Fury has not fought since taking four belts from Wladimir Klitschko in September 2015, but, with his well-publicised problems with UK Anti-Doping now behind him, the 29-year-old has returned to training.
The Manchester-born fighter still needs the British boxing Board of Control to return his professional licence, but he has spent the last week telling Joshua, in several interviews and on social media, that he will be back soon to retake the titles he was forced to give up.
Not that the 28-year-old Joshua, who holds the IBF, IBO and WBA belts, has been paying much attention as he prepares for his next fight at the end of March, most likely against WBO champion Joseph Parker.
Speaking to Press Association Sport at BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday, Joshua said he had not heard Fury’s latest claim that he was just a muscle-bound “carthorse” and these taunts were just “what I deal with in my industry”.
On the more important issue of when Fury might be ready to back up these words in the ring, Joshua said: “I don’t know if he is back or what his situation is, but, as I always say, I stay consistent with what I’m doing and it’s up to him to get back on the gravy train.
“So calling somebody out is irrelevant when you don’t know if you’re going to live up to your words.
“I’m sure he will, but at this present time he’s saying he needs warm-up fights. So tune in to what’s important and then focus on the bigger picture – that’s your strategy.”
Joshua, who beat Klitschko in arguably the fight of the year at Wembley in March, believes Fury would be better served by “working his way back” over the next two years, but, if the self-styled ‘Gypsy King’ is in a hurry, so be it.
“If he wants to get straight in the ring with me in the summer, let’s rock and roll,” the London 2012 Olympic champion said.
“The ball is in his court but either way I’m ready to roll – I don’t mind what we do.”
One potential opponent for Fury on the road to a clash with Joshua is Tony Bellew, who is scheduled to fight another former British world heavyweight champion, David Haye, in May.
Bellew and Fury have enjoyed several sessions of verbal sparring and the Liverpudlian told Press Association Sport he would gladly take on the returning champion.
“To tell the truth, I just want to see him back in a boxing ring,” said Bellew.
“I’d love to be his first fight back because if he meets me it will the quickest comeback in the history of boxing.”
In the meantime, Joshua has an appointment with a specialist to check that his nose has healed after Carlos Takam tagged him in an otherwise routine defence of his belts in October.
“It didn’t break but it had all the symptoms,” explained Joshua, who was the hot favourite to win Sports Personality of the Year but finished fourth on a night of surprises in Liverpool.
“He definitely changed its position and I was bit bunged up for a little while after.
“But I’m going to see a specialist next week just to make sure there’s no internal damage, because obviously breathing is so important with boxing, that’s all. It’s all right.”
A statement from Showtime Sports said the August fight between boxing star Mayweather and mixed martials arts king McGregor generated 4.3 million pay-per-view buys in North America.
Only one other fight – Mayweather’s 2015 bout with Manny Pacquiao – has ever drawn more, racking up 4.6 million buys to earn around $600 million.
The Mayweather-McGregor pay-per-view total is almost double the third-biggest fight of all time, Oscar De La Hoya’s 2007 fight with Mayweather, which had 2.48 million buys.
Showtime said in a statement that global revenues, including ticket sales, sponsorship and international distribution, Mayweather and McGregor had exceeded $600 million.
“The pairing of Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor brought together two very significant and distinct global fan bases in one truly unprecedented event,” Showtime Sports chief Stephen Espinoza told ESPN.
“The remarkable results are all the more impressive considering that the planning, marketing and execution took place across a span of just 72 days from the initial announcement to fight night.”
The Mayweather-McGregor fight was widely dismissed as a circus before the bout, which was eventually won by Mayweather – returning from a two-year retirement — with a 10th round knockout.
Meanwhile Philippine boxing hero Pacquiao said last week he too was seeking his own showdown with McGregor, confirming he had opened talks with the Irishman to possibly fight in April.
Controversial former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury vowed Tuesday to put the “nightmare of the last two years” behind him and reclaim his world titles after being cleared to resume his career.
The British boxer agreed a compromise with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) over his positive test for the banned steroid nandrolone, which has resulted in a two-year ban that has been backdated to December 2015.
The 29-year-old has been given the go-ahead to fight again immediately, subject to receiving a licence.
Fury, who has not fought since his shock win against Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to become the undisputed heavyweight world champion, said he was looking forward to getting back into the ring.
“I’m a fighting man through and through and I’ve never backed down from anyone in my life and I was certainly not going to back down from fighting this dispute,” he said.
He had been charged along with his cousin Hughie, who also failed a test for nandrolone in February 2015.
“Hughie and I have maintained our innocence from day one and we’re now happy that it has finally been settled with UKAD and that we can move forward knowing that we’ll not be labelled drug cheats,” added Tyson Fury.
@anthonyfjoshua where you at boy? I’m coming for you punk ent no1 blocking my path now!👊🏻
— TYSON2FASTFURY (@Tyson_Fury) December 12, 2017
“I can now put the nightmare of the last two years behind me… Next year I will be back doing what I do best, better than ever and ready to reclaim the world titles which are rightfully mine.”
Fury immediately laid down a challenge to compatriot Anthony Joshua, who successfully defended his IBF and WBA titles against Carlos Takam in October.
Fury tweeted: “@anthonyfjoshua where you at boy? I’m coming for you punk ent no1 blocking my path now!”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has said he wants to see his fighter take on Fury in an all-British showdown next year.
The Furys were not charged by UKAD until June 2016, by which time Tyson Fury had beaten Klitschko.
Four months later, the British Boxing Board of Control suspended his licence after he had given up his world titles to focus on recovering from mental health problems.
Both Hughie and Tyson Fury have strongly denied the nandrolone charges, saying the positive tests were a result of eating wild boar that had not been castrated.
Tyson Fury also failed a test for cocaine in September 2016 and later admitted using the recreational drug to deal with depression related to his injury and UKAD problems.
As part of the compromise deal, UKAD withdrew a charge against Tyson Fury of failure to provide a sample in September 2016.
“The anti-doping rule violations based on the reported presence of elevated levels of nandrolone metabolites are upheld, the refusal charge is withdrawn, Hughie and Tyson Fury each receive a two-year period of ineligibility,” the UKAD statement said.
“The two-year period of ineligibility is backdated to 13 December 2015, and therefore expires at midnight on 12 December 2017,” it added.
UKAD added that the two fighters’ results from February 2015 had been disqualified, but that later results, including Fury’s victory over Klitschko, would stand.
Full statement from UKAD and Tyson Fury which declares he is CLEARED to box again from tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/UGDacfnSXB
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) December 12, 2017