By Edward Chaykovsky
IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (17-0, 17KOs) has no problem with Wladimir Klitschko sitting at ringside next Saturday night to watch him defend his title against Eric Molina at Manchester Arena. The fight will be carried live by Sky Sports Box Office.
Joshua will defend his title against big puncher Eric Molina. If he wins, he will then face Klitschko in on a date in March or April with the vacant WBA, IBO world titles also at stake.
Klitschko is expected to be at ringside to examine his next potential opponent. The Ukrainian boxer has been out of the ring since last November, when he lost a twelve round decision to Tyson Fury. Their rematch was postponed twice, by Fury, who eventually vacated the belts to deal with his mental health issues.
Joshua says there won't be any added pressure to put in an impressive performance with Klitschko watching on a few feet away.
"No, no problem at all," Joshua told Sky Sports News HQ. "I'm not fighting Klitschko right now and if he wants to come down, have a little look, no problem.
"He's more than welcome. If I had the time, I would go to his fights as well, and that's just what we do. The one thing I learned is that watching someone is completely different to being opposite them, throwing punches.
"Anyone who is sat watching, who is a potential opponent - it's a completely different ball game when you step into the ring. That's why I'm not really bothered who is watching, if I'm going to fight them. Face to face, it's a completely different story."
Joshua is planning to stick to his game plan. He doesn't plan to do anything out of character to send a message to Klitschko.
"My career, my discipline, my consistency, that's all the message, the package we've been sending across to people," said Joshua. "I think that speaks louder than maybe a couple of rounds, or a 36-minute fight.
"Whatever message is sent, it is important, but what is most important is getting through the fight and making sure I go in there and do the job against Klitschko, if that fight happens."