Anthony Joshua has dismissed the suggestion that Wladimir Klitschko’s ‘little bro’ comments were intended to patronise him.
The IBF heavyweight champion (18-0) shared pleasantries with upcoming opponent Klitschko on Wednesday at Wembley, the scene of their collision on April 29.
Klitschko, 40, called Joshua a “friend” and, referring to time spent together in previous training camps, labelled the world champion his “little bro”.
“He’s called me that since the days when we were never going to fight,” Joshua clarified afterwards. “So I let it go over my head. This is where the respect comes into it. It’s fine. It could get to you, but I let it go.
“I still have a lot to prove, and that’s the right mentality for me. If I was talking like I’m the master that would be me believing my own hype.
“He can call me ‘little bro’ but, if I spank him out inside a round, it’s irrelevant, isn’t it? You have to be true to yourself. I don’t try to act in a certain way.”
“If Wlad wins, he’ll say to himself ‘okay, I’m still the big bro’. But if he loses he’ll realise the torch is changing hands, and it’s a totally different era. This is the start of a new legacy of an up-and-coming champion.”
Meanwhile, Joshua believes beating Klitschko would turn him into ‘an overnight legend’.
He made it clear that winning is all that matters but with Klitschko sitting feet away, the 27-year-old showed his confidence ahead of the toughest test in his career.
“To knock him out would be the cherry on the cake, but to win whichever way, I think it’s very possible,” said Joshua.
“This is a fight that can change (me) from champion to legend overnight. It’s the fight that will get the masses out and draw massive attention and they’re the type of fights that can change the way that people view you in your industry.
“Right now, I am IBF champion of the world but now it’s about me beating the right people to go down in history. But it’s not about doing it once, it’s doing it over and over again. This is the start of that legendary campaign.”
The two heavyweights were in respectful mood, although Klitschko made his intentions clear.
The 40-year-old Ukrainian admits he is “obsessed” with reclaiming his belts after losing to Tyson Fury at the end of 2015, but is adamant he will take the WBA Super and IBF titles home on April 29.
“If he (Joshua) wins this fight, I will congratulate him,” said Klitschko, “but when I win this fight, I will help you to come back.”