Anthony Joshua's heavyweight rivals don't believe they can beat him, according to former cruiserweight world champion Tony Bellew.
Bellew, who had a brief spell in the heavyweight division and who is a close acquaintance to Joshua, has backed the Brit despite many fans criticising him for tip-toeing his way around fighting Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder.
A unification bout between Joshua and Wilder has been on the cards for years now, and the blame has gone back and forth between the pair as to why the fight has never been announced.
WBC champion Wilder has confirmed his next title defence against Dominic Breazeale in Brooklyn on May 18, who Joshua knocked out in 2016, whilst Fury will reportedly face German Tom Schwarz on June 15, according to numerous reports.
Joshua will come up against Jarrell Miller in his next fight on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in what is set to be the Brit's Stateside debut.
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Many have criticised all three boxers for not giving what the fans want, which is big-name fights with what is believed to be TV deals and arguments over fight purses the main issue as to why none of the fights have been announced.
Bellew, who retired last year following a TKO loss to Oleksandr Uysk, believes Joshua isn't the one in the wrong over the breakdowns in fight negotiations.
“Tyson Fury's new deal with ESPN is a problem as television networks do not typically work too well with one another, and given both Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder are with other broadcasters, it's a bit ugly,” he told the BBC.
“One thing we need, ultimately, is to know who the number one heavyweight is in the world.”
Bellew also expressed that Joshua should rightly be the A-side and is the man who holds all the cards as the current holder of the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
“There has never been a fighter in any weight division in the history of boxing who has held three of the four belts - as Joshua does - and not been considered number one,” the Evertonian added.
“So that makes that clear - Joshua is the main man, despite what some may say. And being number one, that gives you the financial lead when entering into any negotiations.
“If Fury or Wilder held three belts in the division, do you really think they would give an opponent 50-50?
“Joshua is offering some of these guys more in one night than they have earned in their whole career and yet they still want to complain. He's also saying if they win and they rematch, he'd flip the terms.
“We know who the number one is. If you believe you can beat him take the pay day and you'll make even more in the rematch.
“Do they really believe they can beat him though? I'm not so sure.”
Despite Joshua and Wilder being clear favourites to breeze past their next opponents, an upset in both fights shouldn't be off the cards as Miller brings an undefeated record to the table and Breazeale's only professional loss was to the hands of Joshua himself.
As for Fury, we cannot confirm his next opponent, however, undefeated Tom Swhwarz is favourite to take on the Brit, and that by no means is an easy fight.News Now - Sport News