Anthony Joshua expects Tyson Fury to come out of retirement and take him on in “the biggest fight in boxing history”.
Fury last week reaffirmed his intention to quit boxing and has given little indication he will reverse his decision to retire, first taken after beating Dillian Whyte in April.
Yet Joshua, who aims to win back his three world title belts against Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah on Saturday, is confident that Fury will be back for a fight estimated to be worth £200 million and branded the biggest of all time by promoter Eddie Hearn.
“He’s a fighting man and if he gets called out, he will be back,” Joshua told Telegraph Sport. “I can bring him out of retirement, 100 per cent. You know what I’m saying? I think he’ll bring himself out of retirement. There’s nothing for him to do, he’s not thought of his life after boxing so I think he’s pretty bored.
“He’ll end up getting a dog, getting a Ferrari, like to keep yourself busy, there’s not much else to do except walk your dog now so yeah I think he will come out of retirement soon.”
Fury has a deadline of August 26 to confirm to the World Boxing Council, the sanctioning body, that he is giving up his world title belt. And Joshua, the underdog in the sequel with Usyk, added: “It’s a fight we have to have, but however he [Fury] feels is how he feels.”
The Briton is expected to weigh in around 17st 3lb on Friday at the Jeddah Superdome, while Usyk said he is expecting to be “a bit heavier” than the 15st 11lb he weighed 11 months ago.
Joshua said: “I’m always in good spirits and in good shape, but we will find out when the clock strikes midnight on Saturday night here if it is reality or a mirage from the way I feel and act. I figured out many things during training camp and I now need to put them in action.”
Yet there is little doubt that a victory for the British heavyweight will propel all the hype towards an undisputed showdown with Fury, who offered his advice to his British rival on social media, through a video demonstration with assistant trainer Andy Lee, and the caption: “This is how Anthony Joshua needs to attack Oleksandr Usyk’s body. I know the blown-up middleweight can’t take body shots.”