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I won't hit summit until I unify the belts: Joshua

By Declan Warrington

Anthony Joshua believes that even victory over Wladimir Klitschko will not earn him widespread recognition as the world's leading heavyweight.

With victory at Wembley Stadium on April 29, the IBF champion can also win the WBA title and the scalp of the heavyweight who, in the absence of Tyson Fury, is considered the planet's finest.

Victory over Klitschko would also represent a superior achievement than any secured by the WBC champion Deontay Wilder and WBO titlist Joseph Parker.

However, 27-year-old Joshua believes that only when a fighter has secured all four titles, regardless of the opposition they may have beaten, will they no longer be questioned as the world's best.

"You have to unify the division to gain that respect," Joshua said. "But I do think you gain a level of respect that can't be denied.

"This (beating Klitschko) would definitely put you on a pedestal for sure. (But) I would never claim to be the universal heavyweight champion because I've never unified the division.

"That's a status in itself, so in my opinion I need to do a bit more work before I can claim that."

Joshua regardless recognises the victory he expects to earn at Wembley could signal the end of Klitschko's career, with the 40-year-old bidding to avoid back-to-back defeats.

Asked of the likelihood of him retiring one of the finest heavyweight champions in history, he responded: "Very possible. There's no doubt about it: if I fight as long as Wladimir I'd have another 14 years left, and he can't possibly have another 14 years left.

"I can definitely push him aside and create a pathway for me to reign for a long time."

Meanwhile, Joshua is on course to realise his ambition of fighting in Las Vegas having finally secured a United States visa despite his previous drugs conviction.

Joshua had until recently remained in doubt over his chances of returning to Sin City after his 2011 arrest in England for possessing cannabis and intent to supply the drug.

He was then suspended from the Team GB boxing squad, sentenced to a 12-month community order and 100 hours' unpaid work, and left to fear his dreams of headlining in Vegas were dead.

"I had to go to the embassy like everyone else, queue up and wait around all day," said Joshua.

"I had to get a lawyer to get all the paperwork done. I had long meetings about my visa. I haven't been there on holiday yet but it meant a lot to me to get it."

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