Tyson Fury is ready to give Anthony Joshua a "good hiding" and revealed to promoter Eddie Hearn exactly how he will take down the reigning IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion.

A deal is in place for the pair to fight twice, though a location is yet to be disclosed, with Joshua describing Wembley as "ideal".

Fury, nicknamed the Gypsy King, is the WBC champion after dethroning Deontay Wilder last year and is full of confidence ahead of what is primed to be a spectacular double-header.

"I can't wait to get the big dosser in the ring and give him a good hiding," he said on Hearn's podcast, No Passion No Point.

"Prove to the world what a fake he is and that there's only one dominant heavyweight champion – the Gypsy King.

"Undefeated, indestructible, unbeatable – never will lose a fight in the history of this sport, ever. I will retire with the crown."

Asked by Hearn if he thought this would be "an easy fight," Fury replied: "100 per cent, I cannot be beat by a fighter.

"A normal fighting man cannot beat the Gypsy King. The only person that can beat the Gypsy King is me.

"AJ couldn't lace my boots, definitely not."

Hearn declared his belief that Joshua would prevail and Fury credited him with turning the Briton into a "superstar boxer", but said defeat was inevitable for the 31-year-old.

"Your boy, you've built him up from scratch, you've done an absolutely fantastic job by the way, congratulations to you and your team," Fury said.

"You took an amateur boxer and made him into a superstar boxer and the finished article.

"It's just a shame that he has to be in the same era as the Gypsy King."

And Fury even went as far as to describe exactly how he would get the job done.

"When I say I will smash him to pieces and it won't be a tough fight, like I said I was gonna knock Wilder out and I did, I'm gonna say it here again – I will cut Anthony Joshua down like a hot knife through cheese," he said.

"That's how easy it's gonna be. When he gets cracked with all them muscles right in the jaw, he will go.

"I will tell you even what punch it's gonna be, I'll even give my game plan away.

"It'll be a check left hook straight to the temple. His legs will go and he'll fall on his face.

"He may get back up and then I'll knock him out with the overhand right, goodnight."

Joseph Parker overcame the shock of suffering a knockdown inside the opening seconds to record a split-decision points win over a disgruntled Dereck Chisora in Manchester.

A clash between two heavyweights with aspirations of challenging for a world title in the not-too-distant future went the distance despite an eventful start to proceedings.

The first punch by either boxer saw Chisora land a looping right hand that caught his rival cold, dropping him to the canvas.

However, Parker recovered quickly enough to not only beat the count from the referee but also quell Chisora's ensuing attempts to force a stunning stoppage.

The New Zealander – who previously held the WBO belt – was second best in the early going but warmed to his task as the rounds ticked by, aided by a probing jab that set up opportunities to attack.

His work in the second half of the bout was enough to impress two of the judges at ringside, Parker getting the nod by scores of 115-113 and 116-111.

Yet Chisora's strong opening saw the other official on duty give it to him by a 115-113 margin. He made clear his disappointment in the verdict in his post-fight interview, too.

"I can't get upset. It's horrible. I give everything. These are the results I get," 'Del Boy' told Sky Sports Box Office. "If he wants to give me the rematch, I will take it."

Parker seemed ready to do just that in the immediate aftermath, having accepted it was a close call in the final reckoning.

"We can do a rematch in the next fight," he said after improving his record to 29-2, though this was his first victory since switching to work with new trainer Andy Lee.

"It was a tough fight. I got caught at the beginning so I dug deep and stayed focused. It was close. It could have gone either way."

The fight had appeared in serious doubt on Friday due to a coin toss after the weigh-in deciding the order in which they would walk to the ring before the bout.

Chisora made clear he was ready to go home unless he came out second, though his promoter David Haye revealed how the intervention of the British fighter's mother, Viola, made sure her son stayed put.

On the undercard, Katie Taylor retained her WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO lightweight belts with a points win over Natasha Jonas.

The duo did not disappoint in a rematch of their fight at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Taylor edging it 96-94 and 96-95 twice on the scorecards, in the process remaining unbeaten as a professional.

Anthony Joshua has declared Wembley would be an "ideal" venue for the first of his two fights against fellow heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury.

Promoter Eddie Hearn this week said the location of the upcoming fight had been agreed by both fighters, but he did not disclose where it would take place.

A deal is in place for the pair to fight twice before the end of the year, with Fury invited to sign off the arrangements after talks with Hearn in Las Vegas.

Joshua holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, while the unbeaten Fury is the WBC champion after dethroning Deontay Wilder last year.

Saudi Arabia has been mooted as a potential location for the fight and may still stage the first clash, even if Joshua would love to tackle Fury in London. He has previously fought both at Wembley Stadium and in the adjacent SSE Arena.

"I've signed my side of the deal," Joshua told ITV's Jonathan Ross show.

"We've sent him a good offer, one I'm sure he won't refuse. He wants the fight, no doubt about it, so do I and more than me and him, the whole public want it. I put my crystal ball out there and I say it's going to happen this year 100 per cent."

Joshua added, according to several UK newspapers: "I'm pretty sure it'll be this year. End of July, early August.

"Where? That's what's the delay, because of this pandemic. We want to have people coming to the venue. It's just finding the right location. For me, Wembley would be ideal."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said last week that the English capital is ready to host the lucrative fight, despite the restrictions in the country amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A number of pilot events are taking place with spectators, in the hope crowds can return to normal capacity levels in the near future.

Snooker's 17-day World Championship began in Sheffield on Saturday with indoor crowds limited initially to one-third capacity, but there are plans for a full house come the final in May. Hearn's father, Barry Hearn, is the chairman of World Snooker.

Fury's most recent three bouts have all been staged in Las Vegas while Joshua reclaimed his titles from Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch held in Saudi Arabia in December 2019.

The 2012 Olympic gold medal winner fought once in 2020, with Joshua beating Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in front of a restricted number of fans.

Eddie Hearn has revealed Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have agreed on a location for a summer showdown between the two heavyweight world champions.

The rivals have a deal in place to face each other twice in 2021, though a venue and date had yet to be agreed for the first meeting.

However, having said recently he planned to present "three or four" options to both teams, Matchroom promoter Hearn confirmed on Thursday that a site has been approved and negotiations are "in a great place", having sat down with Fury while the pair have been in Las Vegas.

Joshua holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, while the unbeaten Fury is the WBC champion after dethroning Deontay Wilder last year.

"I don't want to talk too much about it because I think people are bored of me talking," Hearn said in an interview with Behind The Gloves.

"All I will tell you – which I haven't said to anyone yet – is that both sides have approved the site offer they want to go with. Now we are just finalising the site deal and we are in a great place.

"I saw Tyson yesterday. We had five or 10 minutes together – and it was good.

"I don't represent Tyson, so I don't know what is in his mind. What he basically cemented in my mind is that this is the only fight he wants. I know that is the same with AJ.

"We've got the offer, we all approve and we are moving forward now. We're good. I'm not going to go into where it is going to be held, but it has been agreed by both sides over the option we will take. You will get the date very soon, plus the official announcement."

Hearn also made clear that the original plan still remains in place, meaning a bout midway through 2021 will be followed by a rematch before the end of the year.

"There is no option for this fight to go at the back end of the year," Hearn said.

"That's been the hardest thing about securing the site deal ... in this world we live in today, most people would like to kick it to November or December. That's not available. It was never available.

"What was available was a summer fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship. That is what you’re going to get.

"Both guys want two fights this year – one will be in the summer, one will be in December. That's the plan."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said last week that the English capital is ready to host the lucrative fight, despite the restrictions in the country amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Fury's most recent three bouts have all been staged in Las Vegas while Joshua reclaimed his titles from Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch held in Saudi Arabia in December 2019.

The 2012 Olympic gold medal winner fought once in 2020, with Joshua beating Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in front of a restricted number of fans.

Anthony Joshua declared there is "no place to hide" for Tyson Fury after the first official offer to stage their heavyweight unification fight was lodged.

Promoter Eddie Hearn last week revealed he plans to present "three or four offers" to the respective teams of Joshua and Fury for an eagerly awaited unification bout.

Negotiations over a blockbuster showdown between the British duo have been ongoing for several months, with Hearn revealing a two-fight deal has been signed.

WBA, WBO and IBF champion Joshua has provided a positive update as he eyes Fury's WBC belt.

"Positive news this evening! I'm lacing up my running boots rn [sic]!!!" Joshua posted on social media.

"@258MGT and @Matchroomboxing have received the first official offer to host the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship Of The WORLD! I will be victorious God Willing!

"No place to hide now! IM [sic] COMING."

John Fury - Tyson's father – recently expressed his concerns over the ongoing negotiations in an interview with Boxing Social, citing the financial difficulties due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hearn, Joshua's promoter, tweeted on Sunday: "Busy day today and a long night ahead!"

Eddie Hearn plans to present "three or four offers" to the respective teams of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury for their heavyweight showdown – and he remains confident the bout will happen.

The British rivals have yet to finalise a date or destination for the first of potentially two fights between the pair in 2021.

Fury - who holds the WBC belt following his impressive win over Deontay Wilder - tweeted a picture saying "the clock is ticking" on Wednesday, along with the words "three days left".

Meanwhile, John Fury - Tyson's father – aired his concerns over the ongoing negotiations in an interview with Boxing Social, citing the financial difficulties in the current climate following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, promoter Hearn has made clear there are proposals ready to be put on the table before he leaves each side to work out which is the best option available.

"At the end of this week, both fighters and the teams will be presented with all the offers and options on the table, of which there will be multiple ones," Hearn told Sky Sports.

"We're in a good place. I saw John Fury's comments. It's almost like they don't really want the fight. I'd like them to talk it up, rather than talk it down.

"We're quite aware that there has been a global pandemic. We're quite aware that it's not easy, but we're out there grafting away every day to get this done. A little support would be nice, John and Tyson, thank you very much.

"But there will be three or four offers presented to both camps this weekend, then it's over to them to discuss which one they want to take.

"It is a summer fight, that's everything we are working towards. I'm as confident as ever that this gets done.

"I know that there are some negative people out there and people that believe we can't pull it off, but we spend a lifetime pulling things off. I believe we will get this done, and I believe you will see this fight in the summer."

Joshua is the reigning WBA, WBO and IBF champion, having successfully defended his titles with a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in December.

The unbeaten Fury, meanwhile, has not fought since his rematch with Wilder in Las Vegas in February 2020.

Dillian Whyte produced one of the performances of his career to gain revenge on Alexander Povetkin and put himself firmly back into the world heavyweight title picture with a clinical fourth-round knockout in Gibraltar.

The Briton's lengthy quest to earn a title shot hit the buffers after Povetkin won their first bout in Brentwood last August by catching Whyte with a bruising uppercut, despite having been put down twice prior to that fifth-round shock.

In a case of deja vu, Whyte - who now improves to 28-2-0 (19 KOs) by triumphing in the 'Rumble on the Rock' - sent Povetkin to the floor with a crushing hook in round four, and though the Russian tried to stumble back to his feet the referee stopped the contest with the towel thrown in by his camp.

For Whyte, it was an emphatic statement and the end of a frustrating wait after this rematch was twice scuppered with Povetkin having suffered the long-term effects of a COVID-19 infection.

A dominant performance, in which the jab landed with regularity, sees Whyte become the WBC's 'interim' heavyweight champion but his sights could now turn to facing former WBC champion Deontay Wilder, while in the long term whoever triumphs in the mouthwatering unification bout between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua will be on his radar.

"I was ready straight away. He's a tough guy, I think I could have finished him early. I'm ready to run it back again that's how I feel," Whyte, who went through a drastic body transformation and had his sugar intake over Christmas monitored by a nutritionist, told Sky Sports.

"If he wants a rematch, they offer me the right money I'll go again. I'm annoyed, the first time I shouldn't have lost. I made a mistake and paid for it. 

"From the first round I was on to him, then I was like let me relax, don't blow up. I was tempted to go hell for leather the first round, then I thought it might not be the best thing to do. 

"He's only lost to me, Joshua and [Wladimir] Klitschko. Yeah, I still believe I can be world champion. This camp was a bit annoying because of the rescheduling, I was in much better shape than this. I had to stop-start, change up nutrition."

Povetkin - whose record now reads 36-3-1 (25 KOs) - was in trouble as early as round one, with Whyte staggering his opponent with a clubbing body shot and landing flush with a hook that left the Russian on wobbly legs.

To his credit, Povetkin steadied himself and landed with a hook of his own in the second but Whyte continued to control proceedings behind the jab and landing rights from range.

Whyte went to the floor in round three but only after losing his footing and soon clubbed Povetkin with another huge right.

That was the precursor to a barnstorming finish. Povetkin was already in trouble from another mammoth blow and Whyte finished the job with one more huge hook, before graciously racing over to the opposite corner with a stool to help the recovery of his beaten opponent.

When Dillian Whyte stepped into the ring with Alexander Povetkin last August he had his route to WBC title glory all mapped out.

But a crushing fifth-round uppercut sent him on a diversion that few would have envisaged, packing his bags for a small British overseas territory and a rematch with huge ramifications for his career.

A win on Saturday would silence the doubters and put Whyte firmly back on track, but the fall that a repeat performance would bring is likely to be more precipitous than the drop from the famous Rock of Gibraltar, which stands proudly just a few short miles from where the fight will take place.

Whyte was left to nurse his wounds, both physical and emotional, after a second career loss when the first fight had seemed to be going his way.

Not once but twice he put Povetkin down in the fourth round, only for the Russian to climb to his feet and seal the deal in the next thanks to a colossal uppercut.

And now 'The Body Snatcher' knows he is laying it all on the line this weekend, describing a bout nominally for the WBC 'interim' title as "the most important fight of my career".

The unexpected location is the result of some creative thinking from promoter Eddie Hearn amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the Europa Point Sports Complex able to host 500 spectators for the 'Rumble on the Rock'.

Whyte is the bookmakers' firm favourite, as he was in the first meeting, but painting Povetkin as an underdog who produced a lucky shot would be a long way wide of the mark.

The experienced campaigner will expect to have to soak up some pressure and wait for his moment, but he showed in brutal fashion last time out that he is capable of doing just that.

RECENT HISTORY

It was a thrilling heavyweight clash between the pair in the Matchroom bubble seven months ago, when Anthony Joshua was watching on as a pundit.

Whyte had lost almost a stone and a half since his previous bout with Mariusz Wach, looking sharp in the early stages as he landed the jab frequently.

He refused to let up and had Povetkin downed with a brilliant punch early in round four, yet the veteran fighter was quickly back to his feet.

The assault continued and Povetkin was dropped again in the closing stages of the same round by a venomous left uppercut.

Yet, in a stunning turnaround, the fight was ended by one huge Povetkin blow moments into the fifth.

TALE OF THE TAPE 

DILLIAN WHYTE
Age: 32
Height: 6ft 4ins (193cm) 
Weight: 247.2 lbs
Reach: 78ins  
Professional record: 27-2-0 (18 KOs) 

ALEXANDER POVETKIN
Age: 41
Height: 6ft 2ins (188cm) 
Weight: 228 ¼ lbs
Reach: 75ins  
Professional record: 36-2-1 (25 KOs) 

THE UNDERCARD

Ted Cheeseman takes on JJ Metcalf for the British super-welterweight belt, while Fabio Wardley and Eric Molina meet in an intriguing heavyweight clash.

Ricky Hatton's son Campbell makes his professional debut, the 19-year-old taking on Jesus Ruiz in a super-featherweight contest.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

Whyte is in no doubt as to the quality of his opponent but he is ready to go all-out in pursuit of glory: "I'm constantly improving, he's a good fighter – top amateur, [Olympic] gold medal winner, world champion, all that. But I'm still improving and getting better every day. On Saturday, I'm coming to leave it all on the line once again."

It was a slightly more relaxed tone adopted by Povetkin, who reflected on the location: "I'm very happy to be in this unusual place. I'm relaxed and confident."

Dillian Whyte plans to prove any doubters wrong as he looks to even the score against Alexander Povetkin in a heavyweight rematch taking place in the unlikely location of Gibraltar.

The first meeting between the pair, staged back in August 2020, was eventful to say the least – Povetkin getting knocked down twice in the fourth round before producing a sensational stoppage.

An uppercut in the fifth from the Russian turned the tables and emphatically burst Whyte's best-laid future plans inside the Matchroom bubble, having known a win would secure a shot at the WBC title.

It was just a second career loss for 'The Body Snatcher', who understands he cannot afford a repeat result on Saturday.

"This is the most important fight of my career," Whyte said at a news conference on Thursday.

"I've been through ups and downs throughout my life, I'm used to bouncing back, I'm used to coming back and proving people wrong, showing people what I can do when they've written me off.

"It's nothing. I'm constantly improving, he's a good fighter – top amateur, [Olympic] gold medal winner, world champion, all that.

"But I'm still improving and getting better every day. On Saturday, I'm coming to leave it all on the line once again."

With the ongoing restrictions regarding travel and fans attending events due to the coronavirus pandemic, promoter Eddie Hearn has opted to take the show on the road.

The Europa Point Sports Complex in Gibraltar will stage the second bout, so 500 spectators will be allowed inside the venue for what is being dubbed the 'Rumble on the Rock'.

"It will be good to have the fans," Whyte said. "This fight is as big as any world-title fight.

"This place will be jumping; it will be rocking."

Povetkin, who has also only lost twice in his career in the pros, is reading nothing into what happened in the previous meeting, knowing only too well the damage Whyte can do.

"I'm very happy to be in this unusual place. I'm relaxed and confident," he said.

"I think Dillian will be better in this second fight, but at the same time I will try to pay more attention to my defence. Forget the story of the first fight."

Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have signed a two-fight deal to face each other for the undisputed heavyweight championship, promoter Eddie Hearn has announced.

British rivals Joshua and Fury have been in negotiations for several months to agree showdowns for the four major belts in boxing's glamour division.

Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) holds the WBA, WBO and IBF belts, having successfully defended his title with a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in December.

Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) sensationally dethroned Deontay Wilder to claim the WBC crown in February last year but has not boxed since.

A date and venue for the initial encounter are yet to be confirmed, although Hearn – who promotes Joshua under his Matchroom Sport banner – told ESPN on Monday that both parties put pen to paper over the weekend.

"We'd like to get a site deal confirmed in the next month," Hearn said.

"The hard part is always getting everybody to put pen to paper. But this was a major effort from all parties to get this over the line.

"You had rival promoters, rival networks and rival fighters."

The hurdles to overcome in getting to this point were not inconsiderable, with Fury working under a co-promotional deal with Frank Warren and Bob Arum's Top Rank, both of whom have rival broadcasting agreements to Hearn's contracts with Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN globally.

Fury's most recent bouts have been aired by BT Sport in his homeland and via ESPN in the United States.

The expectation of ongoing coronavirus restrictions makes the prospect of at least the first fight taking place on British soil feel far-fetched, with a return of heavyweight title boxing to the Middle East – where Joshua avenged his only career defeat against Andy Ruiz Jr with a December 2019 points win in Saudi Arabia – appearing most likely.

"I actually feel we've done the hard part," Hearn said. "Speaking for myself, Anthony and his team at 258 management, I know how hard we've worked hard these last couple of months and I just feel that this fight is so big it's not a difficult sell.

"We've already had approaches from eight or nine sites. The offers have come from multiple countries in the Middle East, from Asia, eastern Europe and America.

"This is the biggest fight in boxing and one of the biggest sporting events in the world. It will be a major, major win for a country that wants to showcase itself."

Some typically idiosyncratic interviews from Fury over recent days, where he stated he had no interest in boxing in the UK again, while claiming to have stopped training in favour of "concentrating on getting me 10 pints of Stella", appeared to cast some doubt upon the Joshua fights getting over the line – especially considering the 32-year-old's previously well-documented struggles with alcohol and depression.

"You never really know with Tyson," Hearn said. "It could be mind games. He could be having a bad day. He could be a little p***** off. Or he could be having a joke.

"One of the fascinations about this fight will be the build-up because they're two totally different characters, two totally different personalities. The mind games will be on another level for this fight. Tyson is very good at that.

"Anthony is excited by that. He's so pumped, so focused, he hasn't stopped training since the Pulev fight. He's like a caged lion. The build-up is going to be epic."

Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have signed a two-fight deal to face each other for the undisputed heavyweight championship, promoter Eddie Hearn has announced.

British rivals Joshua and Fury have been in negotiations for several months to agree showdowns for the four major belts in boxing's glamour division.

Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) holds the WBA, WBO and IBF belts, having successfully defended his title with a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in December.

Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) sensationally dethroned Deontay Wilder to claim the WBC crown in February last year but has not boxed since.

A date and venue for the initial encounter are yet to be confirmed, although Hearn – who promotes Joshua under his Matchroom Sport banner – told ESPN on Monday that both parties put pen to paper over the weekend.

"We'd like to get a site deal confirmed in the next month," Hearn said.

"The hard part is always getting everybody to put pen to paper. But this was a major effort from all parties to get this over the line.

"You had rival promoters, rival networks and rival fighters."

Tyson Fury claims he is drinking up to "12 pints of lager a day" and not training or eating as he cast doubts over whether he will fight Anthony Joshua.

Fury's promoter Bob Arum this month stated that a deal has finally been agreed for a heavyweight unification bout to be staged.

WBC champion Fury has let it be known he is tired of waiting to get into the ring with his fellow Briton and claims he has stepped up his alcohol intake rather than his training schedule.

"I have stopped training at the moment, I am on holiday," Fury, who last fought against Deontay Wilder in February 2020, told the IFL.

"I am drinking anything between eight, 10, 12 pints of lager a day, at the minute, but I am not eating so I am getting my calories through alcohol.

"I have trained and trained and trained with no progress so I am now a man of leisure."

Fury says he is not paying any attention over talk of an agreement to fight Joshua being done until it is signed and sealed, suggesting that may never happen.

He added: "Whatever they say is very unimportant to me because, until I have a fight date and a hell of a lot of money in my pocket, there is no fight.

"Will I be fighting Joshua in the next 10 minutes? No. Do I think the fight will eventually happen? Yes, it has to happen. Do I think it is next or imminent? No. I am not going to hold my breath for it, that's for sure.

"I am not going to put all my eggs in one basket because I have been guilty of doing that before and, when the fight doesn't happen, that is when I end up in a massive depression and feel like killing myself.

"I am not going to say ‘it is definitely happening in June or July."

Bob Arum says a deal for a blockbuster world heavyweight unification fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua has finally been agreed.

WBC champion Fury last month stated that he had grown tired of waiting for his next bout amid talks with Joshua's camp.

Joshua told Fury he was ready to fight him "in my back garden [or] your back garden".

A roadmap has been set up by coronavirus restrictions to be eased over the coming months in the United Kingdom, with social distancing rules potentially being lifted on June 21.

That could make an all-British battle a possibility on home soil in June and although Arum could not provide details, Fury's promoter believes an agreement has been reached.

"As far as I'm concerned, all the points have been agreed to," the American told IFL TV. 

"That's what each side has said. Now, we're just scrambling around to get things signed.

"I can say clearly, based on my view of everything, there are no more issues."

Tyson Fury intends to fight twice in 2021 having grown tired of waiting for his next bout amid talks with Anthony Joshua.

WBC heavyweight champion Fury was last in action in February 2020 when he beat Deontay Wilder in a rematch after the 2018 draw between the pair.

A trilogy fight against Wilder was due to follow, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed plans and the clash fell through when no date was agreed for last year.

Fury has since been consumed with discussion of a long-awaited unification bout against Joshua.

The 32-year-old remains concerned by the lack of progress in negotiations and is determined simply to get back in the ring, regardless of the opponent.

"It was just a big mess-up," Fury told ESPN of the Wilder trilogy. "I should have boxed, because I've been so inactive. I've been out for over a year.

"By the time I fight again, looking at maybe June if this Joshua fight happens, that will be a year and six months out of the ring, which is not ideal preparation for any super-fight.

"If that fight doesn't happen this summer, it's got to happen sooner or later.

"But Top Rank has to give me two fights this year. I will fight two times on ESPN. I don't care who it is.

"If it's not Joshua, we're looking to fight in April or early May and the end of the year. If it is Joshua, then June and the end of the year. Bang, bang. So, 2021 is looking bright."

On facing Joshua, he added: "They've had a full year to try and make this fight happen.

"Since the last Wilder fight, even before the Wilder fight, they were talking about a fight potentially between me and Joshua.

"They've had a full year to make something happen, and it hasn't happened as of yet. It is what it is. We're no further forward today than we were a year ago.

"The way [the pandemic] is at the moment, I don't think [negotiations have] got much to do with the fighters.

"It's to do with the venue, date, place, site fees. It's to do with everything but the fight itself."

Former world heavyweight champion and Olympic Games gold medallist Leon Spinks died at the age of 67, according to a statement from his management.

Spinks – who conquered legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in 1978 to claim the WBC and WBC titles before losing a rematch later that year – died following a battle with cancer on Friday.

The American, a gold medal winner at the 1976 Montreal Games, finished his professional boxing career with a 26-17 record – including three draws and 14 knockouts.

"At the time of his passing his wife Brenda Glur Spinks was by his side. Due to COVID restrictions, only a few close friends and other family were present," The Firm PR said in a widely-circulated statement on Saturday.

"His final fight was fought with the same skill, grace and grit that had carried him through so many lifetime challenges.

"Leon fought his battle with numerous illnesses resiliently, never losing his trademark smile. Showing true Spinks determination, he never threw in the towel."

Spinks, who made his professional debut in 1977, created history when he upstaged Ali by split decision in Las Vegas in 1978.

He won the world heavyweight belt in just his eighth professional fight – the shortest time in history – after outboxing the ageing Ali.

Spinks was the only man to take a title from Ali, though he was stripped of the belt by the WBC for refusing to defend it against Ken Norton, having instead agreed to a rematch with his legendary countryman.

Ali won the second fight via unanimous decision.

Spinks had title bouts against Larry Holmes (1981) and Dwight Muhammad Qawi (1986 at cruiserweight) but lost both before retiring in 1995.

 

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