Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) has dismissed the relevance of the lineal heavyweight championship in an interview on ESPN’s ‘First Take’ with Max Kellerman.
His comments come after domestic rival and lineal champion Tyson Fury 27-0-1 (19) was held to a controversial draw against American WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder 40-0-1 (39) in Los Angeles on December 1.
“I’m not interested in Tyson Fury. He’s not the champion, that’s where I’m coming from,” insisted Joshua.
“That lineal status, when I was joining the heavyweight ranks, no-one told me about the lineal champion. I knew about WBC, IBO, IBF, WBA and WBO. And I’ve got my hands on four of them. So I don’t know where this ‘lineal’ has just popped out of the woodworks from.
“But if I’ve got to get my hands on that too, and that’s what the world’s interested in, Fury can step in if he’s serious.
“I want to fight the champions. I’m the one leading the pack – I’ve been doing that since I made my debut. Five years in, seven world title defences and I’m running the game, I mean business.
“I don’t know what more I have to do to get that message across to the world.”
The 29-year-old Joshua, who is scheduled to return to the ring on April 13 at Wembley Stadium, says he is prepared to face Wilder in his very next bout.
“I’m willing to fight Deontay Wilder, April 13 in London,” said Joshua, who was involved in protracted negotiations with the Wilder camp earlier this year to make the fight that ended acrimoniously.
“I don’t know what more I have to do to get that message across. I can’t control what Deontay Wilder does, I can’t control what Tyson Fury does or even as far as what they say.
“But what I can do is control what I say and what I’m doing. I made sure with the negotiations I booked the date in advance, set the venue in advance.
“And I’m making my point clear in front of everyone watching. I’m willing to fight any one of these guys, especially the champion, Deontay Wilder, April 13 at Wembley. What more can I say?”