Boxing: Joshua ready to take up Fury's 'Battle of Britain' challenge

Anthony Joshua said that he wants to return to the ring before the end of the year. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON - Anthony Joshua has said that he would be ready to fight world champion Tyson Fury in December after he was issued a public challenge on Monday to fight a "Battle of Britain" for the WBC (World Boxing Council) heavyweight boxing belt.

Joshua, 32, suffered a second straight loss to Ukraine's WBA (World Boxing Association), WBO (World Boxing Organisation), IBF (International Boxing Federation) and IBO (International Boxing Organisation) champion Oleksandr Usyk in a title rematch in Saudi Arabia in August and has said that he wants to return to the ring before the end of the year.

Fury, 34, announced in April after beating Dillian Whyte that he was fulfilling a promise to his wife to retire but has subsequently said he will fight again.

"You've all heard that I am going to be fighting soon within the next few months," he said in a video directed at the former champion on social media.

"Anthony Joshua, I know you've just lost a fight to Usyk and you're bout-less at the moment, and 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, and you're ready. I'm giving you a few months' notice."

Usyk said after the fight in Jeddah that he was interested in a bout with Fury but media reports have said he will not fight again this year in order to rest and spend time with his family.

The Ukrainian reiterated last Friday that he hoped to set up a unification bout with Fury in 2023, and for now, Fury has his eyes set on Joshua.

"If you're interested I'll send you the date over and we can rumble," he told Joshua in the video.

"A Battle of Britain for the WBC heavyweight championship of the world. Let me know if you're interested, if not I will select another opponent."

Joshua responded by saying he would be ready to fight if Fury stuck to his word, and that Fury should contact his management team instead.

"I don't do online discussions just for clout," he wrote on an Instagram story.

"So if you're really about it, shout #258mgt (Joshua's management company). I'll be ready in December."

Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao, who retired from boxing last year for a tilt at the Philippines presidency, said on Tuesday that he is considering an exhibition fight in Saudi Arabia in January.

The 43-year-old legendary former world champion is to hold talks over a fight against French former sparring partner Jaber Zayani in Riyadh. REUTERS, AFP

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