By Edward Chaykovsky
Former heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53KOs) is hoping to face the very best Anthony Joshua (17-0, 17KOs) in April of next year.
Klitschko will be ringside on Saturday night in Manchester, when Joshua defends his IBF heavyweight title against Eric Molina on Sky Sports Box Office.
If Joshua comes out on top, he will move forward with a fight against Klitschko next year - with the vacant WBA, IBO world titles at stake.
Klitschko has been out of the ring since losing his world titles to Tyson Fury last November. It was Klitschko's first defeat in over a decade. Two scheduled rematch dates fell apart with Fury withdrawing both times. Eventually Fury had a mental breakdown and vacated all of his titles.
Klitschko is hoping that Joshua looks very impressive this weekend.
"The better Joshua performs, the better it is, because I believe Joshua is right now one of the best men in the heavyweight division," Klitschko told Sky Sports. "The better he performs, the better it is for the fans and also for myself, because I definitely want to fight the better man to get my titles back."
Two years ago, Klitschko used Joshua as a sparring partner. Back then he was already impressed with Joshua and tabbed him as a future world champion. He admits the 2012 Olympic gold medal winner has gained valuable experience and is obviously a better fighter than he was back then."
"I think he's got even better since we sparred because he definitely gained more experience," he said. "Even in sparring I could see the talent and obviously he was green and not as much experienced when we fought. But since that time which was 2014, in the past two years he has gained a lot of experience, so I was definitely expecting him to be better than in the sparring session."