TYSON FURY boasted that he can beat Anthony Joshua 'with one arm tied behind my back' despite 16-months out the ring.
The pair are in talks for an undisputed title decider, where the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO belts will all be on the line for the first time in heavyweight history.
But Fury, 32, last fought in February, when he dethroned Deontay Wilder, 35, two years after their contentious draw.
Joshua, 31, won as recently as December, knocking out Kubrat Pulev, 39, in a mandatory defence.
With negotiations progressing for a June headliner, it will mean Fury goes into the biggest fight of his life with a 16 month layoff.
But he claims even the ring rust does not make up for the skill disparity between himself and AJ.
Fury told ESPN: "He only fought in December, so December – June is only six months out the ring.
"So, he'll be a full year ahead of me in activity. But, I'm that much in front of him with skill, a year of inactivity doesn't really do that much.
"But you can never beat being match-fit and being active and being out regular, any fighter will tell you the same.
"If you're out regular and you're match-fit, then you should be able to beat people that are inactive, that's for sure.
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"But I don't make excuses, I had three-years out the ring, came back and beat Deontay Wilder's ass.
"So, I'm sure I can beat Anthony Joshua with one arm tied behind my back, even after being out the ring for 16 months."
SunSport understands a deal is set to be announced at the start of March and a non-disclosure agreement is keeping discussions top secret.
But it has not stopped Fury from voicing his concern over terms failing to be agreed, and revealed plans to fight twice in 2021, with or without AJ.
And if a mega-money Battle of Britain cannot commence, the unbeaten heavyweight wants to return as early as April.
Fury explained: "If that fight doesn't happen this summer, it's got to happen sooner or later.
"But Top Rank has to give me two fights this year. I will fight two times on ESPN. I don't care who it is.
"If it's not Joshua, we're looking to fight in April or early May, and the end of the year.
"If it is Joshua, then June and the end of the year. Bang, bang. So, 2021 is looking bright."
Saudi Arabia, which hosted AJ’s December 2019 rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jr, is leading the race to hold the fight.
But America, Qatar, Dubai, Singapore and China have all expressed their interest in hosting.
With the coronavirus fall-out unlikely to let 90,000 fans back into Wembley stadium for a while, the UK has to hope to host the rematch of the planned two-fight rivalry.
Fury usually spends the final leg of his training camp in the US, with his last four fights being held Stateside, having not boxed in the UK since 2018.
But the WBC king has already started his preparations at his Morecambe base, but fans have been given limited access.
It came after he gave up social media for lent, between February 17 and April 3, as well as diet and Coke Zero.
Fury revealed: "I'm taking an absence from fizzy drinks and social media, they were my two give-ups for lent this year.
"I usually drinks 2-3 cans of like, diet or zero sodas and I'd look at Instagram, Twitter usually everyday.
"So to give them two things up, I'd thought it'd be a good challenge for 40 days and 40 nights
"Neither of them so far have been tough. I can give up anything.
"If I can get back from 400-odd-pounds down to 250, I can do anything."
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