Anthony Joshua has sent a bold salvo in the direction of heavyweight rivals Deontay Wilder and David Haye – but warns that his unbeaten record is bound to be breached during his professional career. The reigning IBF and WBA world champion is preparing to face Kubrat Pulev at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on 28 October, but that has not deterred him from calling out two possible future opponents.
The Watford-born fighter has swept aside all before him in the pro ranks, winning all 19 of his elite fights including last April when he stopped Wladimir Klitschko during a stunning contest at Wembley Stadium. That victory confirmed him as the unified heavyweight world champion and saw his profile skyrocket as a result.
Should Joshua come through his upcoming bout against WBA-mandatory challenger Pulev, then 2018 promises to be another career-defining 12 months for the Olympic gold medallist. Fellow unbeaten fighter Wilder and former world champion Haye could be among his opponents, and Joshua accepts that meetings with both fighters are inevitable.
"What we got David Feathers and Beyonce Wilder [sic]? All these guys talk about me all the time, always negative but sooner or later I'll be ramming my jab down their throat," he joked to Sky News.
"It's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of when, when it comes to the likes of David Haye and Deontay Wilder because there has been no era of boxing where heavyweights, middleweights, welterweights haven't come together. We have to fight each other and that's just the way it's going to go."
While Haye's latest foray in boxing is in tatters after defeat to Tony Bellew last March, Wilder remains in Joshua's eyeline ahead of defending his WBC title against Bermane Stiverne in November (original opponent Luis Oritz failed a drugs test). The American feels Joshua must fight stateside if he is to become a global name.
"To be global, you've got to make your name in America and Joshua is not as big as people think he is over here," he told Sky Sports. "The UK is about the size of Texas. One state in my country, where people don't know who Joshua is for real.
"If my name was brought up and Joshua came along it's the same as if Joshua's name came up, my name would come along. It will be a great fight, but he is not that popular over here. I hate to burst a lot of people's bubble but he's not. If he wants to be global, he needs to come to America to fight me, but to be honest, I don't care where it happens."
Though Joshua is expected to extend his winning record to 20-0 in south Wales later this month, the Briton warns his unbeaten streak is bound to end sooner rather than later. He suffered the first knockdown of his career on his way to overcoming Klitschko earlier in the year and concedes he will be forced to bounce back at some stage during his tenure in the sport.
"There will come a time when I will probably get beat and I'll have to come back and get redemption and get back to my boxing and my basics and try and redeem myself," he admitted. "That is how it goes in the sport. Everyone is two-time world heavyweight champion of the world, three-time world heavyweight champion of the world because they each lost and bounced back."