Message to AJ? Billy Joe Saunders jokes about Tyson Fury's Nigeria gumshield

Billy Joe Saunders believes the Nigeria-themed gumshield worn by Tyson Fury during his victory over Deontay Wilder was a ‘little hello’ to Anthony Joshua.

Fury appeared to reference Joshua’s Nigerian heritage with a green-and-white striped mouthguard – with the word ‘Nigeria’ written across it – as he was crowned WBC world heavyweight champion at the MGM Grand last weekend.

The Gypsy King’s emphatic win in Las Vegas reignited talk of a potential unification fight between the two Brits, but Wilder has since confirmed his plans to trigger a rematch clause for a trilogy bout.

Saunders has backed Fury to stop Joshua after ‘six or seven rounds’ should a fight take place after the Wilder rematch later this year.

And he reckons his pal’s gumshield was meant as a cheeky message to Joshua, who holds the WBO, IBO, WBA and IBF belts following his victory over Andy Ruiz back in December.

Asked about Fury’s mouthguard last Saturday, Saunders told iFL TV: ‘I’ve seen a picture of it, yeah. I don’t know. It’s probably just a little hello to Anthony Joshua.

‘Listen, it doesn’t matter what gumshield you’ve got in, does it? You’re in there, you’re doing a job.

‘Perhaps he’s got some Nigerian in him.’

Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has confirmed his plans to set up a mouthwatering showdown with Fury and backed his man to come out on top in a battle of the Brits.

‘You box him, you fight him, you fight him on the inside. You know what he’s going to do, you know he’s got the ability to do whatever he wants,’ Hearn told Seconds Out. 

‘He won’t walk Joshua down like he did to Wilder, he won’t, Joshua’s too strong, he’s too sharp and he’s too good.

‘He’s [Joshua] not just waiting for this big right hand over the top.

‘He’s got left hooks, he’s got uppercuts, he can fight to the body, he can fight on the inside, he can fight long.

‘And Fury knows that, Fury will fight the fight against AJ that he boxed against Wladimir Klitschko.

‘I don’t believe AJ loses that fight but right now, the bookmakers say AJ is the underdog in that fight and I love it.

‘I’d rather be the underdog in that fight because when he wins he’s going to get all the credit in the world.

‘It’s the first time he’s been the underdog in a fight in his whole career.

‘The Andy Ruiz rematch, even the Wladimir Klitschko fight, he was a slight narrow favourite in the fight, now he’s got that underdog mentality, he loves it, he wants this fight bad, and we’ll get it, 100 per cent.’

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