No specific fighter has been lined up for the stepping-stone bout — potentially in July — with the Londoner saying it was unlikely to be a “top five or top 10” opponent before turning his attention to Wilder.
Joshua labelled himself the underdog against the American following his double defeat by Oleksandr Usyk and a comeback points win over Jermaine Franklin. He plans to jet off to Texas before the end of this month to start working again with trainer Derrick James.
“I think Wilder’s keen,” Joshua told Standard Sport. “I think he’s keen finally on December in Saudi. I feel that I’m the underdog at the minute, which is a good place to be.
“And there’s talk about a fight before in London at the O2. Right now, there’s no one specifically. It probably won’t be top five or top 10, just on the outside.”
Joshua was speaking at the launch of Under Armour’s new store at Battersea Power Station and the adjoining UA Next Academy, which he opened by punching through its glass doors. But the 33-year-old admitted the fight with Tyson Fury, which had previously looked like a done deal before talks fell apart, was arguably further away than ever.
“It depends if I want to fight until I’m 40, because he will leave me waiting and I’m not getting any younger,” he said. “But Wilder’s a good fight and I can’t hang around because it’s all the other fights you have to do to get to the big ones. It’s not just Fury but all the stuff in between.
“It takes a lot out of you. It depends how much energy I’ve got for the comments, the mental stress it puts on you, the questions constantly, the training you’ve got to do to be ready for the next fight, it’s a lot. Because I had 12 back-to-back championship fights, I feel like the pressure was a lot.”
Joshua has just returned from holiday in Dubai with his son and other family members as part of the post-Franklin comedown. Following the win, he said at the time he was happy to have got the points decision but was unhappy not to get the knockout, the lack of which led critics to suggest he would struggle against the likes of Fury or Wilder.
“I didn’t want to go back to Texas with a loss as a result of trying to be the old AJ and make the same mistakes I was making before,” he said. “I wanted to have a win under my belt and go back and build.
This last chapter of my career, I’ve got some big fights, hopefully starting with Wilder
“There’s an element where some people say I’ve lost my touch. What I feel like is if I go to war and I’ve only got a bazooka in my armoury, what happens when the bazooka doesn’t work any more or the guy that you’re fighting has got a sword, a hand gun, a bazooka, a shield?
“That’s why I’m trying to develop an all-around game. That’s why the Franklin fight was a chance to test my fitness and I wanted to experience what it was to work off my jab.
“But it wasn’t about the Jermaine Franklin fight, it was all about where I want to be in December and beyond. Off the back of two losses, all I wanted to do was get the win.”
There were no shortage of critics of the former heavyweight champion, among them Dillian Whyte who suggested his British rival no longer had the appetite for the big nights anymore.
For his part, Joshua is well aware of the barbs. He said: “Take today, there wasn’t one critic, just people saying, ‘Well done, great fight’. But if you were to go online and lock yourself away for 10 days, I’d think the whole world is against me, oh my God, I don’t even want to go outside.
“It’s so weird, it’s like two worlds I live in, the online world and the reality. Whatever people say about me, I’ve just got to be disciplined and give myself to this new style with my coach and become a better fighter than I once was.
“This last chapter of my career, I’ve got some big fights, hopefully starting with Wilder.”