Anthony Joshua admits his legacy will be judged not just on what he does in the ring, but by the quality of his future opponents.
The Briton is preparing for a fourth defence of his world heavyweight titles against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Oct. 28 in front of another big crowd.
But it will not come close to the size of the occasion and there is unlikely to be as much drama as when Joshua stopped former world heavyweight No. 1 Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in April.
IBF-WBA champion Joshua admits nothing might top his clash with Klitschko — now retired — but he remains hopeful that others early in their professional careers will emerge as interesting rivals.
WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder is the biggest fight available to Joshua with fellow Briton Tyson Fury inactive. The 2012 Olympic gold medallist may also face David Haye if he can win his Dec. 17 rematch with British rival Tony Bellew.
But further down the line, Joshua hopes rivalries can be created and possibly with the likes of his friend and sparring partner Joe Joyce, who makes his professional debut on Oct. 20, and Tony Yoka.
Frenchman Yoka, who won his professional debut in June, beat Briton Joyce for the 2016 Olympic super-heavyweight gold in Rio.
“It’s down to fights,” Joshua told reporters.
“If I fight Joe Bloggs, who the bookies may not have put in a position to beat me, but he ends up putting up one hell of a fight, that takes his stock up and it creates that type of Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier rivalry, that trilogy.
“You have to remember Frazier, Ali, Foreman were gold medalists, they were all peak level fighters of the era, and they all came together and ended up fighting each other.
“It seems we don’t have that right now but Joe Joyce has just turned pro and Yoka. So there’s a new wave coming through.
“In three years as a pro I’ve managed to catch the attentions of the division and I will definitely give all these guys the opportunity to come and challenge for the belt.
“People might say Pulev is an easy fight but he might come and put me in a place I haven’t been before that I didn’t expect maybe. It might be a barnstorming fight. You just never know what’s going to happen.
“I’m creating my own pathway, I don’t need anyone. I’m just happy going at my own pace, it’s not a sprint, it’s a career. I’ve got another 10 years in the game and I can’t fight everyone by next year, it’s just not possible.”
Despite being only 20 and with five knockout wins as a professional, Joshua says Londoner Daniel Dubois is someone he expects to meet in the future.
“All heavyweights have an opportunity to make a big play in the divison, so he’ll be a player amongst the rest and I will fight him at some stage when he moves up,” Joshua said.
“If I fight Daniel Dubois tomorrow it will be a big fight, if I fight Joe Joyce tomorrow it will be a big fight.
“That’s the way the division is rocking at the moment, I don’t need to put all my eggs in one basket with one opponent at the moment.
“I could fight anyone and it would be a big fight. People just want to see who’s going to be the man to beat me. That’s what people come out for — to see me knock someone out cold or to see them knock me out cold. It’s one or the other.”