Anthony Joshua has dismissed Tyson Fury's lineal champion claim, stating that he is the No. 1 heavyweight boxer in the world.
WBA, IBF and WBO champion Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) returns to the ring on Sept. 22 when he faces Russian Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) at Wembley Stadium.
Meanwhile Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) is likely to face WBC champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) in the U.S. in December. The 30-year-old was absent from the sport for two-and-a-half years following his win over Wladimir Klitschko in Nov. 2015, a victory that saw Fury become heavyweight boxing's lineal champion.
But Joshua, 28, shrugged off talk of Fury's lineal title, telling reporters at his open media workout in Sheffield that he will prove he is the greatest in the world.
"I am No. 1," Joshua said. "Name me a fighter that has a better record than me after 22 fights. I ain't got to show anything. History will tell you. History is all that matters. I will prove myself. Ever since the amateurs, non-stop I have been on top of my game.
"You've got to have a bit of respect as well," Joshua said of Fury. "You can't expect the whole division to go on hold. He had his issues and paused for three years. But the whole division can't wait and sit down. The ball keeps rolling.
"Me and Wilder had been negotiating for a long time after the [Carlos] Takam fight and it fell through. Wembley Stadium is booked again for April, God willing, I beat Povetkin, and hopefully me fighting [the winner of Fury-Wilder] is quite straightforward.
"At the moment, it is like a power struggle in the heavyweight division. Good luck to Fury, Wilder and myself. But when all's said and done, I won't be that geezer in the pub telling war stories about 'I was the lineal champ'. I am not that type of geezer. I am focused on my own career and where I am going."
There is perhaps some frustration that while Fury is fighting Wilder, Joshua is fighting Povetkin instead. A unification fight between the two champions has so far failed to materialise, with some suggesting Joshua has avoided the clash.
"I was watching a Wladimir Klitschko fight the other day and he had time to learn. I've been in at the deep end time and again," Joshua said. "If people aren't satisfied with it now, they never will be. Look at Floyd Mayweather. They are never happy with him and he is one of the greatest of all time. They said the same of Lennox Lewis, now he is looked back on as a slick operator."