Warning for Joshua ahead of world title defence

Joshua hails his fans at the weigh-in
Joshua hails his fans at the weigh-in
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Larry Holmes has warned Anthony Joshua he will not be allowed to forget about Tyson Fury until the two finally fight

The WBA and IBF heavyweight champion on Saturday under the roof at Cardiff's Principality Stadium is expected to attract a world record indoor fight crowd of 70,000 when he defends his titles against France's Carlos Takam.

His April defeat of Wladimir Klitschko, the dominant heavyweight of the modern era, also means he does so while established as the division's leading fighter and that he may already have had his defining fight.

Immediately after stopping Klitschko, Joshua spoke of his desire to fight Fury and he repeated that desire earlier this week.

Having outpointed Klitschko in 2015 Fury was also once considered the world's finest heavyweight, and even amid the circumstances surrounding his inactivity, Holmes believes until they fight Joshua's critics will not allow him to move on.

Despite Fury being without a boxing licence at least until the final ruling of his postponed hearing with UK Anti-Doping, the decorated Holmes told Press Association Sport: "If he doesn't beat Tyson Fury, it's going to be thrown up.

"'What about Tyson Fury? What about Tyson Fury?'. Everywhere you go, you're going to hear that name.

"So you take that name off the table. Get him. Challenge him. Put him on defence; you go offence.

"Tell them, 'In my next fight I want to fight Tyson Fury. Everyone's talking about Tyson Fury; let me have him. Give him. I'm ready now to sign the contract'."

Fury, at 29 a year older than Joshua, had planned to return to the ring this year and most recently spoke of his desire to do so in 2018.

The hearing with UKAD, which began in May but was adjourned because of a potential conflict of interest involving a member of the panel, was due to rule on allegations Fury and his cousin Hughie tested positively for nandrolone in 2015.

"He's good, he can take a punch and knows how to fight," was the 67-year-old Holmes' verdict of Joshua.