Anthony Joshua explains why he targeted Tyson Fury in Twitter attack

Gareth A Davies

Anthony Joshua has explained that his decision to target Tyson Fury with an insult on Twitter last week was his desire to "fight fire with fire" and played down the prospect of unifying the belts - and facing Fury - in 2018.

Joshua defended his WBO and WBA heavyweight belts by stopping Carlos Takam at the Principality Stadium last month, and was under fire from potential challenger Fury, and WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

The self-styled 'Gypsy King' was told to "get fit you fat f---" by Joshua, who then repeated his challenge on Sunday.

"Sometimes if a dog barks at you so many times, the other dog needs to bite back and make sure the other dog puts his tail between his legs," he tweeted. Fury bit back immediately, saying that even 10 men like the champion would be unable to do such a thing, labelling Joshua a "punk".

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"I feel like he says a lot of negative things about me, time and time again," Joshua explained in an interview with Sport360 in Dubai. "I try to be professional but remember this is a fighting sport and you have to meet fire with fire now and again. And that's what you have to do with Tyson Fury sometimes. And that's all it was, I just had to bite back. 

"I'm not one of these dogs that stay in the garden barking for hours, I make my noise - and that's it - until we fight I don't need to be hollering and yelling for days and for months. I address the situation and I put it into the back of my mind. I address what's relevant."

Tyson Fury with fans in Marbella, SpainCredit: JULIAN SIMMONDS

Joshua also admitted there is scant likelihood of unifying all the belts - and facing Fury - in 2018.

"That's why I'm like, 2018, even though there's a lot of talk - in reality, isn't going to be like Joseph Parker, Wilder and Tyson Fury all in one year," added the British fighter.

"Deontay Wilder is a potential name in the mix. 100 per cent. It's something that we're taking time to do and actually doing right now. I didn't understand where he was coming from when he said I was 'running scared'. But he is definitely a possible opponent for 2018."

Meanwhile, the management team for Parker have said they were "insulted" by the offer made to the New Zealander by Eddie Hearn to fight Joshua in the first third of 2018, and that negotiations are all but scuppered.

Joseph Parker holds aloft the WBO beltCredit: GETTY IMAGES

David Higgins, a director at Duco Events, wants to end negotiations now, however, after receiving an opening email from Joshua's promoter Hearn.

"I got this weird email from Eddie's email address, but he must have been hacked," Higgins, who wants a 40-60 split for his man, told Sky Sports. "He made the most ridiculously low offer. It could have been the most insulting offer in boxing history."

To expect 40 per cent is actually quite reasonable, because you have earned it, and it's a unification. Of course I have mentioned it to Parker and he just laughed like I did. I'm not going to reply, because I don't think it was Eddie Hearn. I reckon someone hacked his account, it was a scam. I reckon Eddie respects boxing and I reckon Anthony Joshua wouldn't want to insult Joseph Parker."

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