Anthony Joshua says Tyson Fury will need to a get a “few fights” under his belt before they finally meet in the ring.
The British pair are seen as the two leading heavyweights in the sport but while AJ’s reputation is built on recent success, his domestic rival’s is arguably based on past glories.
Fury has not fought since beating Wladimir Klitschko to claim the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO titles in November 2015.
His battles away from the ring have been well documented but he has maintained his public image with a series of outbursts, many of which have been aimed at Joshua, who he has described as a “body builder”.
It is the 28-year-old who owns the belts at the moment though and with Fury planning a comeback, has told him to get some fights under his belt and then they can start talking about what would be a massive domestic clash.
“He is a lively opponent when he is fit,” he told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek.
“He has his own battles and demons to face and once he has got over them he’s more than welcome to enter a ring with me. It’s something we should be focusing in on 2018.
“With all due respect to Tyson Fury, it would be wise if his handlers got him a few fights. Get the body ticking over again and get that love for the sport back. Get a few wins under the belt and then we can get it cracking.”
Meanwhile, Chris Eubank Jr is 1.70 to beat George Groves on February 3, with his opponent 2.25 and the draw 21.00.