Joshua: Fury No Longer Relevant

Anthony Joshua is ready for the most important fight of his life when he takes on Wladimir Klitschko in April, but another name looms large over the heavyweight division. But Tyson Fury, who beat Klitschko in 2015 and was stripped of his titles, is simply not on Joshua’s mind until he comes back and proves his relevance in the sport again.

Joshua (18-0) won the IBF title that Fury was first stripped of, and will now fight Klitschko for the WBA heavyweight belt as well. But Klitschko hasn’t fought since losing to Fury, making it difficult to consider him the king that Joshua needs to dethrone to be crowned the top heavyweight.

Though he hopes Fury will resurface down the road, Joshua says that the disgraced champion is no longer relevant to his journey.

“What you’ve got to remember is that winning is important,” Joshua told reporters following a press conference to promote his fight with Klitschko. “Fury won. Fury beat the man [Klitschko]. But what he’s doing now is not good. You have to know that your plan for when you get in this position. Winning is fine, but the responsibility of being a champion is what’s important.

“So it would be important to beat the man who beat the man, but it’s irrelevant because I realize he has no substance right now. You have to use your position wisely. And that’s why [Klitschko’s] still got the interest, because of how he has manipulated his position and used it wisely. So Fury would be good competition and a good fight for me. But right now, it’s not relevant.”

Fury had been set to defend his titles in a rematch with Klitschko last year, but the fight was twice cancelled, the second time due to Fury’s public troubles with drugs and emotional issues. His boxing license was suspended and he was stripped of the rest of his titles.

While he’s focusing on Klitschko now, the young British champion Joshua does wish Fury the best, and hopes he can return to the ring successfully. Down the line, he may get the chance to fight “the man who beat the man” — but it’s up to Fury to earn his way back.

“I hope he does,” Joshua said. “And I hope he comes back strong. But for now, I can’t really comment. I don’t know.”

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