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Joshua will only silence critics by taking on Fury, says Holmes

 

By Declan Warrington

Larry Holmes has warned Anthony Joshua he will not be allowed to forget about Tyson Fury until the two finally fight.

Tonight, the WBA and IBF heavyweight champion - 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 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 said: "If he doesn't beat Tyson Fury, it's going to be thrown up.

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

"So 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'."

Fury, at 29 a year older than Joshua, had planned to return 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.

• Katie Taylor will still be eligible to win the WBA lightweight title in Cardiff tonight after it was made vacant when Anahi Sanchez failed to make weight.

Argentina's Sanchez had been scheduled to make her first title defence on the undercard of Joshua's bout with Takam at the Principality Stadium, but has been stripped of the belt after being a pound overweight.

The 26-year-old was given a further two hours to successfully make the 9st 9lb limit but again could not do so.

Their fight will go ahead but only Taylor is eligible to win the vacant title.

A statement issued by fight promoters Matchroom read: "Anahi Sanchez failed to make the weight when she returned to the scales.

"The two teams have agreed that the fight will go ahead, the WBA World lightweight title is now vacant and only Katie can win the belt."

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