Anthony Joshua
Joshua faces just his 21st professional bout when he takes on Joseph Parker in Cardiff on 31 March. Getty Images

Oscar De La Hoya has identified Anthony Joshua as the future of the heavyweight division, notably overlooking Deontay Wilder as any threat to the Briton's assault on the sport.

The reigning IBF and WBA champion appears destined for a clash with the American WBC title holder, though promoter Eddie Hearn insists Wilder must scale back his financial expectations for a fight to materialise.

Wilder, who is unbeaten in 39 professional fights, with 38 knock-outs, has sent a barrage of criticism the way of Joshua in recent months and earlier this month claimed he would never be a "global icon".

But De La Hoya, who as a former six-weight world champion in the ring and head of one of the most formidable promotion companies in boxing knows all there is about dominating the sport, feels it is Joshua who is on the way to superstardom.

"It is a pick'em fight. It is a 50/50 fight," De La Hoya said on possible clash, according to Sky Sports. "But I believe the fact that Anthony Joshua is only getting better, he is only getting stronger and he is only getting faster means the sky is the limit for Anthony Joshua and I cannot wait to see him in the US.

"I love Anthony Joshua. He is a great fighter and I believe he is reviving the heavyweight division. He is the man. And I believe Anthony Joshua can really become a superstar on a global scale."

The California-born De La Hoya and Wilder do have previous, with the 'Bronze Bomber' having previously worked with Golden Boy before manager Al Haymon parted ways with the company in 2015 and took his entire stable of fighters with him.

A unsuccessful law suit launched by Golden Boy citing alleged illegal practices conducted by Haymon has soured relations between the two, leading to De La Hoya taking aim at Wilder last year, claiming he would be a "star" if he still worked under his stewardship.

"I promoted Deontay Wilder's first 33 fights and made him a champion," Boxing Scene reported last November. "If I was his promoter he would be a star and Anthony Joshua would be begging for the fight and not the other way around."

Wilder and Joshua can take another step towards an inevitable meeting by claiming victory in their respective bouts next month.

While 32-year-old Wilder faces Luiz Ortiz this weekend [3 March] in New York, Olympic gold medallist Joshua takes on the WBO champion Joseph Parker in Cardiff on 31 March in the first heavyweight unification fight ever staged on British soil.