It is less than two months until Anthony Joshua takes on Kubrat Pulev in Cardiff as he prepares to defend his super heavyweight title.
The 27-year-old will face the Bulgarian, who is looking to achieve super heavyweight status at the second attempt, after a crushingly embarrassing defeat to Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014.
Joshua overcame Klitschko via technical knockout back in late April to earn his super heavyweight status in a historic win under the arch at Wembley.
With the Ukrainian surrending his belt in defeat, many anticipated that one of the sport's true greats would challenge Joshua to another clash in an attempt to win back both his crown and his pride, especially considering the Brit had been knocked down before he went on to triumph in 11 rounds.
And, it seemed as if another meeting was beyond just speculation, with famed promoter Eddie Hearn rumoured to have chosen a date in November and a venue in Las Vegas to stage the event.
There were widespread reports that Klitschko was intent upon activating a rematch clause, apparently adamant that he would win back his belts.
However, hopes of the two clashing again were consigned to history in early August, when the 41-year-old announced he was calling time on a 21-year professional career.
Joshua admitted he was dissapointed that a rematch would not occur, but was clear there were no hard feelings between the fighters.
“I was looking forward to a rematch with Klitschko but he’s retired and I wish him well," AJ said.
And, Joshua clearly feels that he has learnt a lot from his clash with the Ukrainian, despite the impossibility of a second match-up.
"As Wladimir was coming forward, I was still in a tensed positions with my shoulders tensed. That takes up a lot of energy.
“So I need to be more relaxed against opponents when they’re putting me under pressure."
Joshua is still enthusiastic regarding his challenger status, and is keen to seek out his future opponents and defend his titles.
“My journey doesn’t stop. A mandatory challenger, I didn’t want to give up any of these belts. I worked very hard to be in this position."
Despite being unable to face arguably his most high-profile opponent of his career for a second time, Joshua's self-determination and commitment is clear to see in his fiery comments ahead of facing Pulev to defend his super heavyweight status in Cardiff in late October.
And, without the threat of Klitschko vying to re-take his titles, Joshua will hope that he can consign Pulev to a second consecutive title-challenging defeat, and retain his status as a super heavyweight.
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