Fury, 30, dethroned decade-long ruler Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 to claim the WBA, WBO and IBF titles.
But he was stripped of one belt and relinquished the others when he lost his licence because of drug use and medical issues.
AJ completed that same set in 2018 after wins over Charles Martin, Klitschko and Joseph Parker and he could become the undisputed champ if he beats WBC king Deontay Wilder next.
But undefeated Fury, who still celebrates his status of lineal champion, claimed after his incredible draw with Wilder, 33, that Joshua is a paper champion.
And AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn says it stung the Watford ace, 29.
He said: “I think if it was man on man and there were no belts, Joshua would probably prefer to fight Fury next.
“There’s always been people saying, ‘Oh, he was the champ, you won his belts’, and stuff like that, so maybe that’s in his head a little.
“Fury beat Klitschko but this lineal thing is quite ridiculous.
“The lineal championship doesn’t actually exist. It’s a mythical title that people want to use when they don’t have any belts. So he’s the man who beat the man, something like that, who failed a drugs test, took two years out and basically refused to train or get in the ring.
“It’s not Josh’s fault — they were available and he won them but I think in the back of his mind he wants to do a job on Fury. He wants to do a job on both Fury and Wilder and he’s going to violently do that.”
The WBC has agreed to sanction a Fury v Wilder rematch next, but AJ wants to leap in the mix and land one of those for his Wembley April 13 show.
Fury has opened talks with Hearn over a battle with AJ.
The 6ft 9in Gypsy King has been on the phone to his old verbal sparring partner about an all-British clash with Joshua.
Hearn said: “Tyson messaged me the other day and I said, ‘Well done’. We’ll see what happens.
“I just said to him, ‘Fair play, I didn’t think you’d do it, you proved me wrong again’.”
Hearn watched super- welterweight Kell Brook labour to a disappointing points win over Aussie Michael Zerafa on Saturday in Sheffield.
It was supposed to be a tune-up for a summer showdown with Amir Khan — but Khan seems set to swerve that for a welterweight title shot with Terence Crawford, leaving Brook high and dry.
Hearn admits the same underwhelming form could strike AJ if the WBA, WBO and IBF ace falls flat without a big-name rival at Wembley in April.
He said: “Possibly. I think everyone’s always talking about it so it’s a bit like Kell in that.
“When Josh boxed Parker people were already talking about Wilder. And he said he fought that fight almost thinking like it. That’s why he was a bit ploddy.”
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren claimed Hearn was setting up an underwhelming Wembley bout between his heavyweight champ and cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk, 31, in April.
The Ukraine genius is considering a move up in weight.
But Hearn shot down Warren’s claim the deal was already done.
He said: “There have been absolutely no negotiations with Usyk for a fight in April.”
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