By Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – Tyson Fury doesn’t deny that he wants to fight Anthony Joshua at some point.
Though fully focused on challenging WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder, Fury knows boxing Joshua anywhere in the United Kingdom would earn him a massive amount of money.
If Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) beats the slightly favored Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) on Saturday night at Staples Center, fighting Joshua also would afford Fury an opportunity to prove he is unquestionably boxing’s best heavyweight.
The IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles he would win if Fury beat Joshua just wouldn’t mean all that much to the lineal champion. From Fury’s perspective, Joshua only won those titles because Fury gave up those belts to seek treatment for alcoholism, cocaine addiction and depression after his upset of Wladimir Klitschko three years ago.
“Listen, I’m already number one,” Fury said. “So I don’t need to beat Deontay Wilder to prove that, because I’m not any old champion. So I can’t move up any more spaces. But if he beats me, he can become number one. But if I beat him, I stay where I am. The belts that AJ has are only belts he picked out of the garbage tin, because they were all given to him by me – every single one of them. So them belts are of no interest to me. I already have all of them belts in me front room, all in the cabinet, displayed.”
Boxing champions typically keep their belts even once they’re dethroned by opponents who are issued new belts by sanctioning organizations.
The 29-year-old Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) won his first title, the IBF belt, from American Charles Martin (25-2-1, 23 KOs). Joshua, of Watford, England, knocked out Martin in the second round of their April 2016 fight at O2 Arena in London.
Joshua added the WBA and IBO belts when he stopped Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) in the 11th round of their epic encounter in April 2017 at London’s Wembley Stadium. Eleven months later, Joshua defeated New Zealand’s Joseph Parker (24-2, 18 KOs) by unanimous decision to take the WBO crown from Parker at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Fury, meanwhile, is concerned now only with winning the one title he didn’t take from Klitschko when he beat the huge Ukrainian by unanimous decision in November 2015 in Dusseldorf, Germany.
“The only one I’m missing is the green one, which I’m gonna get on December the 1st,” Fury said. “So yeah, the belts are unimportant. I’m only interested in one more belt. That’s the green one. That’s the one I’m taking home. And does it matter who’s number two or number three? No. The only position I’m interested in is first. And that’s it.”
Wilder-Fury is the main event of a four-fight Showtime Pay-Per-View telecast Saturday night. The show is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and costs $74.99 to watch in HD in the United States.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.