Anthony Joshua has laid down the gauntlet for Tyson Fury following his British rival's comeback announcement.
Former heavyweight champion Fury revealed Thursday he will return to the ring at the Manchester Arena on June 9 after agreeing to promotional terms with Frank Warren, following a 2½-year exile from boxing.
And while Fury had plenty to say regarding a potential bout, Joshua wasted no time in responding.
"If he wants to fight me next, he can fight me next," Joshua told the Press Association. "If he wants to fight 10 fights down the line, he can do that as well.
"It'll be a situation that, when the opportunity does come, he'll [Fury] be saying he's the man who beat the man, he deserves this, he deserves that, and then he won't fight me.
"I'm the flag-bearer, the best heavyweight champion out there now. The ones who are scared to step up talk a good game, but don't really back it up so I get bored of it.
"When Tyson Fury's ready, we'll make it big, we'll make it fun. When [Deontay] Wilder's ready, we'll make it big, we'll make it fun.
"With or without Fury, my career will go on. With or without Wilder, my career will go on. With or without Povetkin and the WBA belt, my career will go on. I'll keep on doing this for another 10 years, and then I'm done."
Joshua considers American Jarrell Miller or Alexander Povetkin of Russia his likeliest next challenger.
The IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion's management have made an offer to Deontay Wilder, who holds the WBC title, for what would be the world's richest and most significant fight, but Joshua is not convinced of his interest.
Those working with Wilder most recently spoke of making a counter offer because of their dissatisfaction at the one made to them, which has contributed to Joshua's pessimism.
It is understood a fight with Miller, in New York on Aug. 25, is one potential alternative, while the WBA recently demanded he make a mandatory defense against Povetkin.
Miller also first needs to defeat Johann Duhaupas on April 28, but asked whom he was most likely to fight next, Joshua said: "Miller or Povetkin. If I was to list which [negotiations] would be easiest I'd put them at the start.
"Miller's more serious. Miller would definitely step up to the challenge. When these guys haven't got much to lose they're more serious, they know they've got everything to gain.
"If Wilder was as serious as he says he is he would jump at the opportunity. I haven't heard from the president of the WBA, but that's a conversation to be had. If there was a situation where Wilder accepted the challenge and it was something he was looking to do this year, it would be a conversation with the WBA, to see how we could hopefully postpone Povetkin until 2019. I didn't work this hard to give things away.
"Wilder's had 40 fights. The fans and broadcasters are fed up so he has to make a move. That fight will happen sometime. My career isn't based around Wilder -- that's what's clear about it."
*The Press Association contributed to this report.