Tyson Fury believes former world champion Anthony Joshua is “finished” after his shock defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr.
Joshua, 29, gave up his IBF, WBA and WBO titles in a seventh-round stoppage loss to Ruiz in New York on 1 June.
Speaking before Saturday’s bout with Tom Schwarz – which will be broadcast by BBC Radio 5 Live – Fury said Joshua did not want to be in the ring.
“When a man doesn’t want to be there once, he will always do it and it’s hard to come back from,” said Fury.
“It’s been done many different times by many different fighters. He did it that night and I don’t think he will come back from it. Finished. Ask any top trainer who has been around the sport a lifetime. When he got to the ring I saw he didn’t want to be there.”
The bout comes two weeks after Ruiz ripped up the heavyweight division’s plotlines by inflicting a first career defeat on Joshua, who had previously made Fury an offer to fight.
Undefeated Fury is a 1-25 favourite against Schwarz in his first fight since his epic draw with Wilder in December, where many ringside observers felt he should have been given a points victory despite being floored twice.
Both his and Wilder’s team have loosely agreed a rematch in 2020, though a venue has not been agreed and financial terms have not been negotiated.
Fury, who lost around 10st in the 12 months leading up to the contest, says his relationship with Wilder is now strained.
“If I was a match fit fighter and some fat man comes off drugs and alcohol and done that to me I’d never look at the sport again,” said Fury.
“Does Deontay Wilder have anything to bother me? Nothing at all.
“I’ve been hurt 1,000 times but Wilder didn’t hurt me once. He hit me in the back of the head, scrambled my senses and the last knockdown was a touch of sleep but didn’t hurt me. Those same punches that caught me then are not going to touch me when I’m match fit.
“They thought I’d be half the man. I had to con them to think I was only there for a payday. I couldn’t be at my best but still beat him at nowhere near my best. He isn’t man enough to face me anymore or speak to me. He used to text me back and forth. I’ve texted him five times and he hasn’t replied once.”