Anthony Joshua has eye on Tyson Fury as he prepares to fight Wladimir Klitschko

Anthony Joshua insists any future fight with Tyson Fury would be his biggest to date and he would welcome the Mancunian's return to the ring.

Joshua, the current IBF heavyweight champion, is preparing for a showdown with Wladimir Klitschko later this month at Wembley in front of a record 90,000 crowd, but he took time out from his preparations to bite back at Fury's barbs on Twitter this week.

And while defeating the last man to beat Klitschko is not Joshua's immediate priority, the prospect of an all-British bout between him and the controversial Fury could arrive thereafter.

Fury became the first man to defeat Klitschko in 11 years in 2015 but has not been seen in the ring since, with his boxing licence suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control in October "pending further investigation into anti-doping and medical issues".

Joshua insists Fury has remained on his radar and would relish the opportunity to go head-to-head should he make a comeback.

Klitschko fighting Fury in 2015

Asked who his biggest fight would pit him against, the 27-year-old replied: "I think Tyson Fury.

"I couldn't say what his plans are. I'm not going anywhere. I'm here as a fighter. I've been disciplined, I've stayed on track.

"If it were up to me, that would have been the fight happening this summer. That's what I thought. I was planning for a massive showdown with Tyson Fury, but he had other plans and I just had to carry on. When he returns, I'm sure I'll still be here.

"Do I want him to come back? Yes, definitely."

Joshua's ire was drawn on social media on Tuesday when Fury labelled him a "poor man's Frank Bruno", to which his subject responded with an offer of two ringside seats to his fight with Klitschko and reiterated that the only reason the two have not fought was due to his opponent.

"It's quite disrespectful," Joshua said of Fury's tweet.

"If he's an all-time great then why is he worrying about who is behind him? You should focus on your future. I must be so relevant to these people that are in front of me.

"I just find it so disrespectful. He calls himself the greatest of all time, 'the GOAT'. If I was 'the GOAT' I would never worry about who is behind me. I'm leading the way."

"Twitter is about communication and it's just communicating. He addresses me and tweets me quite often and I was just in the frame of mind where I thought me and Klitschko don't have much verbals, so let me respond to Fury."

The build-up to Joshua's meeting with Klitschko has been dominated by respect rather than resentment, with neither fighter renowned for trash talking.

Joshua admitted any preview to a fight with Fury could reveal a darker side to him, and brushed aside concerns that his social-media spat had taken his focus away from what lies in wait at Wembley.

"For the five minutes I was (tweeting) and then I had to go training," he said when asked if Fury was a distraction. "But I would have gone back and forth."

 

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