In Brief

Wembley 'booked' for Joshua vs Fury in April 2018

Boxer claims stage is all set for a heavyweight confrontation next year

Former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury claims Wembley Stadium has been booked for an all-British showdown with Anthony Joshua next April.

"[Promoter] Eddie Hearn has already booked Wembley Stadium for next April," he told the Daily Telegraph. "There isn't another stadium where it should take place."

However, the 28-year-old boxer still has hurdles to overcome before he returns to the ring. He has not fought since beating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 and in the past 18 months, has battled mental health issues and failed a drugs test.He is now training on the Costa del Sol and hopes to overturn his suspended drugs ban at a UK Anti-Doping hearing this week.

His appearance in front of the panel is "arguably the most important day of his career", says Gareth A Davies of the Telegraph.

"Fury – who divides his time in Spain between gruelling work-outs at the MTK Gym and pounding runs along the waterfront – had already been determined to make a comeback, but Joshua's victory over Klitschko at Wembley nine days ago has sharpened his focus.

"Boxing's heavyweight division might be big box office right now – with four undefeated champions in Fury and Anthony Joshua, the New Zealander Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder, of America, all vying for overall supremacy – but Fury is convinced he can defy his sceptics and prove himself the rightful number one."

Fury plans to return to the ring in July, fighting on the undercard when Billy Joe Saunders goes for the world middleweight title in London.

After that he intends to fight Joshua at Wembley - and has already begun the mind games.

"I would fight Joshua in October but I believe Klitschko will take the rematch," he told the Telegraph.

"Deep down, I don't think they want to fight me yet. Joshua struggled with Klitschko. And I took Klitschko to school, toyed with him, put my hands behind my back, literally, while he was letting his cannons go, slipping out of the way of them. They are not ready for that."

Joshua vs Fury: Heavyweight battle of Britain on the cards

02 May

Anthony Joshua has called for a Battle of Britain after his sensational stoppage of Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday evening.

The 27-year-old Londoner defeated the veteran Ukrainian in 11 exhilarating rounds to add the WBA heavyweight belt to his IBF title, and now Joshua has Tyson Fury in his sights.

He called him out in the aftermath of the fight on Saturday, asking: "Fury where you at, baby?" And now that the dust has settled on a seismic night for heavyweight boxing, Joshua has reaffirmed his desire to take on his fellow Briton, who has been out of action for 18 months.

Fury beat Klitschko in November 2015 to become the undisputed world champion but the controversial "gypsy king" was stripped of his IBF belt after only ten days because he refused to honour a rematch clause included in the contract for fighting Klitschko. Fury subsequently vacated the WBA, WBO, and IBO titles in 2016 because of medical issues and it's believed he will make his comeback on 8 July against Avtandil Khurtsidze in London.

For the moment the fight remains a long way off but given the two fighters' images it would be a promoter's dream to pit the clean-cut Joshua against the foul-mouthed Fury.

"Yeah, that's a fight that would bring massive attention from the top to the bottom," said Joshua. "It would be nice to fight a real villain."

That's a description that certainly applies to Fury and even although he doesn't have a title to put on the line Joshua can see the appeal for fight fans.

"I have heard and seen people talking and it seems like it is heading in that direction," he told Sky Sports. "I just like to entertain and if that's a fight that will bring entertainment to the sport again, I would love to be involved in another dust-up but this time it would be two Brits coming together."

There is also the possibility of a rematch with Klitschko, something that Joshua would welcome although the new champion expressed reservations that it would happen. "I think he will want to because a fighter is the last one to know when it's time to stop," he said. "But I think the team around him, i.e. his wife - and they normally wear the trousers - and his brother, they will advise him differently."

Joshua picked himself up off the canvas to stop Klitschko in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley, a performance that is sure to bring the new champion untold riches. "When I first started my career my aim was to become a millionaire," explained Joshua, who banked £15m for his win. “I need to be a billionaire."

And veteran sports promoter Barry Hearn, whose son Eddie manages Joshua, told The Sun that will happen. "He could easily be the first billionaire in boxing," he said. "He's still young. At 27 he has at least ten years ahead of him in the ring and if he keeps winning the money will keep coming. His commercial potential outside the ring is huge, way beyond Beckham and the world's top footballers... with modern marketing techniques he could go to another level."

Joshua, who was knocked down by Klitschko in the sixth round on Saturday, combined with the Ukrainian, to produce one of the great heavyweight fights in history, and he says that excitement is what he always tried to bring to his boxing. "I don't just like to win, I like to win in a fashion because it adds stock to my value," he said. "There are many ways to skin a cat. Different opponents bring different styles and that ticked the boxes from [the point of view of] entertainment, pride, and glory."

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