Anthony Joshua called out Tyson Fury and confirmed he would be fighting again this summer as he marked his return to the ring with a unanimous decision victory over Jermaine Franklin on Saturday night.
The former two-time world heavyweight champion looked understandably nervy but largely dominated proceedings against a tough Franklin in what marked his first outing since losing his rematch to Oleksandr Usyk last August.
It marked the beginning of what has been deemed a new chapter for Joshua as he seeks to re-establish himself back among the world’s title-holding heavyweights.
He wasted no time after the final bell in reiterating his interest in an all-British showdown against Tyson Fury.
“I try and provide for the fans, I know who the fans want – who do the fans want? They said Fury, yeah? The ball is in his court,” Joshua said on the DAZN broadcast.
“I would be 100 per cent honored to compete for the WBC Championship of the world.
“I stand here and say that proudly, that would be an honor.
“Wherever you are, if you are listening, you know my management, you know my promoter, we’ve had dialogue before so let’s continue this and hopefully we can get this done sooner rather than later. We aren’t getting any younger.
“I can’t wait to get back to Texas, develop and push on because there’s a bigger fight, you know how one fight leads onto another, I can’t wait to get the next big fight.”
Questions continue to loom over the heavyweight division as a whole in light of talks over a prospective undisputed clash between Fury and Usyk breaking down. While Joe Joyce has emerged as a potential opponent for Fury, Usyk is seemingly heading towards a meeting with mandatory WBA challenger Daniel Dubois.
Aside from Fury, Joshua has also been linked to another fight against old rival Dillian Whyte, who was in attendance to watch the Olympic champion in London on Saturday night, as well as Deontay Wilder, who was notably bumped up to No 1 in the WBA rankings over the weekend.