Anthony Joshua believes a bout with Tyson Fury in December is his "only chance" to face off against the Gypsy King, promoter Eddie Hearn has said.
Fury has offered terms to his compatriot for a bout in December, with the WBC belt on the line, for a fight long hailed as the 'Battle of Britain'.
A bout has been a long time coming, with an agreement in place for the pair to fight in Saudi Arabia last year before a court ordered Fury to honour his rematch with Deontay Wilder, who he subsequently beat in Las Vegas.
However, hopes of a unified clash with Joshua were ended by AJ's defeat to Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, who then won the rematch with his fellow 2012 Olympic gold medallist last month.
That appeared to spell an end for Joshua at the summit of the heavyweight game, at least temporarily, but Fury has moved swiftly to offer an opportunity to his rival – with Hearn explaining Joshua's thinking is that this is his only shot.
"He thinks: this is my only chance, because if he fights Usyk, win or lose I think he'll retire or you never know with Fury, he could just never fight again," he told Sky Sports.
"The reason he accepts these terms is he feels this is the only chance he'll get to fight Tyson Fury. So, therefore, okay, it would have been better to come off a victory but we're here and [Joshua thinks] I can beat him and I feel good.
"When he drew to [Deontay] Wilder, we offered Fury the fight against AJ and we offered him 60-40 and he said no and he said I'll only take 50-50.
"That's one of the reasons I wanted to push back on some of the terms. But in the end it was AJ who overruled and said no just accept it. He's always believed he can beat him."
The next step to scheduling the fight is the signing of the contracts and, while Hearn perceives no issues with that, he is still wary as to whether Fury is genuine.
"Broadcasters need to have their discussions. Which I don't think will be a problem. It's actually not that complicated," he added.
"If they're genuine and George [Warren] tells me they are, then I think the fight will get made. I think George feels his instructions are to make the fight. But you just never know with Tyson Fury. Is this a ploy to speed up the Usyk fight, get more money from a site?
"It might have been a bluff, or a bit of publicity that actually turns into it happening. Or maybe it was genuine from the start. It could be anything. That's a sceptical view but right now I'm going along the lines of I believe him because I want to be positive and work together to make it happen."
Whether or not it is Fury that Joshua faces off against, Hearn has made it clear AJ will return to the ring before the end of the year.
"We've been looking at opponents for AJ for December and his list is very different to my list. So I don't think he's interested in opponents that he's just going to get no credit or respect for. Straight away when I asked him about this fight, he went, 'Let's do it'," he explained.
"He hasn't got any major injuries or anything like that. They want to do it. I think he's coming off a decent performance," the promoter added. "He just fancies the fight and fancies his chances. He's willing to roll the dice."