Anthony Joshua believes that even victory over Wladimir Klitschko will not earn him widespread recognition as the world’s leading heavyweight.
With victory at Wembley Stadium on April 29, the IBF champion can also win the WBA/IBO titles and the scalp of the heavyweight who, in the absence of Tyson Fury, is considered the planet’s finest.
Victory over Klitschko would also represent a superior achievement than any secured by the WBC champion Deontay Wilder and WBO titlist Joseph Parker.
However the 27-year-old Joshua believes that only when a fighter has secured all four titles, regardless of the opposition they may have beaten, will they no longer be questioned as the world’s best.
“You have to unify the division to gain that respect,” Joshua said. “But I do think you gain a level of respect that can’t be denied.
Joshua added: “This (beating Klitschko) would definitely put you on a pedestal for sure. (But) I would never claim to be the universal heavyweight champion because I’ve never unified the division.
“That’s a status in itself, so in my opinion I need to do a bit more work before I can claim that.”
Joshua regardless recognises the victory he expects to earn at Wembley could signal the end of Klitschko’s career, with the 40-year-old bidding to avoid back-to-back defeats.
Asked of the likelihood of him retiring one of the finest heavyweight champions in history, he responded: “Very possible. There’s no doubt about it: if I fight as long as Wladimir I’d have another 14 years left, and he can’t possibly have another 14 years left.
“I can definitely push him aside and create a pathway for me to reign for a long time.”
As yet again the bigger fighter, Klitschko’s greatest asset on April 29 is likely to be the consistent, concussive jab that has given him such a level of control against so many opponents, but Joshua has already been focusing on how to negate his challenger’s biggest strength.
“Look at (Evander) Holyfield v Buster Douglas, he said ‘I’m going to double jab him’,” said Joshua. “He soon picked him apart.
“You can either jab with a jabber, or you can take the jab away from a jabber, with the parry, the slip, the feint. The heavyweight division when I came around, they have all been tall. Wladimir had a lot of wide and stocky (opponents).
“I learnt how to jab with people, double it up and deal with their range.
“I’m not the best I’ll be yet, but I have learnt and can definitely throw a double jab. When you take away one of his main weapons, what will be next? It will be interesting.”