Dereck Chisora has made clear his intentions ahead of the heavyweight clash with Oleksandr Usyk, who will be aiming to make a statement to the rest of the division on Saturday. 

An intriguing clash between contrasting styles was set to take place earlier in the year, only for the coronavirus pandemic to force a delay. Now, however, the stage is set, Wembley Arena the venue for a fight that should prove to be worth the wait.  

Usyk - already sitting as the mandatory challenger to WBO champion Anthony Joshua - built his reputation in the pro game at cruiserweight, becoming the undisputed champion in the division. He has fought just once since opting to step up in weight, recording a seventh-round stoppage against Chazz Witherspoon over a year ago. 

Chisora – set for a 42nd fight in a career that has seen him share a ring with Tyson Fury (twice), David Haye and Vitali Klitschko, among many others - will pose a different challenge.

The 36-year-old has acknowledged he cannot possibly hope to out-box an opponent who, during his amateur career, won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. Instead, his plan is to try and drag Usyk into deep waters, with the aim of finding out if can swim against the tide.

If that was not already made clear enough in a build-up that has seen the pair hilariously jabbing at each other on social media, Chisora made it absolutely obvious by painting 'WAR' on his chest for the weigh-in, all part of a Halloween makeover for a bout that will take place on October 31. 

"I would rather him knock me out than me do nothing," Chisora told Sky Sports on Friday after the final head-to-head media opportunity before the main event. "Either I will knock him out or he will quit on his stool. That's what we're going for.

"I'm fit and you are going to be very surprised at what happens in the ring."

Usyk also caught the eye at the weigh-in, coming in at a career-heaviest 15 stone and seven pounds. It is over two stone under what Chisora hit on the scales, but that was to be expected. 

So, too, is the script for main event. Chisora's plan is obvious – Usyk must find a way to not just cope with the continued pressure, but also effectively counter it. In terms of their methods, these two are at the opposite ends of the boxing spectrum, yet mixing them together should make for quite the spectacle, even without fans present. 

The pair have already provided entertainment with their online interactions and pre-fight meetings - now expect fireworks when it gets down to the serious business.

RECENT HISTORY

Usyk has an unblemished 17-fight record in the pros following a distinguished amateur career.

Tony Bellew promised to "get the monster" when he fought Usyk at cruiserweight in November 2018. Instead, he was stopped in the eighth, joining a notable list of names in the division to lose to the 33-year-old that also Murat Gassiev, Mairis Briedis and Marco Huck. 

His pedigree should not be doubted, but Usyk does still need to prove he can cope following the shift to the heavyweight ranks.

Chisora is on a three-fight winning streak, his most recent success seeing him stop fellow Brit David Price inside four rounds. There was a spectacular knockout of Artur Szpilka prior to that, while he also found a way to defeat the durable Carlos Takam inside the distance.

Both clashes with Dillian Whyte were outstanding to watch but saw him come out on the wrong side of the result, while he also lost via points to Kubrat Pulev in 2016. Will Chisora continue to be the gallant loser, or could this be a statement win that lands him a title chance?

TALE OF THE TAPE

OLEKSANDR USYK

Age: 33
Height: 6ft 3ins (187cm)
Weight: 15st 7lbs (220 pounds)
Reach: 78ins 
Professional record: 17-0 (13 KOs)
Major career titles: IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO cruiserweight

DERECK CHISORA

Age: 36
Height: 6ft 1½ins (187cm)
Weight: 18st 3lbs (256 pounds)
Reach: 74ins 
Professional record: 32-9 (23 KOs)
Major career titles: British, Commonwealth heavyweight

THE UNDERCARD

Lee Selby and George Kambosos Jr are the chief support, the lightweight duo meeting in an eliminator for the IBF title held by Teofimo Lopez. 

Australian Kambosos has an 18-0 record heading into the contest, while Selby is a former world champion at featherweight hoping to make waves now he has moved up. 

Also in action, Savannah Marshall and Hannah Rankin meet with the vacant WBO middleweight belt up for grabs.  

The pair were due to face each other on October 17, only to be called off when Peter Fury – Marshall's trainer – tested positive for coronavirus. Thankfully, there has not been a long delay in finding a new date. 

Popular heavyweight David Allen was due to be in action on the bill, only for a fight with Christopher Lovejoy to be called off at the last minute. Originally, Christian Hammer had been due to be Allen's opponent, but he was forced to withdraw due to COVID-19.

WHAT THE FIGHTERS HAVE TO SAY...

Usyk on moving to the heavyweight division: "If the king of animals would be considered according to the size, then it would be elephant, not the lion. An elephant is a friend of the mouse!"

Chisora on the task he faces: "I need a fair referee. I want this fight to be fair. I don't want to be dancing or wrestling. I want both of us to work fairly. I have to keep marching forwards. He will try to wrong-foot me but I'm ready."

David Haye, Chisora's promoter: "It will get very rough, very fast. Will Usyk drown in the Heavyweight waters? Chisora can absorb a disgusting amount of punishment. How deep can Usyk soul-search? How much does he want it? Things come easier to Usyk. I see Chisora causing one of the biggest upsets on British soil ever."

Anthony Joshua to Sky Sports on Usyk: "Sometimes I know to sit down on my feet and hurt someone. You've got to let them know that you're there because all that pitty-patty stuff after 12 rounds? Sometimes people don't respect that type of power."

Anthony Joshua has warned Oleksandr Usyk to mix up his fighting style against Derek Chisora, suggesting "some people don't respect" his approach.

Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, will contest just his second fight at heavyweight on Saturday against Derek Chisora.

The Ukrainian defeated Chazz Witherspoon in Chicago last year but faces a sterner test in the form of Chisora, unbeaten in his three bouts since being knocked out by Dillian Whyte in London two years ago.

Usyk is the mandatory challenger to Joshua's WBO belt and is expected to be given a title shot next year, but the Briton feels he must display some greater raw punching power if he is to thrive in the heavyweight division.

"When I boxed Andy Ruiz Jr in the second fight, I adapted to the Usyk style," Joshua told Sky Sports. "Hit and don't get hit, the sweet science of boxing. You learn that from the amateurs.

"I was amateur for two-and-a-half years so was still adapting to different styles. Usyk was amateur for a long time so he has taken the 'hit and don't get hit' style into the pros.

"The good thing that helped me? Sometimes I know to sit down on my feet and hurt someone.

"You've got to let them know that you're there because all that pitty-patty stuff after 12 rounds? Sometimes people don't respect that type of power."

Joshua puts his IBF, WBA and WBO titles on the line against Kubrat Pulev on December 12 and is set to face the first of a unifying double-header with Tyson Fury in 2021.

But Alexander Krassyuk, Usyk's co-promoter, says an agreement is in place for the winner of Joshua-Pulev to face his man next.

"Our plan is: A) beat Derek Chisora, B) push AJ to comply with WBO rules or vacate the title, C) defeat AJ or any other WBO champion or contender and become the heavyweight champion. Simple and practical," he said.

Justin Gaethje and Dana White are each expecting Saturday's lightweight title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov to be a classic.

Gaethje defeated Tony Ferguson in May to earn the interim title and a shot at champion Khabib at UFC 254.

Excitement is building ahead of the bout this weekend, but neither Gaethje nor the UFC president are concerned about letting fans down.

When White was asked if he could offer any guarantees the fight would live up to the considerable hype, he gestured towards Gaethje before replying: "Tell me the last fight he was in that sucked."

The fighter then interrupted and added: "I guarantee you."

Assessing the magnitude of the bout, White said: "Khabib is one of the biggest stars in all of sports - not just UFC. The reason this fight is so big is because a lot of people believe this kid has the style to beat him.

"You have all the ingredients for a massive fight: a big superstar and a kid who's coming after a win over a highly respected fighter.

"These come together once in a while. It's not like these two need to scream at each other and all this kind of stuff.

"People know who both of these guys are, they know what they're both capable of, and that's why this fight is so big.

"On Monday and Tuesday, this was tracking as the biggest fight we've ever done."

Gaethje has no issue with Khabib being the favourite and revealed he has told himself he will lose as motivation.

"I know he's confident in what he does. He's done it 28 times," Gaethje said. "I expect him to believe that's what's going to happen.

"I've been telling myself that's what's going to happen, as a matter of fact. That's what drives me every single day.

"I'm a performer, I always show up under the lights, that's what I do. I've been doing this as long as he has."

He added: "I've been telling myself that's going to happen and I can't wait to surprise myself again."

Khabib Nurmagomedov is on course to become the "GOAT" in the UFC, according to Dana White, but the fighter sees boxing icon Muhammad Ali "on a different level".

Lightweight champion Khabib is 28-0 heading into Saturday's fight with Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

And president White suggests victory this weekend would represent a significant step towards the Russian being considered the greatest ever.

"Khabib is looking down the barrel of not just the greatest to ever do it in this division," he said.

"If he beats Justin on Saturday, he's the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world and he's on his way to GOAT status."

But Khabib was then asked if he might soon be ranked alongside Ali and Mike Tyson, prompting a pessimistic answer.

"Muhammad Ali is on a different level," Khabib said. "Mike Tyson is almost the same level, but the personality of Muhammad Ali is a different level.

"For me to become like this is a really hard question. When I was growing up, I knew this guy was the greatest.

"I don't know if I can ever become close to these people. I didn't have this goal. I just want to win my fights.

"But we'll see in the future, because I'm not finished yet."

Despite some lofty goals, Khabib was reluctant to look beyond Gaethje, who is 22-2 and won the interim title against Tony Ferguson in May.

Asked what might be next if he defeated the American, Khabib - who has spoken of facing Georges St-Pierre - replied: "I don't like this word 'if'. You never know what's going to happen tomorrow.

"I'm focused on Justin Gaethje on Saturday night. What the UFC has after this fight you'd be better to ask this guy [White], because he calls us and then we talk about fights.

"What's going to happen after I don't know. Right now, I'm focused on Justin Gaethje."

Anthony Joshua believes Deontay Wilder could be working on a "master plan" as the American's silence following a high-profile defeat to Tyson Fury continues. 

Fury brilliantly dethroned WBC heavyweight champion Wilder with a seventh-round stoppage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in February. 

A trilogy fight was supposed to happen before the end of 2020, but Fury claimed this month that the bout will not take place as he has grown weary of waiting for Wilder to fix a date. 

Joshua, who holds the WBO, IBF and WBA heavyweight titles, has in the past been frustrated in his own attempts to face Wilder. 

The Briton, who recovered from a first career loss to Andy Ruiz Jr to regain the belts last December, is interested to know Wilder's current situation. 

"I don't know, so I can't speak on everyone's situation, but just from my humble opinion, after a loss, things change," Joshua, who is preparing to face Kubrat Pulev in December, told Sky Sports News. 

"You distance yourself. The world is cruel. You've got to have a thick skin. 

"Either he's putting together a master plan - he's in a lab right now, with his science glasses on, studying Fury's every move. Either he's doing that, or he's sitting at the edge of that lake, with his head in his hands and thinking, 'What's going on?' 

"One minute you're on top of the world, and the next minute you're not. That's the name of the game we're in."

In the aftermath of his loss to Fury, Wilder's reasons for the defeat were somewhat bizarre, ranging from claiming he was weakened by heavy ring-walk attire to unfounded claims about Fury's gloves, which the Briton denied. 

Joshua is keen to hear more from Wilder and wants to see the American back in the ring. 

"It's interesting as to say, 'Why hasn't he spoken?' But when he does speak, we'll soon find out. For me to make speculation as to why he hasn't spoken, I can't because only he knows," he added. 

"But I can't wait for him to address the reason why the fight isn't going to happen at the end of the year. What happened in the first fight? Why he lost. 

"Was it the costume, was it the glove situation? It would be really good to hear the reasons as to why and even better, I hope he does come back, because he's a great asset to the heavyweight division, and like the Dillian situation, I would like to understand how he found the strength to pull himself up."

Anthony Joshua's fight with Kubrat Pulev has been confirmed for December 12 at the O2 Arena in London. 

Joshua was due to face the Bulgarian at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in June for the defence of his IBF, WBA and WBO world titles. 

However, the fight was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and promoter Eddie Hearn suggested an all-British unification bout with Tyson Fury could take place this year if a new date was not fixed with Pulev. 

It has now been confirmed Joshua will his face mandatory challenger in his first fight in England for over two years, marking his return to the ring since defeating Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch in Dubai last year. 

"December 12 is the date and once again the heavyweight belts go up in the air and it is my sole focus to make sure that come December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK," said Joshua, as per Sky Sports. 

"The O2 is the original lion's den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing. I am really hoping that, safety permitting, we might be able to bring some boxing fans in, but we will have to see. I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev. I wish him well during his preparation." 

Pulev, 39, has lost just one of his 29 professional bouts - a knockout at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. 

"For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the heavyweight titles is a great accomplishment," said Pulev. 

"This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarians around the world. I'm coming to London to seize the heavyweight championship of the world." 

Hearn sees this as the "final hurdle" for Joshua ahead of a planned double-header with Fury, set for 2021. 

"After a challenging year for everyone, to end with the unified world heavyweight championship is very special," he said. 

"Over a year after regaining his crown, Anthony Joshua takes on yet another dangerous opponent in mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. AJ's resume is unrivalled, and this is the final hurdle until we challenge for the undisputed crown next year."

Tyson Fury claims his trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder is off because he has been wearied by the American's attempts to fix a date.

A Wilder-Fury trilogy has been touted after the latter stripped the American of the WBC title in February's rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas after a draw in the first fight in 2018.

Wilder (41-1-1) has the right to a third bout against British star Fury (30-0-1) but, although December 19 was suggested as a possible date, nothing has been finalised.

There have been claims Wilder no longer has a contractual clause for the rematch, which would leave Fury free to face Anthony Joshua instead, but Wilder's co-manager Shelly Finkel told Sky Sports last week: "They are wrong, we will fight in December."

Yet Fury himself claims to be frustrated by attempts from Wilder's camp to push back the date for the bout.

"I was looking forward to smashing Wilder again. A quick and easy fight," he told The Athletic.

"But Wilder and his team were messing around with the date. They don't really want to fight the lineal heavyweight champion. They know how it ends. The world knows how it will end: with Wilder on his a** again.

"They asked me if I would agree to push it to December. I agreed to December 19. Then they tried to change the date again into next year. I've been training. I'm ready. When they tried moving off December 19 and pushing to next year, enough was enough. I've moved on."

Fury is apparently prepared to let Wilder "win a few fights" before facing him again.

He added: "I am the best fighter in the world. The lineal heavyweight champion. The two-time Ring magazine heavyweight champion. The WBC heavyweight champion. And before the end of 2021, I will be the only man on this earth with a heavyweight championship belt."

A deal for two 2021 fights between Fury and Joshua, who regained the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight world titles by beating Andy Ruiz in a rematch last December, was agreed in principle in June.

Deontay Wilder's camp have denied reports a third blockbuster heavyweight showdown with Tyson Fury has been abandoned.

A Wilder-Fury trilogy has been touted after the latter stripped the American of the WBC title in February's rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Wilder (41-1-1) has the right to a third bout against British star Fury (30-0-1) and while December 19 has been talked of as a potential date for their next battle, nothing has been confirmed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been claims that Wilder no longer has a contractual clause for the rematch, leaving Anthony Joshua to take on Fury instead.

However, Wilder's co-manager Shelly Finkel told Sky Sports: "They are wrong, we will fight in December."

It comes as Fury's co-promoter Frank Warren raised doubts over the in-demand fight.

"I don't know if that fight can get on this year," Warren told BT Sport. "Promoters on both sides, we have worked very hard to make it happen, but it's looking like it will not happen.

"There's talk about it happening next year. Tyson has been training like a lot of guys solidly since February, and he wants to fight this year.

"My concern is Tyson's welfare and well-being, and delivering what he wants, so he will fight this year. Contractual commitments are what they are, but contracts do not go on forever and if the fight cannot be delivered within the contractual period, Tyson will move on and maybe revisit the fight another time.

"He will be out this year because that's what he wants."

Deontay Wilder has made a bad mistake in ending his long association with trainer Mark Breland, according to fellow heavyweight Dillian Whyte.

Wilder is no longer working with Breland ahead of a third fight with Tyson Fury, with the American's co-manager Shelly Finkel confirming reports of the split to World Boxing News.

It was Breland - a former world champion - who threw in the towel to halt the second bout against Fury in February, as his fighter came under heavy punishment in the seventh round having already suffered two knockdowns.

However, Wilder was unhappy with the timing of the stoppage as he lost for the first time in his professional career, in the process ending his reign as WBC champion.

Yet Whyte has branded his rival an "idiot" for making such a major change to his team, insisting Breland made the correct call based on his own experiences in the ring.

"I think it's the worst mistake he's ever made, because Mark Breland is the only person in his team that actually was a boxer and actually was a world champion," Whyte told Sky Sports. "He was the only person that didn't care about money or fame.

"Someone who was actually from an emotional point [of view], someone who understands, thinking about his health and did the right thing by throwing the towel in, because he could have got seriously hurt.

"He was getting hit with punches that weren't knocking him out, they were concussing him. Mark Breland knows what it's like, because Mark Breland has been in the same position Wilder was in. He's someone that cares about the athlete and the boxing side of things."

He added: "Deontay Wilder is an idiot, he clearly can't see it. Good luck to him, it's his team, he can do whatever he wants.

"But I think it's a bad mistake. Mark Breland is the only one that knows boxing in his team."

Wilder has a rematch clause to face Fury again, though a date and venue for their third clash is yet to be confirmed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Whyte was next in line for a shot at the WBC champion until suffering a shock loss to Alexander Povetkin in September. The pair are booked for a rematch on November 21.

Anthony Joshua has made the move from boxing to football, at least in the virtual world, after it was confirmed he will appear in FIFA 21.

Joshua will be a playable character in the video game's "Volta" mode – in which players are able to test their skills in a small-sided game with five-a-side rules.

Olympic gold medallist and world heavyweight champion Joshua is being introduced as a "Groundbreaker", alongside Kaka, Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, Atletico Madrid youngster Joao Felix and FIFA 21 cover star Kylian Mbappe.

Diplo, a three-time Grammy Award-winning DJ and producer, also features.

Players will be able to pit their wits against the Groundbreakers, while also being able to recruit them into their squads.

The heavyweight fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Dereck Chisora has been rearranged for October 31.

The pair were initially set to meet on May 23, but the coronavirus pandemic saw the bout at The O2 Arena in London postponed.

Former undisputed cruiserweight world champion Usyk (17-0) has been made to wait for his second heavyweight test, having stopped unheralded American Chazz Witherspoon on his debut last October.

The Chisora fight will go ahead just over a year on from that contest, however, after an agreement was announced on Wednesday.

"I have really missed boxing," Usyk said. "I am working hard in my training camp to show a spectacular performance on October 31.

"I expect a real test in Dereck - he is strong, tough and resilient. He is a really big guy and he hits hard.

"As a cruiserweight, I reached the highest heights as undisputed champion and now I am following the same path as a heavyweight.

"I need to test myself against world-class heavyweights on my new road to undisputed and Dereck stands in front of me.

"Many people say that Dereck is a monster, but deep down he is a kind man. I don't expect to see that good side of him.

"I know that he wants to break me, but I am water, wind and fire all together. Dereck Chisora, I am coming for you."

Chisora (32-9) added: "Usyk, I've been ready for you all year.

"It's my home turf and, after such a tough year for everyone, I'm going to give the British public the Halloween party they deserve and finally get revenge for my boy Tony Bellew."

Neville Southall believes Kepa Arrizabalaga and David de Gea could learn valuable lessons from world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

Chelsea made Kepa the world's most expensive goalkeeper in 2018 but he made the latest in a number of errors as the Blues went down 2-0 to Premier League champions Liverpool on Sunday.

He is now set to be replaced as Chelsea's number one, with Rennes keeper Edouard Mendy reportedly close to a £22million (€24m) move to Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United goalkeeper De Gea, meanwhile, has endured several difficult campaigns and is under additional pressure to retain his place between the posts following Dean Henderson's return from a fine loan spell with Sheffield United.

Southall, who helped Everton to two league titles, two FA Cups and a European Cup Winners' Cup success during a 17-year stint at Goodison Park, pointed out boxer Joshua – who was knocked out by Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019 but reclaimed his belts six months later – as having the type of mentality top goalkeepers require.

"When you're an experienced goalkeeper, you have a track record that everybody judges you against," Southall told Stats Perform News.

"De Gea's suffered from that, most people do when you get to a certain age, which is weird because you've already proved you can do it.

"De Gea's proved he can be close to being the best in the world, but everybody doubts his ability, which for me doesn't make sense.

"It's like Anthony Joshua proving he's the best heavyweight in the world, because he's got the belts, and then losing one fight.

"Yes, the defeat spoils things for a bit but he won it back. I think there's a lesson in Anthony Joshua for all of those goalies – you might get a knockout blow, but you get back on your feet and you go and smash the rest of the world."

When asked for his thoughts on Kepa's predicament at Chelsea, Southall said: "Footballers are the prime ministers of the football world, aren't they? Everybody hates you or everybody loves you, depending on what you do for them.

"Like a prime minister you live and die on your decisions. Sometimes you make good ones and sometimes they're bad. The best goalkeepers make the least bad decisions. 

"Kepa, he's young. It's a learning process for him, maybe this season he might do a little better. [Frank] Lampard maybe doesn't seem to rate him that much, but he's obviously got talent.

"He's got to believe in himself and get better. If you're having a bad time, the only thing is to relax, know what you've done wrong and change it. There's no easy fix, it's about confidence.

"If you're not having the best of times and the manager isn't picking you, it's a double blow, but you've got to think what you really want. Do you want to show them that you're better, what you're really like? Chelsea haven't got an exceptional goalkeeper at the moment. For me, I'd give him another season."

Dillian Whyte's opportunity to avenge his shock loss to Alexander Povetkin will come on November 21, it has been confirmed.

Matchroom announced the heavyweight rematch on Tuesday, with the countdown now on for Whyte as he seeks to put last month's defeat to the Russian behind him.

The Briton was floored by his 40-year-old opponent in the fifth round, having dominated the fight up to that point, with the loss halting his hopes of landing a mandatory shot at the WBC championship.

Venue details for the second showdown between the pair are to be confirmed at a later date, as it is not clear whether fans will be able to attend.

"I'm over the moon to have the rematch," Whyte said in quotes reported by Sky Sports. "As soon as I got out of the ring, I was looking for confirmation that the fight would be on.

"I can't wait to get back in the ring and get back what is rightfully mine.

"I'm looking to do what I said I would the first time, and that's beat Alexander Povetkin."

Povetkin said: "I've rested well, spent time with my family, and now that the date of the rematch is known, I will soon return to my training camp and prepare as thoroughly as I did for the first fight."

Anthony Joshua described Tyson Fury as "just another heavyweight" and says his rival should consider retiring soon.

IBF, WBA and WBO title holder Joshua has agreed two fights with WBC champion Fury next year to determine the division's undisputed champion.

Joshua first faces a mandatory title defence against Kubrat Pulev at the end of the year, while Fury is set to take on Deontay Wilder for a third time.

Fury won his first world titles in 2015, seven years after turning professional, whereas his countryman needed just three years to make his big breakthrough.

And ahead of their proposed superfights at some point in 2021, Joshua has cast doubt over whether taking on Fury will be the biggest test of his career.

"Fury has been professional much longer than me. He should be looking to retire soon," he told Sky Sports.

"If he wants to cement his legacy, I'm here and ready. I've built myself into this position.

"I'll challenge Fury, I'll challenge Wilder. 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."

Fury has won 30 of his 31 professional fights and beat Wilder in February to claim the WBC and Ring Magazine titles.

However, Joshua – with a record of 23 wins from 24 fights – is not fazed about stepping into the ring with the Gypsy King.

"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," Joshua said. 

"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."

Anthony Joshua will fight behind closed doors this year if he has to, but Eddie Hearn is optimistic there will be a crowd at the O2 Arena for a December 12 bout against Kubrat Pulev.

Joshua's camp continues to negotiate a huge heavyweight unification fight against British rival Tyson Fury, but he first must face Pulev.

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the boxing world, yet promoter Hearn is adamant Joshua cannot afford to wait for the crisis to pass.

Matchroom Boxing's Hearn is targeting test events with crowds in the coming months with the aim of getting "a strong crowd" in London for Joshua.

Hearn told Matchroom: "Someone said to me last night: 'Presumably, if you can't get crowds back, AJ won't fight.' No, AJ will fight behind closed doors if he has to this year.

"He must fight. He's progressing as a fighter, he's learning all the time, he's challenging himself. He doesn't want to sit on the shelf.

"We believe through the pilot schemes that we'll run in September and then fans coming back in October, there's a good chance that Anthony Joshua can have a strong crowd at the O2 on December 12.

"That's the target date for that fight. Things are nearly wrapped up with Pulev's team as well for that date. Hopefully we can build towards a massive finish to the year."

That finish could see Oleksandr Usyk versus Derek Chisora followed by Dillian Whyte's rematch against Alexander Povetkin.

Hearn says he is "still grinding away" on the Usyk fight for late October, while the Povetkin bout should be announced for November in the coming weeks - Whyte looking for swift revenge after the Russian veteran sensationally knocked him out at Matchroom Fight Camp last month.

Attention is already turning towards booking the clash with Fury, though.

"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."

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