RIYADH – Queensberry promoter Frank Warren has dismissed Anthony Joshua’s hopes of fighting the winner of Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk later in 2024.

Joshua’s stoppage of Francis Ngannou in March means he is on course to fight whichever of Fury and Usyk emerges as the winner of the two-fight series that begins on Saturday at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, when they contest the undisputed heavyweight title.

It had previously been suggested that a one-sided fight on Saturday could lead to the cancellation of the rematch that is expected before the conclusion of 2024, and Joshua – whose trainer Ben Davison, once the trainer of Fury, has spoken of wanting a third fight between Joshua and Usyk, 37 – will be ringside in Riyadh.

That Joshua is already in town makes it tempting to conclude that he is attempting to enhance his profile to secure the fight with Fury he has long wanted. (The 35-year-old Fury was similarly dismissive of Joshua’s ambitions.) But at a time when Joshua is also expected to fight at Wembley Stadium in September, Warren has reminded him that he will have to wait.

“There’s obviously a rematch clause, but if Tyson comes through, of course we want to see the big fight between Fury and AJ. But I don’t think that will be the fight afterwards,” Warren said.

“I don’t think it will be because there is so much money involved for the loser of this fight. I don’t know what sort of step-aside money you’d give them to do that.

“It would only happen if someone was out of action after this first fight that would be a thing. But it will come around quick. [If he wins in September] Joshua will fight the winner in February.”

The long sought-after fight between Joshua and Fury became possible partly because of the willingness of Warren and his long-term rival Eddie Hearn – Joshua’s promoter – to work together. Warren, 72, said: “I’ve only spoken to him a few times. It’s a game, isn’t it? It’s the same old bulls***, and everybody loves all that.

“But what we’ve got out of it is a great concept now. We have the show in June, which more people are talking about than [Artur] Beterbiev-[Dmitry] Bivol. It’s great times.

“It’s on four channels [this Saturday]: Amazon [Prime], TNT [Sports], Sky [Sports] and DAZN.

“If me and my old mate Eddie can work together, the TV companies can work together. Everybody’s working together to make this what it should be – which is a success. This is a fabulous fight. If you weren’t involved in it, it’s a fabulous fight.

“I don’t know why, but everybody talks about old people as though they’re bitter. ‘Why are you in it?’ I remember someone asked Mickey Duff why he’s still doing it, and he said, ‘To get even.’

I don’t have to get even. I’m having the time of my life. I’m enjoying myself, and it’s great. I enjoy working with the young kids, and as long as I’m enjoying it, great. If I wasn’t doing this, what would I be doing? I’d be driving my old woman mad.”

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