Deontay Wilder: I Won't Waste My Time On Out Of Shape Tyson Fury

World heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has welcomed Tyson Fury back to the ring but says the Briton must "get in shape" and "prove himself" before being given the opportunity to fight him.

Fury was given the green light to resume his career on Tuesday (December 12), having accepted a backdated two-year ban after testing positive for a banned steroid in February 2015.

The 29-year-old, who beat Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 in his last bout, will be able to fight again pending the return of his licence, and he already has Wilder and Anthony Joshua in his sights.

In October, Fury challenged the two heavyweight champions via his Instagram accounts, but the American says he has a long way to go yet before facing him for the WBC heavyweight belt.

"I'm happy for him, it's a good thing," Wilder told Newsweek of Fury's return. "It's exciting news to hear that he can get back into the ring. From this point on, we will then see what happens.

"He's got a lot of work to do still, this is the first step of coming back now. The second part is really to get in shape, get healthy so he can come back and compete at the top level. There's still a long way to go for Tyson Fury but I'm glad he's back."

Wilder (39-0-0) is one of three heavyweight champions, along with Joseph Parker, the WBO belt holder from New Zealand, and Joshua, the IBF and WBA world champion. Fury is first targeting his compatriot Joshua.

"Where you at boy? I'm coming for you," he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. Joshua is yet to respond but is currently negotiating a fight with Parker next year, while Wilder tells Newsweek he will face Cuban Luis Ortiz.

Deontay Wilder
Deontay Wilder, center, and Tyson Fury, right, at Barclay's Center, Brooklyn, New York, January 16, 2016. Fury and Wilder have challenged each other before. DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty

Both Wilder and Joshua's camps have said a unification fight between the pair looks likely for 2018, but Wilder has opened up the possibility of entering the ring with Fury at some point as well.

"Most definitely," the undefeated 32-year-old says. "I would love to have Tyson Fury back in there. We promoted it for so long and I don't want that to go in vain, I want [fans] to have those memories, which they still do, and when the time comes I want them to be able to add something new."

But Fury, Wilder says, will have to climb back up to the elite level before getting that fight. "It's not realistic to me yet," he says. "I've already dared him to come back and get back in shape and stuff. When that time comes, especially when he gets his first fight in and we judge him from that performance, once that first fight has come in, then we'll see and can start it back up.

"I would love a Tyson Fury fight but for right now there is no need to waste my time and send a message to him until he comes back and proves himself."

Deontay Wilder
Deontay Wilder at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, November 4. Wilder retained his unbeaten record by knocking out Bermane Stiverne. Al Bello/Getty