Anthony Joshua expects Hughie Fury to fail in his WBO world title bid against Joseph Parker - and is convinced he will face the latter in 2018.

The WBO belt was vacated by Tyson Fury last October amid battles with depression and cocaine. His cousin will fight New Zealander Parker in an effort to return it to the family at Manchester Arena next Sunday.

A Fury win would pave the way for a lucrative clash with Joshua but the WBA and IBF king is backing Parker.

Joshua, who faces Kubrat Pulev on October 28, said: 'Parker is quite strong. Hughie can outbox him but I'm not sure how long for. Maybe Parker will stop him late on.

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"I'll box Parker in the future. I'm not sure about Hughie - I spoke to him a few times a few years ago but it never happened. I was supposed to fight Pulev a few years ago and it never happened, so you never know. But Parker, I can be sure it has to happen. We have to keep the division alive."

Joshua returned to sparring this week for the first time since his thrilling win over Wladimir Klitschko.

His meeting with Pulev, which will take place under the roof of Cardiff's Principality Stadium, sold 70,000 tickets within one day of going on sale - passing the indoor world record set when 63,000 watched Muhammad Ali v Leon Spinks at the New Orleans Superdome in 1978.

Fury is angry Parker has held meetings with promoter Eddie Hearn about a future match-up with Joshua.

He said: "Eddie Hearn is a cockroach. They'll see what they get for overlooking me."