IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua admits that he never expected to be in position for a showdown with Tyson Fury, who holds the WBC world title.
The 32-year-old Fury is only one year older than Joshua. He turned pro in 2008, which is five years before Joshua made the jump after winning gold in the 2012 Olympic games.
Now Joshua and Fury have an understanding in place, at least with the financial terms, for a two-fight series in 2021.
Joshua had his first amateur bout the same year Fury became a professional.
He never expected to reach the same standing as Fury, where the two of them hold every major title in the division.
"Remember, he was a heavyweight well before my time," Joshua told Sky Sports.
"He turned professional in 2008. That was the year I had my first amateur fight! I never thought I would catch up to Fury. He was never someone that was on my radar. So I've never known Tyson until I turned professional and started barking at the heels of these heavyweights who were docile.
"I started bringing some heat. Now they became relevant in my life. My relationship with Tyson is only because I progressed as quickly as I did, and he didn't progress as quickly. He's had two good wins - against Deontay Wilder and Wladimir Klitschko. Over a long period of time, a career that has spanned 12 years, I would have liked to have seen him in some more challenging competitions.
"But he knows what is right for him, and I know what is right for me. As a fighter he has done what he needs to do to be in the position he is in today, so good luck to him."
Joshua has a tentative fight against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev on December 12, with Fury returning on the tentative date of December 19 against Deontay Wilder in a trilogy bout.