Exclusive: Tyson Fury open to possibility of lucrative heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua

Gareth A Davies
Tyson Fury has been told he can keep his Ring Magazine world heavyweight belt - Dave Thompson

The prospect of Tyson Fury fighting Anthony Joshua has increased with the Lancastrian ready to confirm his return to the ring in the next month.

Fury is being permitted by the Ring Magazine to hold on to the heavyweight division’s No 1 status belt if he has a fight scheduled within 29 days, according to the editor of the renowned publication, and the fighter has told Telegraph Sport he plans to meet this deadline.

The Ring Magazine awards its belt to the fighter deemed No 1 in each weight division and Fury, its holder after outboxing Wladimir Klitschko in Düsseldorf in November 2015 to win by a unanimous points decision, became the heavyweight holder last year. Michael Rosenthal, the editor of the Ring Magazine, told Telegraph Sport: “Fury has been told that if he has a fight booked within a month of Joshua and Klitschko fighting at Wembley, he will retain the belt.”

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Telegraph Sport can reveal that Fury intends to attempt to do so and has already started training in a gym in Marbella, with several stone to lose and the desire to get himself mentally, emotionally and physically fit again. Fury contacted Telegraph Sport last week to confirm he wanted to attempt to hold on to the belt.

Fury, out through mental heath issues and the admission of taking cocaine, still has a hearing with UK-Anti-Doping this month, and will have to get a Boxing Board licence again depending on what ban, if any, the undefeated fighter, receives.

The lure, of course, is a contest with Joshua, which could conceivably be much bigger than the fight with Klitschko. The demand would be huge from British boxing fans, the two fighters should be keen to see who is the dominant boxer in the division and it would be extremely lucrative.

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With Joshua v Klitschko breaking pay-per-view records in Britain and reaching an estimated 1.4 million buys in homes and public houses, the two are expected to have earned £15 million apiece.

Should Fury and Joshua collide in a battle of the Britons, that pay-per-view record would almost certainly be broken again. With bragging rights, belts and big budgets on the table, this is a contest which looks destined to happen as soon as Fury has regained his fighter status. Having the Ring Magazine belt simply strengthens his position for negotiation.

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