A confident Deontay Wilder says he is "declaring war" on Anthony Joshua as two of the planet's premier heavyweight boxers remain on course for a money-spinning unification showdown in 2018.
Joshua once again stated his desire to add the WBC and WBO belts to his collection on Saturday night (28 October) after defending the WBA (Super), IBF and IBO titles with a dogged 10th-round stoppage of remarkably durable replacement opponent Carlos Takam at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.
"The possibilities are bubbling nicely in the distance," he said in the ring after preserving his flawless 20-fight professional knockout record in somewhat unconvincing fashion.
"I'm not worried about 2018 because of the potential possibilities to come. I want the other two belts out there, whether it's Wilder first or (Joseph) Parker."
Promoter Eddie Hearn reiterated that Joshua vs Wilder simply "has to happen" and that Matchroom's headline star was hoping to take on the Bronze Bomber, Tyson Fury and Parker in the United Kingdom next year.
Joshua's long-time rival and stablemate Dillian Whyte, currently ranked behind Bermane Stiverne and Luis Ortiz at number three in the WBC heavyweight standings, thinks that he should now be the chief contender for Wilder's strap after winning the vacant silver title with a unanimous decision victory over former European champion Robert Helenius on Saturday's undercard.
However, Wilder clearly believes that neither Briton poses a credible threat to his 33-month title reign.
"You want Whyte and I want Joshua," Wilder said, per Sky Sports. "Put them in a package and let me fight. I will knock out Whyte easy. I could do it with one hand tied behind my back.
"Kings don't chase other kings. I got a kingdom and I brought all my king's men and all the king's horses and now I'm knocking on your kingdom doors.
"I declare war. I am declaring war upon AJ. I will not chase him. We are going to lure you in, you can only run for so long and so far."
Wilder last defended his belt in February, recovering from a broken right hand and torn biceps to stop fellow American Gerald Washington in the fifth round in front of a hometown crowd in Birmingham, Alabama after Andrzej Wawrzyk failed a drug test. A scheduled defence against Alexander Povetkin was also called off in 2016.
The 32-year-old was supposed to defend for the sixth time against Ortiz - the mandatory challenger for Joshua's WBA crown - in November, only for the Cuban to fail a VADA drug test. Instead, Wilder will put his title on the line against the man he outpointed to win it in the first place back in January 2015 in Stiverne.
He recently declared that he would retire if he loses to a soon-to-be 39-year-old - the only man ever to take Wilder the distance in 38 career fights - who has fought just once since that initial clash in Las Vegas. Stiverne was originally due to take on Dominic Breazeale on the undercard of Wilder vs Ortiz after agreeing to step aside for the headline bout.