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unification Anthony Joshua gives his verdict on whether his showdown with Tyson Fury will take place

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Anthony Joshua and (inset) Tyson Fury

Anthony Joshua and (inset) Tyson Fury

Anthony Joshua and (inset) Tyson Fury

Anthony Joshua is “100 per cent” convinced his eagerly-anticipated showdown against fellow Briton Tyson Fury in a bout that would see all four major heavyweight titles on the line will happen this year.

A two-fight deal between Joshua, the WBA, IBF and WBO champion, and Fury, who holds the WBC crown, has already been agreed but locations and dates are still being worked on as the parties go through the finer details.

While Joshua insisted he would welcome a return to Wembley – the scene of his triumphs over Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin in 2017 and 2018 respectively – Saudi Arabia is the frontrunner among the bookmakers to stage the blockbuster against Fury.

Fury said earlier this week there are other offers to consider but Joshua revealed he has already put pen to paper for the contest and is awaiting a response from his rival.

Speaking on The Jonathan Ross Show, which will be broadcast on Saturday on ITV and ITV Hub, Joshua said: “I’ve signed my side of the deal. We’ve sent (Tyson) 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. End of July, early August.

“Where? That’s what’s (causing) 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.”

Joshua, who believes he has “five to six years left” of a professional career that has so far yielded 24 wins and a single defeat in 25 fights, praised the unbeaten Fury for shining a light on mental health in recent years.

Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) has been open about his struggles with depression, which he says drove him to the brink of suicide during a two-and-a-half-year hiatus from the sport after beating Klitschko in November 2015.

He made a comeback and in February last year became a world champion again when he stopped Deontay Wilder in the seventh round of their Las Vegas rematch, having previously fought to a draw in December 2018.

Joshua (24-1, 22KOs), said: “It’s tough for someone to go through that mental pressure and pull themselves back up. A lot of people are suffering in this world. We put on a brave face don’t we?

“He’s put it out to the world, ‘this is what I’ve gone through, if I’m a boxer, heavyweight champion of the world, hard man, if I can go through it…’. It gives people hope. I respect it, 100 per cent you have to respect it.”

As for whether they have met or are friends away from the ring, Joshua said: “Yeah I have (met Tyson). I don’t even know what we are. I’ve seen him face-to-face and people on video and social media are different than face-to-face.”

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