Anthony Joshua accepts challenge from bluff merchant Tyson Fury - but this fight won’t happen next

Boxing Twitter was at fever pitch on Monday night when Anthony Joshua accepted a challenge from Tyson Fury - but this is all premature...

Very few boxing fans actually believed that Fury would keep to his word and stick to his retirement after demolishing Dillian Whyte back in April.

True to form, Fury has flip-flopped between retiring and making a comeback more times than people have hot dinners in recent months.

'The Gypsy King' is siding more on returning and he made a lot of noise on social media in the lead-up and aftermath of the Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk rematch.

The WBC world heavyweight champion does have a new book coming out at the start of November, so take from that what you will.

Fury vs Derek Chisora, a trilogy fight no one asked for, was heavily discussed before AJ vs Usyk II but thankfully this proposed clash is now off.

A bout against the Joshua-Usyk winner was the obvious route to go down for Fury, with him targeting a return before the end of this year.

Usyk has now made it clear that he does not intend to fight again until next year, though.

His circumstances are completely different to his rivals given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, so he can be forgiven for wanting time off to recover with his family and loved ones.

With that, Fury's next opponent is a little bit unclear. But with Eddie Hearn proclaiming that a quick return and subsequent world tour is on the cards for AJ, his British rival seemingly played his hand via a video posted to Twitter on Monday evening.

Fury said: "I think you all heard that I will be fighting soon, within the next few months. I think before I announce an opponent, I need to do this just in case.

"Anthony Joshua, I know you've just lost a fight to Usyk and you're beltless at the moment. I'd like to give you an opportunity to fight me for the WBC heavyweight championship of the world and the lineal championship in the next few months.

"You're coming off a 12-round fight so you're match fit, you're ready. I'm giving you a few months' notice.

"If you're interested, I'll send you a date over and we can rumble. A battle of Britain for the WBC championship of the world; if you're not interested, let me know and I'll select another opponent."

These words taken without context make Fury come across as a humble and giving champion who is willing to offer a helping hand to his fallen Brit.

Yet there was likely more to this video as Fury put Joshua in a difficult position to see if he really wants this eagerly-anticipated fight.

AJ is not as active on social media as Fury and frankly, no one is. But a response came within a couple of hours and he got the tone of his message spot on:

There is no doubt that along with Usyk, Fury is the best heavyweight fighter around today. So, it is a shame that anything he says now can only be taken with a pinch of salt.

His public image has declined somewhat in recent months with even his loyalist supporters growing sick of his endless callouts to rivals that are soon withdrawn.

Joshua is not stupid; he knows as much as anyone that Fury's words cannot be taken seriously.

So, by telling him to go through his 258 management team, the pressure is put straight back on Fury and we will soon find out if he is bluffing once again.

There is an argument to be made that Fury saw Joshua's breakdown after losing to Usyk and thought that now would be the opportune time to face AJ.

Fury would no doubt fancy himself to beat Joshua in a similar manner to how he downed Whyte, but whether he wants a challenge in his next fight or a tune-up, a la Sefer Seferi or Francesco Pianeta, is yet to be seen.

But even if Fury is telling the truth on this rare occasion, the AJ fight is unlikely to happen next even if both men want it.

Certain media outlets jumped too early with their clickbait suggesting that this fight is as good as done. This could not be further from the truth.

If you cast your mind back to last year, it took several months of talks to even get the Fury-Joshua fight close to being agreed upon before Deontay Wilder's arbitration case ruined those plans.

So with Fury and Joshua both seemingly wanting to fight in December, it is very difficult to foresee this fight being signed and sealed within a couple of months.

Especially given the bad blood between Hearn and Frank Warren/Bob Arum, which only got worse after Fury vs Joshua collapsed last summer.

As much as everyone wants to see them fight, it is difficult to trust the process after boxing fans have been left disappointed time and time again with politics preventing dream bouts from happening.

It is more likely that this was a ruse from Fury and that he already has a foe lined up for December. I just hope that it's not Mahmoud Charr, for Christ's sake.

A December meeting with Fury and AJ is a pipe dream but if boxing politics was not an issue, it would be a perfect time for them to fight with Usyk waiting in the wings for the winner next year.

Sadly, there is very rarely common sense in boxing matchmaking, and that is one of the sport's core issues.

So be ready to watch Fury and Joshua in underwhelming fights in December or early 2023 as the one we all want is pretty much off the table.

READ MORE: Anthony Joshua's trainer admits Brit was 'mentally defeated' by Oleksandr Usyk in rematch...

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