David Haye wants to take on Anthony Joshua next year in what he believes would be the “biggest fight ever on UK soil” – but the Briton admits he needs to work his way up the rankings first.
The 36-year-old is currently recovering from an Achilles injury he sustained during his heavyweight defeat by Tony Bellew in March.
Haye is expected to make his return later this year, with negotiations underway for a rematch with Bellew in December.
“The plan is (to return) before the end of the year,” Haye said. “That’s what I’ve said since I had my operation. That’s what I believe will happen.
“There are a few names bouncing around but I’ll probably know in the next couple of weeks. (A rematch with Bellew) might happen but only if we can get on the same page.
“We have always been on different pages. I won’t be holding my breath for that one. If it’s supposed to happen it will happen but at the moment I wouldn’t put money on it.
“If I can have two fights back and work my way up the rankings, then it will be up to Joshua to give the fans one of the biggest fights ever in the UK.”
Joshua’s IBF and WBA heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev was recently confirmed for Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on October 28.
Bellew speaks with Haye after his victory during the heavyweight contest at The O2 (Nick Potts/PA Wire)
The fight between the 27-year-old and his Bulgarian mandatory challenger has been under negotiation since early August when his first-choice opponent Wladimir Klitschko announced his retirement.
And Haye has set his sights on eventually meeting the young fighter in the ring.
“Four fights, maximum. I believe I can work my way up the rankings and get the right fight with the right guys. Number one in my eyes is Anthony Joshua.
“Joshua has some business to take care of with (Kubrat) Pulev but then next year, in an ideal world, I’ll fight Anthony Joshua.
“At the moment, I’m not on his radar because I lost my last fight. He’s worried about his mandatory challenger, not me, understandably. He knows he is my target; he’s everybody’s target because he is considered number one.
“If you want to claim you’re the best in the world in the heavyweight division, you have to go through Anthony Joshua and do something nobody has ever done before.
“I love that challenge, I love the fact that he’s 10 years younger than me and three stone heavier than me, three inches taller. That for me is a challenge and a challenge that 90 per cent of the population don’t think I’ve got a chance with.
“Next year, if I can win a couple of fights and he keeps his titles, we can both take on each other in the biggest fight ever on UK soil.”