Anthony Joshua is not yet a superstar, says Bernard Hopkins
By Rory O'Callaghan
Last Updated: 14/09/17 11:17am
Anthony Joshua must defeat the likes of Deontay Wilder in the United States if he is to become the true face of heavyweight boxing, according to former two-weight world champion Bernard Hopkins.
Joshua returns to the ring six months after defeating Wladimir Klitschko to defend his WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev in Cardiff on October 28, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Hopkins believes the British fighter has all the "ingredients" needed to dominate the heavyweight division, although the former undisputed middleweight champion believes Joshua still has much to prove - especially to fight fans in the United States.
When asked if Joshua was already a heavyweight 'superstar', Hopkins replied: "No. Will he be? I believe so.
"What he needs to do is to come to America and fight the top champions, if they are willing to fight. The top contenders, if they are willing to fight.
"He has the ingredients, he definitely has the personality and he can flat out fight. A superstar in the making. He is in the position to become the face of the heavyweight division. Right now, I can't give him that."
Joshua has previously expressed his desire to unify the heavyweight division and a potential fight against WBC champion Wilder has been touted for 2018, should he safely navigate his title defence against Pulev at the Principality Stadium.
Wilder, like Joshua, remains undefeated since turning professional in 2008 but Hopkins expects the former Olympic champion to have the edge over the American fighter if they meet in the ring next year.
"I think he [Joshua] is more savvy, the veteran - even though he is not a veteran," said Hopkins. "He has experience and he'll fight with great confidence. I have to give the edge to him, I really do.
"Not a big edge, but I have to give it to Joshua based on, not just his size - but that's a factor, but the way he believes in himself. Look how he fights."