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Tyson Fury has suggested that Anthony Joshua does not have the self-belief to fight him
Fury, who beat Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBA, IBF and WBO world titles in 2015, returned to the ring in June 2018 following a 32-month absence before earning surprise draw with WBC champion Deontay Wilder in December.
The Briton was knocked down twice but managed to get back up on both occasions to take Wilder the distance and immediately after the bout both boxers expressed an interest in a rematch, but that is on hold as Wilder prepares to fight Dominic Breazeale ahead of Fury's meeting with Tom Schwarz on Saturday, 15 June.
Rumours of a fight against Joshua refuse to go away, however, and Fury has questioned whether Joshua has the belief to take him on.
"Maybe it's a lack of self-belief, to actually be able believe you can beat these top men," Fury told reporters at a press conference to promote his bout against Schwarz.
"When I come back after three year out the ring, ten stone weight loss, mental health problems, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, not for one minute did I believe any of them could ever beat me and I proved that by having a few months of training and jumping straight in with Deontay Wilder.
"Was I afraid of Deontay Wilder, a man who had knocked everybody he had ever fought out? No I wasn't. I believed I could win and that's what makes me different to the rest of them."
Joshua will face Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday, 1 June but Fury believes he needs to 'grow a set of nuts' and start taking on the bigger names if he wants to considered one of the best.
"He’s stuck in a certain year. The big fights ain’t happening for him. He needs to grow a set of nuts and step up to the plate instead of talking about fighting the heavyweights and actually fight some. People are sick of hearing all the same stuff with him – grow up and step up to the plate and fight somebody," Fury explained.
"You have to prove yourself in the boxing ring, that’s how boxing works. I’ve had to prove myself time and time again. Step up and fight somebody."
Fury has kept himself fit since returning to the ring and he admits the training has helped him turn his life around.
"Without the training I go back to how I was: depressed. It's part of me, how I am. It's made me, me. It's very easy to maintain. I'm just training and being healthy. That's what I like to do these days," he added.
Tyson Fury will fight Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas on Saturday, 15 June live on BT Sport Box Office. More details to follow
Getty Images/Alex Burstow