David Haye has been hailed as the world's best heavyweight by his next opponent Manuel Charr.
The pair meet at Manchester Arena on June 29 in what will be Haye's first fight since his fifth-round knockout win over Dereck Chisora last July - a clash he had come out of retirement for, having called it quits after losing his WBA title to Wladimir Klitschko on points in 2011.
"Vitali Klitschko says every time that he wants David Haye," Charr said on Wednesday at a press conference in Manchester to preview next month's bout. "But he is afraid of David Haye, who for me, is the number one heavyweight. He is a great fighter."
Haye (26-2), confirmed this week to have agreed a ''long-term relationship'' with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sport, is on a mission to become a heavyweight world champion once again.
With there being little sign of progress in negotiations between the Klitschkos' camp and Haye's, the 32-year-old Londoner hopes to force the issue by putting himself in position to be mandatory challenger.
That process begins with the fight against Charr, who has been calling Haye out in an effort to land the bout.
The atmosphere between the two men was respectful on Wednesday though, with Haye, while confident he will be in peak condition on fight night and insistent that he "does not believe in rustiness", saying he will have to train as hard as he ever has done in preparation for this contest.
"He is very strong and durable and he has got a lot of heart," Haye - who claims Tyson Fury does not want to fight him - said of Charr, 28. "I am going to have to train as hard as I have ever trained, because anything less than perfect preparation will leave me with a hard night's work."
Haye also suggested he did not regard Charr's loss to Vitali Klitschko, which came in the fourth round due to a cut, as legitimate.
Certainly that was the view of Charr, who said: "I did not lose to Klitschko. He stole the fight. I was in my corner, he took me to the other corner and it was Klitschko's doctor who stopped the fight. This is not boxing - this is mafia boxing for me."