Anthony Joshua has branded Dillian Whyte a "stepping stone" that he must cross before fighting the elite of the heavyweight division.
The pair will collide on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports Box Office, in a grudge rematch after Whyte defeated Joshua in a 2009 amateur bout.
Whyte is widely regarded as Joshua's sternest test to date – yet the Olympic gold medal winner sees him as a mere obstacle before he fights the likes of Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury.
"When you talk of tests, I talk of Klitschko, Fury and the likes of David Haye who was the cruiserweight champion. They're credible opponents, ranked in the top 10," Joshua said.
"Dillian and I are just prospects. Two young prospects who are coming up, who have potential of competing for the heavyweight championship.
"These are the tests that I'm looking to get myself to, by getting through Dillian. These guys are just stepping stones that I'm trying to beat now to get to the real tests, which will prove me as one of the best heavyweights in the division.
"Stepping stones can be slippery – that's why you've got to step carefully and be calculated. I'm not going in with any red mist because, if I'm stepping on these slippery stones without looking where I'm putting my feet, I'm the one who's going to slip and get punished. So I'll make sure I'm calculated, eyes wide open, and get across the bridge."
Joshua also justified his prediction that he would stop Whyte within three rounds by claiming that he sees his latest foe as no different to the string of previous victims. Having never been into the fourth round of any professional fight, Joshua does not expect that to change.
"The reason I say three rounds is because that's what I'm used to. I've said 'this is going to go six rounds or this is going to go eight rounds' but it's gone two, three rounds," he said.
"I won't build Dillian up into this comic book character who is untouchable when I have to keep my wits about me, and believe that he is just another opponent. When I say three rounds, that's because I'm going to treat him like my 14 previous opponents."