ANTHONY JOSHUA could have fought Tyson Fury but decided to take the Oleksandr Usyk rematch instead, promoter Eddie Hearn has claimed.
AJ will rematch Usyk on August 20 in Saudi Arabia as he looks to reclaim the three world heavyweight titles he lost in London back in September.
Hearn, far right, insists Joshua, right, could have fought Joshua rather than Usyk, left
Fury confirmed he was hanging up his gloves after beating Whyte at Wembley
Meanwhile, Fury announced his retirement from boxing after knocking out Dillian Whyte at Wembley back in April.
But Hearn, whose promotional company Matchroom Boxing will promote Usyk-Joshua II, insists an all-British dust-up with Fury could have been made had AJ wanted it.
Speaking to iFL TV, he said: “The one thing I get stopped the most about is ‘when is Anthony Joshua fighting Tyson Fury’?
“To be honest with you, AJ could have probably just skipped this fight [Usyk] and fought Tyson Fury. That fight’s always going to be the biggest in boxing, isn’t it?
“So he should be getting tremendous credit for not just fighting him once but going straight back into the rematch.”
Hearn, who insists an AJ-Fury fight will still be on the table regardless of the outcome of the Usyk rematch, then hit back at Fury’s comments about fighting Joshua for free.
The Gypsy King said he wants the highly-anticipated heavyweight clash to be on free-to-air TV and for them both to fight “for the people”.
To which Hearn responded: “Tyson Fury has done a lot of remarkable things. But one of the great skills which I would love to have is the ability to talk absolute b******* and for people to just believe you.
“It was a week or two ago when he said ‘I’m not coming out of retirement, you have to give me £500million to bring me out of retirement’. And then last week he said ‘I’ll fight Joshua for free’.
“It doesn’t take a great deal of common sense to say ‘that don’t make sense’.”
Hearn also claimed that Fury had reached out to Derek Chisora about fighting him in December.
However, Fury was quoted earlier this week as saying talks were ongoing about a potential exhibition bout against Game of Thrones star Hafthor Bjornsson in London in November.
He said: “It would be a bit of fun. It would be great to get in there in front of, say, 70,000 fans and show him what boxing is all about, make him miss, and knock him out.
“We are talking to his team at the moment and it is definitely something I’m interested in.”