Former heavyweight unified world titleholder Anthony Joshua has accused Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder of working together to avoid fighting him.
Fury will face Tom Schwarz on September 14 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and Wilder will clash with Luis Ortiz in a rematch on an undetermined date in November. Should both of them win, both superstars will fight again on Feb. 22 in Las Vegas.
However, in December of last year, Joshua told ESPN that he was not interested in fighting Fury.
“I’m not interested in Tyson Fury - he’s not the champion, that’s where I’m coming from.”
Fury has been the ‘lineal champion’ after beating then-unified champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015.
Joshua scoffed at Fury’s designation.
“That lineal status. When I was joining the heavyweight ranks, no one told me about the lineal champion.”
Joshua suffered his first career defeat back in June, when Andy Ruiz dropped him four times en route to a seventh round knockout at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He faces Ruiz in a rematch on December 7 at a soon-to-be constructed outdoor stadium in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Since the loss, Joshua (22-1, 21 KO’s) has changed his approach, and is now accusing Fury and Wilder of leaving him behind.
"I've got something to fight for now. The guys I wanted to fight are tying themselves up for a year-and-a-half. They froze me out. Wilder has [agreed] his next fight with Ortiz, his next fight with Fury," Joshua told Sky Sports.
"We take on the best competitors in the division every time. We take challenges, and Ruiz Jr was the best of the crop that was available to me. Manuel Charr, Michael Hunter? How can I fight someone like Charr? I wanted the best, and Ruiz Jr was the best. If you want to win every fight, don't step into battle.
"All eyes on Ruiz Jr. Nobody can talk to me about Wilder or Fury - that is irrelevant. And nobody should talk to me about Wilder or Fury after I beat Ruiz Jr, because they have made it clear what they are doing. They have got the whole of 2020 booked up. Until they are free, nobody talk to me about Wilder or Fury."