Marvin Hagler hopes Deontay Wilder beats Tyson Fury so he can take on Anthony Joshua in a heavyweight unification bout he believes is "way overdue".

WBC champion Wilder and Fury fought out a controversial draw at Staples Center in December 2018, with the latter knocked down twice and somehow getting up from the canvas in a dramatic 12th round.

The pair will renew their rivalry in Las Vegas on Saturday and Hagler – the former undisputed middleweight champion – hopes it proves to be a significant step towards the American meeting IBF, WBA and WBO king Joshua in the ring.

"It's great to see the heavyweights come back into the picture again, because they've been out of focus for a long time," Hagler told Omnisport ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards.

"Guys like Tyson Fury bring a lot of excitement; he's a character. And Wilder is a type of person who's unpredictable – you really don't know what kind of style he's going to come into the fight with.

"I don't think he's going to fight Fury the same way as the first time. I believe this time too that he's going to make sure that if he gets him down, he's not going to be able to get up.

"I'm looking forward to the fight. It's an unpredictable fight because you don't know what game plan they're going to have going into this fight.

"I can't predict anybody, but I'd like to see Wilder get a shot at it because I'd like to see him and Anthony Joshua, because that fight is way overdue.

"I don't think now it's about money, it's a personal thing between the two of them: who wants to be champion of the world?"

Speaking about the Laureus World Sports Awards, Hagler added: "I think this is our 18th year that we've been here. It's a great thing to see Laureus with the 20th anniversary this year, everyone's excited about that.

"I can't believe I've been here 18 years, just with all the other great celebrities in the sports world, getting to know them and getting to see that everything we do is volunteering, so it's a great feeling when you're able to give something back and that's what all of us are doing."

Anthony Joshua believes fellow British heavyweight star Tyson Fury has what it takes to dethrone WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

Wilder and Fury face each other in a rematch in Las Vegas next weekend, 14 months on from a thrilling split-decision draw.

Fury outboxed his American foe for long spells of their December 2018 encounter but was forced to climb off the canvas twice – including from a heavy knockdown in a dramatic final round.

Joshua holds the other three major belts in the heavyweight division after avenging his sole career loss to Andy Ruiz Jr.

Although he appreciates the clamour for him to face fellow knockout artist Wilder, he is rooting for Fury and suggested the latter's more rounded skillset should prevail.

"Wilder coming through is better because [a fight with me] is what people have been eagerly anticipating," Joshua told Sky Sports.

"But I think Fury can win. For Wilder to win he has to knock Fury completely out, and he couldn't do that the first time.

"For Fury to win, he can hurt Wilder or outbox him. Fury has more to his arsenal, so that's why I'm leaning to him.

"Fury can punch a bit. He's underestimated with his punching power, which makes him dangerous. If you underestimate someone it makes them dangerous because you don't respect them until you get hit.

"Fury is a really good boxer, to a certain degree, so he has the upper hand. Wilder isn't the best of boxers but he has a right hand - if you can avoid that, you have the beating of him."

Joshua is expected to return to action in June against his IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.

Everybody loves an underdog, or so the saying goes, but Mike Tyson would probably disagree.

It was 30 years ago that the American powerhouse suffered a shock defeat to James 'Buster' Douglas, his perfect record ruined in stunning fashion.

The bout assumed top spot on the list of the greatest upsets in boxing history.

Here, Omnisport looks back on some of the sport's biggest surprises.

February 15, 1978: 'The Greatest' loses Spinks epic

Muhammad Ali was a 1-10 favourite when he first faced Leon Spinks, a man fighting professionally for only the eighth time, in Las Vegas.

After a titanic battle between boxing's biggest star and his unfancied opponent, Ali looked to have done just enough when the first scorecard was read out in his favour.

However, the two remaining judges decided Spinks was the winner, despite conceding almost two stones in weight to Ali. A rematch in September of that year produced the opposite result.
 

February 11, 1990: Iron Mike stopped by Buster Douglas

The Tokyo Dome played host to arguably THE biggest boxing upset in history, as Tyson lost his unbeaten record, which had read 37-0 with 33 KOs, to the unheralded Douglas.

Only one casino offered odds on Douglas winning the fight, his price a staggering 42-1. Yet that is what happened, with Tyson left to rue a lack of preparation for a contest he had presumed would prove a breeze.

'Iron Mike' was sent to the canvas in round 10, his aura of invincibility permanently shattered. In a tweet some 23 years later, Tyson, mastering the art of understatement, called it a "bad day at the office".


April 22, 2001: Rahman rocks Lewis

Hasim Rahman spent a month in South Africa, training at high altitude, ahead of his heavyweight world title fight with Lennox Lewis in Gauteng. In contrast, reigning champion Lewis was there only half as long, instead training in Las Vegas so he could film scenes for a cameo appearance in Ocean's Eleven.

Like Tyson before him, Lewis would pay a heavy price for his apparent over-confidence, as Rahman secured a spectacular knockout victory in the fifth round.

A subsequent rematch saw Rahman beaten in four, with a fiercely focused Lewis earning redemption.


March 8, 2003: Sanders dethrones Klitschko

Corrie Sanders was not expected to trouble WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko on German soil, yet the South African sensationally tore up the script.

Sanders caught the great Klitschko with a left hand late in the first round and knocked him to the canvas another three times in the brief but dramatic bout.

There were boos from an expectant crowd when Klitschko was stopped early in the second, with Sanders having only fought three rounds since being knocked out by Rahman in 2000.


June 1, 2019: Ruiz stuns Joshua

A late replacement, Ruiz shattered Anthony Joshua's American dream - and in the famous boxing venue of Madison Square Garden, too.

The portly California-born pugilist lived up to his nickname of 'The Destroyer', picked himself up off the canvas after being floored by Joshua to put the champion down twice before the end of an eventful third round.

Joshua gathered himself and kept on fighting, but Ruiz knocked him down twice early in the seventh before referee Mike Griffin stopped the fight with the Englishman back on his feet but looking shell-shocked.

Eddie Hearn has revealed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is the front runner to stage Anthony Joshua's next fight, which is set to be against Kubrat Pulev in June.

Saudi Arabia hosted Joshua's previous outing, the heavyweight regaining the IBF, WBA and WBO titles with a unanimous points win in his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in December.

Having avenged the only defeat of his professional career at the end of last year, the 30-year-old is now keen for a homecoming in 2020.

His last bout on English soil was back in September 2018, when he stopped Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium. The initial encounter with Ruiz took place in New York the following June, at the famous Madison Square Garden.

Joshua's clash with IBF mandatory challenger Pulev in London is now close to being agreed, according to promoter Hearn, with the pair set to meet at Spurs' impressive new home.

"We're very close. I had a meeting with AJ last night," Hearn told Sky Sports News. "We've had offers in from the Far East, Middle East, Africa, America, Turkey.

"But he [Joshua] has made it very clear to me: 'I want to come home. I want to box in London next. I've been to Madison Square Garden, I've been to Saudi Arabia, bring me home. Forget the other offers, bring me home.'

"He wants to fight in London in June. We are on the verge of making that happen now.

"Spurs is the front runner and that's what he's asked me to do. We'll be delivering that for him."

Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua will "almost certainly" fight Kubrat Pulev in the United Kingdom following back-to-back bouts overseas.

Unified world heavyweight champion Joshua could face IBF mandatory challenger Pulev in May or June after regaining his titles from Andy Ruiz Jr last December.

Hearn, the 30-year-old Briton's promoter, revealed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Twickenham and Arsenal's Emirates Stadium are among the potential venues for Joshua to do battle with Bulgarian veteran Pulev.

The Matchroom Boxing boss told Sky Sports: "It's close [a deal] and if it was proving difficult to make, we would go into purse bids now at this stage, or they would order it.

"We spoke to the camps and they basically said we need another two weeks and we'll have it finalised.

"Almost certainly that will be AJ's next fight and almost certainly in the UK.

"The main issue we have is Pulev wants to make as much money for that fight as he can.

"There isn't as much money for that fight in the UK as there is elsewhere, but AJ has given me the instruction that I boxed in New York, I boxed in Saudi, I would like to do this one in the UK.

"Spurs, Emirates, Cardiff, Twickenham, everywhere is in play, but most likely end of May, early June. Joshua-Pulev in the UK."

Hearn added that it is not totally out of the question that Joshua will step into the ring with Oleksandr Usyk in his first fight of 2020, but Derek Chisora.is more likely to be the Ukrainian's next opponent.

"Possible, but we've pretty much agreed terms now with Chisora and Usyk for that fight," Hearn stated.

"It's just a case of finalising it, March 28, early April, but I'm very confident you'll see that fight as well."

Eddie Hearn believes the money offered to host a fight in Saudi Arabia between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder will be too good to turn down.

Joshua regained his WBA, IBF and WBO belts from Andy Ruiz Jr in December in a heavyweight rematch contested in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

While Joshua's next fight is set to be against Kubrat Pulev, the Briton's promoter Hearn has talked up the possibility of a meeting with the victor of Fury-Wilder II, which takes place in Las Vegas on February 22, later in 2020.

On Wednesday, Fury's promoter Frank Warren dismissed Joshua's claims that talks between his camp and Wilder's had already taken place, though he claimed a fight between his client and Joshua should be held towards the end of the year.

Now, Hearn has suggested Saudi Arabia would again prove to be a viable venue for such a fight, claiming the money on offer would ensure a bout would happen.

"You have new players in town that are willing to spend money never seen before in this sport. It's there, we've had the conversations," Hearn told Sky Sports.

"We did it once, in December. I know the money that they're willing to put in for this fight at the back end of the year and it's why I'm so confident of making it, because there's just too much money.

"There comes a time in the sport where money talks too much and, when it does, there's no going back. Even if the other guys didn't want it, they can't ignore the numbers.

"Everybody's lucky that the numbers we were talking about a year ago, they've doubled, trebled. Don't agree? You've spun it up on that roulette wheel, now take your chips and leave."

Hearn also suggested Joshua – who could also face Oleksandr Usyk – would be willing to scrap his planned fight with Pulev should the Bulgarian not agree to a venue in Britain.

"AJ's going to call the shots here and he may end up having to let the Pulev fight go if he won't fight in the places we'd like him to fight and that is in the UK," Hearn said.

"We're looking at dates around the end of May, beginning of June for the Pulev fight. Everywhere's in play – Emirates Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the London Stadium.

"We've also reached out to Twickenham as well and the Millennium Stadium have got some dates for us. In an ideal world, AJ's next fight will be against Pulev in London."

Tyson Fury's promoter Frank Warren insisted there is no truth in Anthony Joshua's claims he has held talks with Deontay Wilder over a heavyweight fight.

Joshua regained the WBA, IBF and WBO belts from Andy Ruiz Jr in December, while Fury is set to meet WBC champion Wilder in a rematch on February 22.

Brit Joshua has recently suggested his camp has held discussions with Wilder's management over a potential meeting this year, which would come instead of a possible third bout between the American and Fury.

Warren, though, is adamant no talks have been held.

"I spoke to [Wilder's co-manager] Shelly Finkel [on Tuesday] and he denied it," Warren told ESPN.

"There's a rematch clause in the contract and the loser has the right to invoke that not long after the fight.

"That will determine what happens, not what [promoter] Eddie Hearn or Joshua says.

"It seems every time they mention these discussions they never think about the possibility of Tyson winning the fight with Wilder."

Joshua is reportedly set to face Kubrat Pulev, who is the IBF mandatory challenger, while a bout between the Briton and Oleksandr Usyk has been also been mooted.

But Warren is hopeful of bringing Joshua and Fury together for an-all British encounter, though he cited the "ego" of Hearn as a potential stumbling block.

"I would like to see Tyson in with Joshua straight away after February 22," Warren said.

"I don't think it's a difficult negotiation – we have just seen that with two networks in the United States agreeing to work with each other for Wilder-Fury II. The only thing that stops it is all of the ego with Eddie Hearn.

"I don't see why it should be a problem at all. It's a fight for the good of the sport that everyone wants to see. As long as Tyson wins his next fight, and Joshua wins his mandatory fight next, it can happen.

"It seems like everyone is looking for reasons why it shouldn't happen. Nearly every big fight we have got over the line. 

"Fury and Joshua are at their best, nothing is stopping it from happening except Joshua's people being afraid of their cash cow being beaten."

Tyson Fury wants to follow his upcoming fight with Deontay Wilder by taking on Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte before retiring.

Former world heavyweight champion Fury will take on WBC title-holder Wilder in Las Vegas on February 22 after their previous meeting ended in a dramatic draw.

The 31-year-old then wants his final acts in boxing to be unifying the division by taking on IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua and offering Whyte a first world title shot.

"I've got three more fights left. Wilder next, Joshua then Dillian Whyte, then I'm out," Fury told iFL TV.

"[Dillian] has been mandatory for something like 2,000 days and hasn't had a world title shot so when I beat Wilder I'll give him a shot.

"He can be a defence, for sure. One of my last three. Joshua and Whyte, done."

Joshua did not deliver on an offer to spar with his fellow Briton as part of his preparations to face Wilder, but Fury was not overly concerned.

"It's all hot air. Sometimes people say stuff in the heat of an interview and they don't really mean it. After he did the interview he said afterwards he wished he never said it," he said.

"It doesn't really matter, I don't want him to come sparring anyway, it's not going to help me, he's nothing like Deontay Wilder at all and I wouldn't want to give him the opportunity to get an insight on what it's like to be out-boxed and out-punched by me in a spar rather than in a fight.

"His time will come, don't worry about that."

Fury previously predicted he will knock Wilder out in the second round and the WBC king said he will hang up his gloves if that comes to fruition.

"Him saying he's gonna knock me out in the second round is not believable," said Wilder.

"He has pillows as fists, so I can't see that happening. If he knocks me out in the second round, I'm retiring. I'm done."

Dillian Whyte believes Anthony Joshua's exchanges with Tyson Fury over sparring prove he "just talks rubbish".

In a detailed critique, heavyweight contender Whyte hit out at WBA, IBF and WBO champion Joshua, saying he is a changed fighter who has lost his aggressiveness.

Whyte believes his fellow Briton, with whom he shares a promoter in Eddie Hearn, always backtracks after making comments in the same way Fury and Deontay Wilder do.

He cited the example of Joshua's recent exchanges with Fury, offering to help him with sparring sessions ahead of his WBC title rematch with Wilder next month.

Whyte told Sky Sports of Joshua: "He's a good fighter and a good champion, but he talks a lot of rubbish most of the time.

"Him, Wilder, Fury, they all talk the same rubbish. He says one thing and then he backtracks and says another thing. At least I'm consistent with what I say, and I do what I say.

"One minute he says, 'I'm going to spar with Fury' and then the next minute he says, 'If it works in my schedule'. When Fury said, 'Yes, if it works in my schedule'. He just talks rubbish, man.

"I'm here, I'm ready to fight, if he [Joshua] wants to fight me, the fight can happen."

Whyte, who has been touted for a fight with Russian Alexander Povetkin, has not been impressed by the evolution of a man who knocked him out after seven rounds of their domestic grudge match in December 2015.

He believes Joshua will be forever marked by his initial loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019, but feels signs of a more conservative approach were already apparent before his two contests with the Mexican.

"We've seen this before - Lennox Lewis was an aggressive fighter on the front foot but got knocked out by Hasim Rahman, then changed his style," added Whyte.

"Joshua will be the same. Tall heavyweights start their careers very aggressively, but then?

"Let's go further back - Carlos Takam, Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker. There were signs of caginess and not liking getting hit.

"Even Deontay Wilder, when he was clocked a couple of times by Luis Ortiz, he thought 'I'm just going to wait'.

"We have seen this time and time again in history, and it's always the same."

After winning his titles back against Ruiz in December, Joshua looks poised to defend his belts against IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev next as Whyte's wait for a title shot goes on.

Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev's representatives have set a deadline of January 31 to agree their proposed heavyweight world title fight.

Joshua last month regained his IBF, WBA and WBO belts with a landslide points win against Andy Ruiz Jr, who scored a stunning stoppage triumph over the previously unbeaten Briton back in June.

It means there is once again a clamour for Joshua to take on the winner of a rematch between his compatriot Tyson Fury and WBC king Deontay Wilder next month but, as a unified champion ,the London 2012 gold medallist has mandatory obligations to address.

Pulev, who was scheduled to face Joshua in Cardiff in October 2017 before withdrawing through injury, is the IBF's mandatory challenger, while former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk occupies the same status with the WBO.

At this stage, Pulev appears to be the frontrunner and an IBF spokesperson told Sky Sports: "I have just been told that the Pulev and Joshua camps have asked [for] until January 31 to negotiate."

In the meantime, Usyk looks set to take the opportunity to further acclimatise to the heavyweight division, with a London showdown against experienced former world-title challenger Dereck Chisora pencilled for late March.

Like Joshua, Usyk is represented by promoter Eddie Hearn and his Matchroom operation.

"Conversations are ongoing with all parties to plan what's next and it will really come to a head over the next few weeks," Hearn told Sky Sports.

"We are still awaiting clarification from the governing bodies to confirm who is chronologically next [for Joshua out of Pulev and Usyk] but right now everything is in play.

"In terms of Usyk versus Chisora that is still a potential outcome, but March 7 is unlikely. Instead we have March 28 on hold at the O2 Arena."

Anthony Joshua has vowed to win back any world title he is forced to relinquish and insisted he is relaxed about that prospect.

The WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight champion's manager Eddie Hearn is attempting to find a solution that will allow Joshua to keep all of his belts.

Kubrat Pulev is mandatory challenger for the IBF strap and Oleksandr Usyk is due a shot at the WBO crown, with both organisations pushing to enforce a fight against the Brit next.

Joshua stressed he would "stand as a champion" even if he had to give up a belt and, if that materialised, would simply claim it back, enhancing his legacy in the process.

"I always said the belts do not represent me," Joshua, 30, told Sky Sports. 

"I will stand as a champion, even if I have to give one up.

"It would give me an opportunity to face another world champion - I've beaten four world champions on my record now.

"If I give up a belt it creates more history and entertainment. If I have to, I'll give it away - but I'll get it back again."

After beating Andy Ruiz Jr in their Saudi Arabia rematch last month, Joshua, who has been enjoying a holiday in Barbados, is expected to return to the ring in April or May.

Joshua added: "I asked Eddie where we will fight next if Wembley isn't available and he said Tottenham. I'd like that. I'm cool with that."

It was a decade full of skill, unforgettable moments and remarkable storylines.

Grand slam titles, Olympic Games gold medals, Rugby World Cups, Women's World Cups and more.

However, the impact and influence of some athletes proved more transcending than others.

We look at the most influential sports people of the past decade as we prepare to farewell the 2010s.

 

COLIN KAEPERNICK

Kaepernick has never swayed from his beliefs, even if it cost him a career in the NFL.

Following five years with the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick hit the headlines when he kneeled during the United States national anthem in 2016.

The quarterback cited racial injustice and police brutality. He filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, accusing owners of colluding to keep him out of a job. Kaepernick settled that grievance in February.

Despite some backlash, the 32-year-old inspired a nation – receiving support from Nike, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Megan Rapinoe and others. He even refused to meet the NFL's demands for a workout in November – all but ending his career. For Kaepernick, it has always been about more than American football…

SIYA KOLISI

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi lifted the Rugby World Cup in November. However, his influence stretches much further than a rugby pitch.

In a country embroiled in economic turmoil and racial unrest, Kolisi – the Springboks' first black captain in their 127-year history – is a beacon of hope.

Having come from an area marked by unemployment and lack of opportunity, Kolisi has become a household name and a genuine inspirational star, who can help unite a nation.

MEGAN RAPINOE

Outspoken on and off the field, Women's World Cup winner and United States star Rapinoe has transcended football.

From LGBT rights, gender equality and racial quality, Rapinoe has led the fights.

The 34-year-old has drawn the ire of US president Donald Trump, and even called out FIFA over the gulf in prize money for the women's and men's World Cups as she strives to make football and the world a better place, while maintaining her dominance on the pitch – winning the 2019 Ballon d'Or Feminin, last year's Golden Ball and Golden Boot.

ANDY MURRAY

A three-time grand slam champion and former world number one, Murray's lasting legacy may be his fight for gender equality – not just his on-court achievements.

Not one to keep quiet, just watch him play tennis, Murray has championed against sexism, especially after hiring Amelie Mauresmo as his coach in 2014. 

In 2015, Murray wrote: "Have I become a feminist? If being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then I suppose I have."

SIMONE BILES

This decade saw the emergence of a gymnastics sensation, yielding four Olympic gold medals in 2016 and 19 World Championships golds - 25 in total - over the past six years.

Biles is the most decorated artistic gymnast of all time at just 22 years of age, establishing herself as one of the best athletes in the world in the face of adversity.

The once-in-a-lifetime talent won five gold medals in Stuttgart, while dealing with the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

In 2018, she claimed she was sexually abused by ex-Team USA gymnastics sports doctor Nassar, encouraging others to do the same. She continues to influence the sport in innumerable ways. 

ANTHONY JOSHUA

In a decade dominated by UFC and the emergence of mixed-martial arts, Joshua has stood tall for boxing. Flying the flag in the ring, the heavyweight champion consistently attracts crowds that have never been seen in British boxing.

A game-changer for the sport, Joshua has broadened boxing's appeal beyond traditional audiences. For his bout against Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April 2017, a post-ward record crowd of 90,000 attended.

An estimated 80,000 spectators also took in his clash with Carlos Takam in Cardiff six months later. Joshua also took a title fight to Saudi Arabia in December - regaining his belts.

ALEX ZANARDI

Zanardi survived one of the most horrific non-fatal crashes in the history of open-wheel racing. The Italian lost both his legs in 2001, while he was also red his last rites.

However, Zanardi – who said he went 50 minutes with less than a litre of blood and his heart stopped beating seven times – was not done.

The former CART champion turned to paracycling and won two gold medals in his 2012 Paralympics debut, followed by another two in 2016.

CASTER SEMENYA

A two-time Olympic Games gold medallist and athletics star, it has been a tough end to the decade for Semenya but the South African inspired a nation in 2019.

She missed the World Athletics Championships in October after the IAAF proposed regulations regarding athletes with differences of sex development (DSD).

The new rule instructed athletes such as Semenya – who compete in events from the 400m to a mile, to take medication to lower their testosterone levels to take part in women's track events.

Despite lengthy legal battles and years of questions, Semenya continued to fight for her rights, leading to a Nike video in which she spoke about acceptance, self-love and respecting people for who they are. "I'm one kind of an athlete. I run my own race. It's all about me," said Semenya.

Anthony Joshua might regret going public with his offer to spar Tyson Fury but the unified heavyweight world champion believes practice rounds against his fellow Briton would be beneficial.

Fury is set to return to the ring in February for a rematch with WBC champion Deontay Wilder, a contest that two-time IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua will have a keen eye on.

In an interview with Sky Sports News on Tuesday, Joshua surprisingly told Fury he would be willing to be one of his sparring partners ahead of the Wilder bout.

That offer was welcomed by Fury, who said on Instagram he would "really love" to have Joshua in his training camp, and while the 30-year-old conceded he perhaps should not have spoken about it publicly, he expanded on why he would want to spar a potential future opponent.

Speaking to iFL TV, Joshua said: "Sometimes, when I look back at some of the s*** I say, I think, 'Why did I say that?'

"Fury's a world-class fighter and I'm a world-class fighter that's still trying to improve so I can become an elite-level fighter when I'm fighting.

"Sparring Fury's only going to do me good, in my opinion. I'm never too big for my boots where I can't learn any more. That opportunity for me to spar Fury is for my own benefit as well.

"The reason why I thought about it and why it came to fruition for me is because I feel like if Fury was to win that fight, I think he would be more inclined to fight me next and quicker than Wilder would.

"How long I've been waiting to fight for the [WBC] championship belt... I think if Fury had it, me and him would have got a deal done already now. That's why I was rooting for Fury to win because I just want to fight and collect my last belt."

Eddie Hearn, Joshua's promoter, did not dismiss the prospect of his prized asset going toe to toe with Fury in sparring either.

Hearn also predicted the two will meet in the ring down the line, regardless of whether Fury beats Wilder or not.

"When I saw [Joshua's comments], I was like, 'How you gonna do that?'," he said in his own interview with iFL TV.

"I wouldn't be surprised. I think now he's said it, I really wouldn't be surprised if he ended up flying out there and doing some rounds.

"It's a weird one. They will definitely fight. If Fury wins against Wilder, or loses against Wilder, I promise you AJ and Fury will fight at some point in the future. Unquestionably."

Tyson Fury would "love" to have Anthony Joshua as a sparring partner in preparation for his WBC heavyweight title rematch against Deontay Wilder.

Two-time IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua made the surprise offer to his fellow Briton while assessing the landscape in his division during an interview with Sky Sports News.

Fury climbed off the canvas twice as he boxed to a thrilling draw against Wilder 12 months ago and Joshua believes he can prevail in the rematch.

The preparation is something Joshua suggested he would like to play an active role in, to set up a blockbuster showdown for all the major heavyweight belts.

"I think Tyson Fury would fight me quicker than Wilder does, so, if that's the case, I want Fury to win because I just want to fight [for the unified title]," Joshua said.

"Fury, if you need me for sparring. We're going to fight one day. I sparred Tyson Fury when we were kids anyway.

"I'd go out to America and spar Tyson Fury to get him ready for this Wilder fight. I would like that fight because I think Fury would fight me faster than Wilder would."

Fury, who announced the appointment of Javan 'Sugar' Hill as his new head trainer over the weekend, was quick to offer an affirmative response via his Instagram account.

"I just saw a video of Joshua on Sky Sports saying he'd love to come visit me in camp and that I'd fight him quicker than Wilder - that's for sure," the undefeated 31-year-old Fury said.

"When I beat Wilder, I will fight you AJ no problem and I'd love to have you in camp.

"I'd really love to have you in camp for this fight and give Wilder a proper beating.

"I hope you mean it because I'd love to have you in training camp. Thanks very much and well done in your last fight, congratulations."

Joshua comprehensively outboxed Andy Ruiz Jr earlier this month to avenge his sole career loss, and his initial 2020 schedule is set to be concerned with respective IBF and WBO mandatory challengers Kubrat Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk.

Nevertheless, Joshua expressed frustration over the fact a showdown with long-reigning WBC king Wilder has never been nailed down.

"It still puzzles me as to why it's so difficult to pin this man down," Joshua said.

"As I said, I fought Charles Martin to become [IBF] champion, Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA championship, Joseph Parker for the WBO championship, Andy Ruiz to become unified heavyweight champion.

"This is the man that I need to get the last ring so I can conquer this division as I've set out to do from day one.

"It's not even about me now; it's gone past that. This is about the sport and our legacy. If he wants to make his legacy and become a future hall of famer, he should come and see us."

Anthony Joshua wants to help Tyson Fury beat Deontay Wilder next year – offering himself as a sparring partner to his fellow Briton.

Joshua regained the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles earlier this month as he avenged his shock stoppage loss to Andy Ruiz Jr with a lopsided points decision in Saudi Arabia.

It means Wilder's WBC strap is once again the only major belt outside of the 2012 Olympic champion's possession, but Joshua told Sky Sports the American's failure to agree to a showdown "puzzles" him.

As such, he made the unlikely proposal of assisting Fury in his preparations under new coach Javan 'Sugar' Hill.

"Honestly, I think he might beat Deontay Wilder next time they're out. That's just my opinion," Joshua said.

"I think Tyson Fury would fight me quicker than Wilder does so, if that's the case, I want Fury to win because I just want to fight [for the unified title].

"To have that fight here on British soil is… man, can you imagine that?

"Fury, if you need me for sparring. We're going to fight one day. I sparred Tyson Fury when we were kids anyway.

"I'd go out to America and spar Tyson Fury to get him ready for this Wilder fight. I would like that fight because I think Fury would fight me faster than Wilder would."  

Joshua recounted how, from bringing an end to Charles Martin's brief IBF reign in 2016, he has been able to collect major belts by unseating champions. Only Wilder remains.

"It still puzzles me as to why it's so difficult to pin this man down," he said.

"As I said, I fought Charles Martin to become [IBF] champion, Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA championship, Joseph Parker for the WBO championship, Andy Ruiz to become unified heavyweight champion.

"This is the man that I need to get the last ring so I can conquer this division as I've set out to do from day one.

"When he's ready, as I am, I would love to be facing off with Deontay Wilder talking about the keys to victory.

"It's not even about me now; it's gone past that. This is about the sport and our legacy. If he want to become a future hall of famer, he should come and see us."

Respective IBF and WBO mandatories Kubrat Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk are likely to be first on Joshua's 2020 agenda, although he conceded a meeting with knockout artist Wilder would carry more lustre than any other bout in the heavyweight ranks.

"Every one [opponent] is serious, but this one, in terms of marketing and entertainment, yeah," he added of facing Wilder.

"Because you've got the two lords of the ring here. This is the last one. To unify, to undispute (sic) the division as one."

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