Anthony Joshua insists a blockbuster bout against Tyson Fury will “bring out the best in me” after his British rival claimed he would beat the world heavyweight champion in three rounds.
Joshua earned a ninth-round stoppage win against Kubrat Pulev on Saturday to retain his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts at Wembley Arena.
After a successful return to the ring in his first fight for 12 months, Joshua immediately found himself thrown into the debate about a mooted all-British showdown with WBC champion Fury.
Amid reports the hotly-anticipated fight is set for 2021, Fury took to social media to say: “I want the fight, I want the fight next and I will knock him out inside three rounds.”
Joshua has no intention of backing down from the Fury clash, although hurdles in the way of the super-fight include his WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk and another possible meeting between Fury and Deontay Wilder.
“That’s good to hear. At least I can get him in the ring. That’s what we want right? so he’s on the right track,” Joshua told the BBC when asked about Fury’s social media taunts.
“I said he’s talented and he will bring out the best in me. So that’s brilliant.
“I’ve been to his fights, I’ve watched him, so when I fight him it will be good to change those odds and put them in my favour.”
Joshua has a 24-1 career record as he continued to prove his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr in June last year was an aberration.
The 31-year-old looked in good form in front of 1,000 fans against Pulev, who took a standing count in round three and was knocked down twice more in round nine.
“I started this game in 2013, I have been chasing all the belts, I’ve been dealing with mandatories, so of course I want a challenge,” Joshua said.
“For me I stuck to what I know best – boxing, looking at where I am going to put my shots and putting them together.
“When they are successful, they are successful, but like I said it is less talk, more action.”
Now attention is turning to the Fury fight and his promoter Eddie Hearn said work would start on completing a deal on Sunday.
“Sometimes there are words backwards and forwards form both camps – I don’t think that’s going to do any good,” Hearn told the BBC.
“We just all want to make the fight. Now is the time. We will start the ball rolling. I don’t think it’s that difficult.
“The crux of the deal I have always said is agreed now in terms of numbers and money splits. There are only some minor details. So there’s no reason we can’t be up and running.”