulders’

Fury is in talks with heavyweight rival Joshua over a blockbuster Battle of Britain for May time

It came amid a reminiscence of his famous sparring encounter with the WBC champion in 2010. Audio footage has recently resurfaced in which Fury, then an emerging professional, admitted he took a ‘beating’ from the 20-year-old amateur.

That session came with the caveat that if Joshua or any other heavyweight could beat Fury, they could take his Rolex, although the watch never ultimately changed hands.

With a super-fight between the Brits now closer than ever to materialising, Joshua, 31, said: ‘All I wanted was his Rolex watch. He said before that spar (to Boxing News), “If you can beat me up or knock me out, you can have my Rolex watch”.

‘I was hungry then and I am even hungrier now. It was a good spar. I didn’t really know too much, it was just passion. Now I have some boxing IQ and passion, I know it will be a great fight.

‘There was a Rolex but now there is an even bigger pot of gold at the end of this rainbow and I want to take his head off his shoulders when that fight happens.’

Fury (pictured right, in 2011) admits he nearly got knocked out by Joshua back in 2010

AJ (in 2010, the year he sparred Fury) says he was promised his rival’s Rolex but never got it

Joshua, the IBF, WBA and WBO champion, added: ‘After the Pulev fight I didn’t want to do any interviews – less talk and more action. I stood by that. But now that we’re talking about it, a week or so after, and I’m ready, I’m keen. If that fight happens I’m sure that I’ll win. How close are we? I promise you conversations are happening. We’re definitely looking at the landscape. But until you hear it from me, don’t buy into anything.

‘I’m taking my time – because there has been a lot of back-and-forth for years. I’ve been chasing this road to undisputed and when the time is right I’ll announce it and I’ll have my mind fully focused on the job at hand.

‘The offers will be made, substantial offers. I’m looking more optimistically as if it will happen to be honest with you. He should take this fight with both hands.

‘I promise you this: I will put in a serious offer to fight Tyson Fury and if he’s serious himself, he will take it. If he’s not I will fight (Oleksandr) Usyk and leave it there.’

Usyk is among the complications around the fight for the undisputed title, given the Ukrainian is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBO belt.

With the WBO currently holding Joshua to his obligation to fight Usyk next, Joshua could have to vacate the belt in order to complete negotiations with Fury. Asked about giving up one of his titles, Joshua said: ‘The belts do make it special but I feel like the cries from the public are just for me to fight Tyson Fury.

AJ said his team will make a serious offer to Fury but could end up fighting him later in 2021

Oleksandr Usyk is Joshua’s WBO mandatory and would need to step aside to allow Fury fight

‘I am the sort of guy who will let my team just put a social media poll and whatever the fans vote, I will do. If they want to see me fight Fury, and I have to relinquish… There is nothing more in it than me wanting to compete against the best.

‘If that is Tyson Fury, then fine. If they want me to fight Usyk, and get him out of the way, then fine. I believe I will beat Usyk and then Tyson Fury can happen at the end of the year. Either way, I am just doing my next couple of fights next year on what the public wants me to do.’

In terms of his future, Joshua indicated he has a point in mind for when he will retire.

He said: ‘I have a time frame, I want to go to around 38.

‘I am not just looking at Tyson Fury, but how long I can give to the sport. What more do I have to give? I am young and fit, I don’t do anything else so boxing is fun for me and keeps me busy.

‘Tyson Fury is a good challenger, someone to help me progress, he will be a great learning fight. And, once that is done, I will go on competing with the best, challenging myself and making history.’

Joshua, who wants to fight on until he’s 38, created a rescue package for amateur boxing clubs

Meanwhile, Joshua has created a major rescue package for struggling amateur boxing clubs – and has backed the Daily Mail’s campaign to save grassroots sport.

The unified heavyweight world champion has stepped up to make a ‘substantial’ financial donation to the sport’s national amateur governing bodies in England, Wales and Scotland amid serious fears that clubs will soon close because of the pandemic.

Joshua, whose life was transformed when he entered Finchley ABC as a problematic teenager in 2007, has also called on the Government to do more to tackle the grassroots sport crisis. In revealing that his decision to get involved in the fight to save amateur boxing was influenced by reading Sportsmail’s story on Britain’s oldest club, Repton, Joshua said: ‘We need to bring attention to the boxing industry and how important grassroots sport is.

‘I definitely think boxing gyms will go under (without help). It came to my attention when I read the article from Repton, about understanding the costs of what it takes to keep the gym open. Not only keeping the gym open, but the income they have made independently to keep going and it’s been really, really tough.

‘There are clubs who are struggling even worse. That’s why I feel it’s important to bring attention to this issue. Without the amateur system, the grassroots clubs, there are no Olympians and without them there are no world champions in the country.’

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