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Anthony Joshua not worried by lack of big-name fighters in heavyweight division

Joshua not worried by lack of star names in heavyweight division
By Eurosport

16/09/2017 at 22:40Updated 17/09/2017 at 10:26

Anthony Joshua believes it will be great fights rather than celebrated opponents which will define his boxing legacy.

Joshua was denied a lasting rivalry with former world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko when the Ukrainian retired after their Wembley showstopper in April.

Klitschko's decision saw the plug pulled on a Las Vegas rematch this autumn, leaving Joshua to survey a division which lacks household names and denies him the kind of classic rivalries that great heavyweights of the past enjoyed.

But Joshua is relaxed about that fact as he prepares to defend his IBF and WBA heavyweight titles against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev at Cardiff's Principality Stadium on October 28.

"I think it (legacy) is down to fights," said Joshua, who has knocked out all 19 of his opponents.

"I could fight Joe Bloggs who the bookies don't think can beat me, but he ends up putting up one hell of a fight that takes his stock up.

"That sort of thing creates the rivalry that (Joe) Frazier, (Muhammad) Ali and (George) Foreman had, peak level fighters of their era who all ended up fighting each other. I don't have that now, but you never know what's going to happen."

"People might think Pulev's going to be an easy fight, but he might come and put me in a place I haven't been before and that I didn't expect maybe. It might be a barnstormer of a fight."

Joshua admits he will be paying close attention to Joseph Parker's WBO title defence against Hughie Fury in Manchester next weekend.

Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko

Anthony Joshua and Wladimir KlitschkoGetty Images

The 27-year-old backs Parker to win by late stoppage and expects to meet the unbeaten New Zealander somewhere down the line.

"Parker's another one, we have to come together to keep the division alive," Joshua said.

"All heavyweights have got an opportunity to make a big play in the division, and I'll definitely give all these guys an opportunity to come and challenge for the belt.

"If I fought Daniel Dubois or Joe Joyce tomorrow it will be a big fight, it's just the way the division's rocking at the minute.

"People either want to see me knock someone out cold or to see them knock me out cold."

Joshua says he has refused to get carried away by the thrilling nature of his victory over Klitschko, when he stopped the finest heavyweight of his era in the 11th round.

And he has even returned to Finchley Boxing Club where his skills as an amateur were developed on the way to Olympic gold medal success at London 2012.

"It's a gym where you don't need anything fancy, they've just got a heavy bag down there," Joshua said.

"I'm back in the mirror, keeping my shoulders relaxed, back to basics, and preparing for my next challenge.

" I've still got 10 years left in the game, and I see the way to stay on top as never feel like you are on top."