Anthony Joshua insists he won’t be distracted by thoughts of potential mega-bouts against Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury as the world heavyweight champion prepares to defend his titles.
Joshua will put his WBA Super, IBF, WBO and IBO belts up for grabs against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin on September 22.
It will be the British fighter’s first bout at Wembley since he stopped Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017.
Joshua has been repeatedly linked with clashes against heavyweight division rivals Wilder and Fury. But the 28-year-old is aware mandatory challenger Povetkin is the first danger he must tackle.
“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. 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’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.”
Those future challenges will almost certainly be a high-profile clash against American WBC world heavyweight champion Wilder and possibly fellow Briton 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.
“Not necessarily,” he said. “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.”
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)