Newly-crowned British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua insists he is in no hurry for a world title fight despite coming through the sternest test yet of his credentials.
Joshua took several blows and was taken more than twice as far as in any of his previous 14 professional bouts before knocking out former amateur rival Dillian Whyte in the seventh round on Saturday.
That win at London’s 02 Arena has increased the clamour for Joshua to fight new world champion Tyson Fury, although the 26-year-old recognises that remains a distant prospect.
“A world title fight is still far away,” he said. “Becoming an elite athlete in such a tough sport doesn’t happen overnight but I’ve got the desire, ambition and the team around me to do it. But I don’t want to rush it because when I get there I want to stay there.”
Possible next opponents for Joshua include former world title challenger Dereck Chisora, who stopped Croatian Jakov Gospic in the third round of a hastily-arranged contest on the same bill, and ex-WBA and WBO champion David Haye, who is set to fight in January for the first time since defeating Chisora in July 2012.
Joshua is also open to a rematch with Whyte, who was unbeaten in 16 professional outings before their clash.
“I’ll definitely fight him again because he can provide me with what I need to progress, which is tough rounds,” he added.
“He’s the perfect opponent for me. I learned more against Whyte than I did in all 14 of my previous fights. I enjoyed it, it was a good fight.
“I have always said it’s hard to jump to world level after two years. Everyone has high expectations, but people need to understand that it takes time.”