LONDON – Anthony Joshua wants to face fellow unbeaten world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder next, rather than Alexander Povetkin, the British boxer told the BBC on Tuesday.
Joshua unified the World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organisation heavyweight titles by outpointing New Zealand's Joseph Parker in Cardiff on March 31.
Immediately afterwards, he called out Wilder, the American who holds the World Boxing Council's heavyweight belt.
The winner of a Joshua-Wilder fight would be the first man to hold all four major heavyweight titles simultaneously.
But Povetkin is the WBA's mandatory challenger.
The Russian, whose only defeat in a 35-fight professional career came against Wladimir Klitschko in October 2013, demonstrated his punching power with a brutal knockout of Britain's David Price on the Joshua-Parker undercard.
“I'd rather fight Wilder so if Povetkin can wait some time in 2019, that would be ideal,” said Joshua, 28. “This is the issue when you hold more than one belt,” Joshua added. “You have to abide by each of the governing bodies' rules.
“Some people would prefer there be one belt and one heavyweight champion. That is what we are working towards, wanting to fight Wilder. But each belt comes with eliminators and who you have to fight next, and Povetkin is one of them.
“Hopefully he can be patient but, if not, I don't think it would make sense giving up this belt so if I have to fight Povetkin then so be it.”