ANTHONY JOSHUA has challenged Tyson Fury to dive into the “deep end” and finally earn his respect as a boxer.
And the WBA, WBO and IBF champion says the two have “nothing to lose” from meeting in a Battle of Britain for the ages next year.
Joshua, 30, and WBC heavyweight king Fury, 31, are believed to have agreed a two-fight deal.
The pair recently discussed their upcoming bouts at a chance meeting in Marbella.
And while it seemed all smiles between them, Joshua lit the touchpaper by saying Fury has done nothing to gain his respect yet and that he is regarded a great only because of his feinting ability.
This despite Fury’s brutal destruction of famed knockout artist Deontay Wilder in their February rematch and his tactical masterclass over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
Joshua said on a Sky YouTube broadcast with fans: “If the sport is lacking so much talent, it shows that all you need is feints and a bit of movement to be called a great.
“I wonder what people see in Fury that is so intimidating that he can’t be touched?
“When you are willing to challenge the best in the division… Wladimir Klitschko was his first real challenge and he won that.
“That took him eight years to get there – from the amateurs to there.
“Then he had years out and fought Wilder.
“But he has not been in the deep end to prove that he can swim there for a long time, you don’t just come there once or twice, you have to do it repeatedly against championship level fighters, that is how you gain my respect.”
Joshua believes the only way to settle it once and for all is for the two to get it on in the ring.
AJ – who is bulking up ahead of his upcoming fight against Kubrat Pulev – added: “I bumped into Fury the other day, it was random, that is the first thing we speak about when we see each other -are we fighting?
“It has to happen, we are both heavyweights in this era. I am keen, I am all up for the big fun nights and creating history.
“There is nothing to lose from us getting in the ring.
“We should just get in and get cracking and give everyone a great night of boxing again.
“We fight for the good nights and the competition, we want to fight the best.
“There’s nothing to lose from this, fighting the best is what it is all about.”