Tyson Fury has broken his silence to challenge Anthony Joshua to a December showdown.
The undefeated former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion has been observing a self-imposed gag after being fined £15,000 for a foul-mouthed outburst in July.
But he couldn’t resist responding to Eddie Hearn’s claims that Joshua would ‘destroy’ him if they ever stepped into the ring together.
Now Fury has told the Matchroom promoter to put up or shut up.
The 26-year-old from Wilmslow tweeted: “I challenge @anthonyfjoshua @EddieHearn to fight in December after I smash chisora. If u don’t want to fight say sorry for mentioning me!?”
Hearn’s claim was a lofty one, considering Olympic gold-medallist Joshua has only fought nine times as a professional.
Fury is on the verge of a world title shot after 22 straight wins. He faces Dereck Chisora next month in a final eliminator for Wladimir Klitschko’s WBO title.
Yet Hearn is adamant Joshua has the beating of his British rivals, stating: “He destroys Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora right got now,” he said.
“There’s not even a question. He’d destroy them. He’d absolutely destroy them - but they are not necessarily the right fights for this time now.”
The British Boxing Board of Control fined Fury for his expletive-laden rant during an angry press conference with Chisora. In response he staged a silent protest when the two men got together last month to promote their clash at the Excel Arena in London on November 29. He turned up at the Grosvenor Hotel in Mayfair with masking tape over his mouth and would only answer questions by way of hand gestures.
But Hearn's comments have riled him. And after seeing two clashes with David Haye fall through last year, he insists it is time to make the big fights happen.
He Tweeted: “Too much talking & avoiding going on in world heavyweight boxing. Let it not be just about the money it’s killing boxing. Lets fight each other”
Fury added that he would have too much power for 24-year-old Joshua, tweeting: “@EddieHearn would never dream of putting @anthonyfjoshua in the same ring as me so stop going on about it! #wouldntlast3rounds. Booooom” Hearn responded: "correct - you wouldn't last 3 rounds. Time will tell-concentrate on your fight..hope it happens for you good luck."
For his part Joshua has tried to distance himself from comparisons with Fury - insisting he wants to develop as a fighter before turning his attentions to potential clashes with his British rivals.
“I don’t want to start saying certain things about certain people because they don’t hold much substance at the level I’m at,” said the Londoner, who fights Michael Sprott next month.
“At the level I’m at I will dominate and move up. Once I get to their level I have to beat certain fighters before I can fight Fury.
“If he (Tyson) is confident for the fight then I am sure we will get it on in the future.”