Anthony Joshua admits he has one eye on future fights against the likes of Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury ahead of his world heavyweight contest against Alexander Povetkin.
Joshua will be defending his WBA Super, IBF, WBO and IBO belts against Russian Povetkin when the pair meet at Wembley Stadium on September 22.
It will be Joshua’s first fight at Wembley since he stopped Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017 and the 28-year-old has his sights set on more clashes against the biggest names in the heavyweight division.
He has long been linked with clashes against Wilder and Fury but is aware that mandatory challenger Povetkin is a threat.
“Povetkin is a massive threat because he wants to be in the position that I’m in,” Joshua told Sky Sports News.
“I’m not here to prove that I’m a prospect, I’ve proved myself and it’s hard to stay here now. I’ve got to be wary but he’s got to be wary of what I bring to the table as well which will make it a good fight.
“This is world level boxing, elite boxing, world championship boxing.
“Povetkin is a real game challenger but he’s got to come across myself, I’m game as well.
“It will be a good fight, it’s not going to be a quick one. We can both take a lot of punishment and dish out a lot of punishment and it’s the first one to go.
“I’ve always been looking for the big, big fights and putting names on my record as well, building up my record. I have good opponents on my record so far – Povetkin is a good one.
“I’m at that stage where I do want to look past Povetkin because the division is alight, it’s amazing, there’s some real good challenges out there. But at the same time you do have to focus on the opponent in front of you.”
Those future challenges will almost certainly be a high-profile clash against American WBC world heavyweight champion Wilder and possibly fellow Brit Fury.
Wilder and Fury announced that they have agreed to fight each other, although a date is yet to be set for the clash.
Joshua was asked if he was surprised the pair were set to meet, replying: “Not necessarily.
“I think because they both need that fight. They are at that stage of their career, 10 years in, where they need meaningful fights as well. They are both building up their records, they’ve been in the game a long time.
“Good luck to them, it’s good for boxing as well.”
Joshua doesn’t feel that fight, or his clash with Povetkin, will have an impact on any future fights he may have against them, believing the public demand would still be there.
“I think regardless, we are always going to have to fight. Same weight category, in the same era and it’s the fight people want to see, so yeah we are going to fight each other.
“It’s interesting because, say the worst happens with Povetkin, it doesn’t stop me having to fight them anyway. They will still want to fight me because we are big in the game.
“So that fight will happen regardless of who wins. If Wilder gets beat in that fight with Fury, I’ll still fight Wilder down the line. There will always be interest around the name of heavyweight boxing.”