Anthony Joshua says Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fights ‘have to happen in 2020’

Jack de Menezes
Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder are the top three heavyweights in the world: Getty

Anthony Joshua has said that the eagerly-anticipated heavyweight showdowns with Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury “has to happen in 2020” following years of the trio dodging each other.

Joshua is weighing up his future plans after regaining the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles last weekend in defeating Andy Ruiz Jr, with his plans moving him on from the Mexican-American due to the convincing unanimous points victory.

The 29-year-old once again holds three of the four world titles, with American Wilder possessing the WBC title that he will defend against Fury on 22 February.

However, Joshua is widely expected to fight both of his main heavyweight rivals, though the complex issue of mandatory challengers and scheduled fights means they could still be years away from finally meeting in the squared-circle.

But upon his return to London, Joshua expressed his desire to fight at least one of them over the next 12 months, dangling a carrot in front of fight fans who are desperate to see how the balance of power between the trio will pay out.

“It has to happen in 2020 and we’re in the same division, the same era,” Joshua said on BBC Radio 2’s The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show.

“If these guys want to make history – especially Wilder because he has the last belt – I feel like it’s the Lord of the Rings, the last ring, let’s get it on, let’s make history. We created history becoming two-time champion of the world and I feel like we can add to that legacy in 2020.”

Joshua hopes to fight again in March as part of a plan to box three times over the next calendar year, though what looks set to be a London homecoming will not be against Fury or Wilder due to their February rematch.

Instead, Joshua has confirmed that his next opponent will be either Kubrat Pulev, the IBF mandatory challenger, or Oleksandr Usyk, who Joshua has been given 180 days by the WBO to fight, meaning that a trilogy fight against fellow British heavyweight Dillian Whyte will have to be put on the backburner for the foreseeable future.

Joshua added: “It’s Kubrat Pulev or Usyk because Wilder and Fury are pencilled to fight, and what happens is a mandatory so there’s rankings and both of those guys are ranked No 1 to challenge me for the belts.

“If I don’t fight those guys I’d have to give up my belts and I’d rather fight to defend it.”

On his next fight taking place at the state-of-the-art Tottenham Stadium – as has been suggested by Joshua himself – the Watford native said: “Why not? I don’t mind where it is. It’s good to be back on London soil I think so Tottenham, if that’s the case, I’ll be happy with that.”

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