Fury and Usyk


AJ wants to be a three-time world champion after seeing his £100m Deontay Wilder payday go up in smoke

ANTHONY JOSHUA is targeting becoming a three-time world heavyweight champion in Saudi Arabia on March 9.

Joshua’s planned £100million superfight with Deontay Wilder has been KO’d following the American’s shock Saturday defeat to New Zealand’s Joseph Parker.

But AJ is now eyeing a “creme de la creme” crunch with Croatian Filip Hrgovic back in Riyadh for the IBF belt.

Anthony Joshua Fury vs Usyk

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk meet for the undisputed WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO heavyweight crown in Saudi on February 17.

However, the winner will be ordered to face the IBF’s mandatory challenger Hrgovic and both boxers are ready to relinquish that belt in favour of a rematch.

That would then set up a Joshua-Hrgovic IBF title fight on the same March 9 date that the Brit was supposed to face Wilder.

And Joshua declared: “If it’s a fight for the heavyweight championship of the world or fight a big-name opponent, I will always choose the former because that’s the creme de la creme.

“It’s the most prestigious title you can win.

“I will try to come out again for Fury and Usyk, I tend not to go to fights, but that’s an iconic one.

Anthony Joshua Fury vs Usyk

“Once that fight is out of the way, then the heavyweight division opens up again and we can start leaning toward becoming champions.”

Joshua, 34, proved he is back to his best with a five-round demolition of Swede Otto Wallin in Riyadh — just minutes after Wilder’s shock loss on the same bill.

AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn admitted he wanted “to vomit” after Wilder’s defeat wrecked the mega two-fight deal which had just been signed.

But asked if a hat-trick of heavyweight reigns is his priority over big-money fights, Joshua added: “Every fight leads toward the final destination.

“I have bigger ambitions, I don’t celebrate when I win these fights, I celebrate when I win world championships.”

Anthony Joshua Fury vs Usyk

The ruthless IBF have stripped champs for long-waiting mandatory challengers before.

Fury lost his red belt just nine days after he dethroned Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, because he signed up for a doomed rematch.

The same fate befell welterweight don Terence Crawford two months after he dominated Errol Spence for all four belts last August.

Hrgovic has been waiting 18 months for a crack at the IBF crown, so the super-strict New Jersey-based organisation could take action as soon as Fury and Usyk finish.