Tyson Fury will return to the ring this summer "with or without Anthony Joshua", says his father John Fury who warns that "nothing has changed" in talks to finalise the dream undisputed fight.
WBC champion Fury and IBF, WBA and WBO title-holder Joshua are locked in negotiations, which have gripped the boxing world, to secure a mega-fight that would crown an undisputed ruler of the division.
A venue and date are the key issues that need resolving - Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn is in talks with sites in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Singapore, China, America, Dubai and Britain for a fight this summer, but Fury's father has now delivered a stern warning.
"We will fight anyway, with or without AJ," John Fury told Sky Sports. "We have made this quite clear.
"I hope [Hearn] can make it. He's trying, doing the best he can.
"You wouldn't expect [Fury's promoters] Bob Arum to run all over the world aged 90, Frank Warren is 70. Eddie is just a young man! He does a great job, I like his interviews, he's a good character, his dad can be proud of him.
"I hope he hasn't shot himself in the foot by letting the cat out of the bag too early. I feel that's what he did because he wanted to be the one to announce it."
Fury had previously set deadlines for last weekend and for Tuesday, telling Behind The Gloves that "I'll move on" unless a deal is finalised.
John Fury said: "As of 9pm [on Tuesday], nothing has changed. I know they are working their backsides off to get this over the line.
"But it's proving to be a difficult one for Eddie Hearn. He's gone to all four corners of the world trying to sell this fight.
"Nobody wants to invest because it's the wrong timing for their business. They want to make money out of it, but the timing won't allow them to make money out of it.
"But the world wants it.
"They have been in a rush with it. When you rush a cake, it doesn't taste right.
"This fight could be made a lot easier, a lot simpler, in the coming months when people get back to easier ways, to normality.
"At this moment in time, nothing has changed. There are rumours, lots of rumours, but nothing set in stone as of 9pm [Tuesday night].
"I told him 'sit tight'. If they make it, good. If they don't…
"The clock ran out last Saturday. If we didn't want this fight we wouldn't still be negotiating. We want this fight. We will give it every opportunity to put this fight on in June or July.
"We are sitting tight, awaiting a contract, venue, date. We will sign. We are ready to go.
"We don't need a long training camp, we can go in the next five weeks."
John Fury insisted his undefeated son does not have a preference in terms of the location.
"Tyson will fight anywhere, with AJ or anyone," he said. "Wherever they make this fight happen, Tyson will be happy to oblige them. It's not a problem.
"Ideally I'd like it [in the UK] but I don't think that will happen."
Joshua knocked out Kubrat Pulev in December but Fury has already been out of the ring for over a year, since his destruction of Deontay Wilder in February 2019.
His lack of in-ring activity could become problematic unless a deal is struck to face Joshua this summer, his father explained.
"If this goes on any longer, he will need tune-up fights," John Fury said. "Inactivity plays a big part in boxing.
"You've got to have activity under those lights.
"As a father, I wouldn't be doing my job right. I won't let it happen if my son isn't on it. And if I say something to Tyson, he will take it on board.
"If the fight happens in June, July or even August we will take it. But if it runs into next year then we need to fight."
Promoter Hearn previously told Sky Sports at the weekend: "We are in a great place with several offers on the table. I'm quietly confident.
"We're nearly there. We have worked really hard and we don't want to give in."
Former heavyweight champion David Haye told Sky Sports earlier on Wednesday: "I'll be surprised if it happens before November. If it does happen before November, fantastic.
"Knowing boxing like I do, whatever offer they receive it's going to need to be ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous to get it over the line, and if it does get over the line, God bless both of them."