Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 23-1 (21) has questioned why it took so long for Tyson Fury 30-0-1 (21) to win a world title, suggesting the reigning WBC heavyweight champion is nearing the end of his career.
Fury, now 32, had his first professional bout in December 2008 and built a record of 24-0 before facing and defeating Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA, IBF and WBO world titles in Germany seven years later.
Joshua claimed the IBF strap in just his third year as a pro when he knocked out Chris Martin in two rounds in his 16th professional bout in April 2016.
“Fury has been professional much longer than me. He should be looking to retire soon,” the 30-year-old IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion told Sky Sports.
“If he wants to cement his legacy, I’m here and ready. I’ve built myself into this position.”
The rival heavyweights have an in-principle agreement in place to face each other twice in 2021 providing they win their next bouts.
Joshua is scheduled to make a mandatory defence of his titles against Kubrat Pulev 28-1 (14) in December, while Fury is contractually obliged to meet former WBC champion Deontay Wilder 42-1-1 (41) for a third time.
“I’ll challenge Fury, I’ll challenge Wilder,” Joshua said. “These guys aren’t the biggest names that I’ve fought on my record anyway. They are just another heavyweight.
“Look at my record. They are not the best fighters that I have challenged.
“When they are ready, I’m here to fight.”
Joshua won gold at the London Olympics in 2012 and was put on a fast track to world honours as a pro.
He made six defences of the IBF belt he picked up from Martin, including wins over Klitschko, Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin, picking up the WBA and WBO belts along the way before his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in June last year.
Joshua reversed that result in their rematch in Saudi Arabia last December.
“I came up quick. That shows I’m ready. These boys turned professional in 2008 and it took [Fury seven years] to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world,” said Joshua.
“He’s on a completely different journey. I want to steam through.
“I haven’t got fear of Fury – whether he’s got a better chin than me, a better jab than me, whether he’s all of this stuff that people say. So be it. Let me go in there and prove myself. Show you who I am and what I can do.
“I’ve fought five champions and been in two unification fights. I’m a two-time heavyweight champion in the space of 24 fights and a [seven-year] career. It shows you I am serious.
“If Fury is serious, I’ll take that fight seriously too.”
Earlier this week Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing insisted the four-belt unification bout must take place.
“Fury against AJ’s a must,” Hearn said. “I saw the comments [by Fury and his co-promoter Frank Warren], ‘They don’t want it, they don’t want it.’
“You have to understand: Why would you not want the fight that’s the biggest ever for British boxing history?”
He added: “I spoke to [Fury’s co-promoter] Bob Arum. We’ve been having some deep conversations about that fight all week. Actually, me and Bob are ready to move forward and close that fight now.”