By Terence Dooley
Anthony Joshua’s popularity in the U.K. prompted the universally recognised heavyweight champion to commit to a two-fight deal to appear at Wembley Stadium to reward his fans for their loyalty yet a fellow British boxer believes that the onus is on “AJ” to fight in America if he is to capitalise on his current form.
Joshua meets mandatory WBA challenger Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night and is expected to face former foe Dillian Whyte at the same venue on April 13 should he prevail.
Despite having his next two outings already firmed up, Amir Khan has urged his fellow Olympian to head to America at some point in 2019.
“Yeah, if you want to be global, you have to go to America,” said Khan when speaking to David Anderson of the Daily Mirror. “My dream was to fight in Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden — all those places where Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson fought.
“And whatever's shown in America is shown all over the world. I started to become a bigger name by fighting in America. People in Pakistan started recognising me. When I had my first fights in England, no one in Pakistan knew me, but I've a big following there, and in India because they saw me fighting in America. Fighting in America, definitely makes you a global star.”
Khan also insists that the level of money you can earn eventually goes up when you fight in America and make a name there, even if the venues are not as big or as packed as the ones that routinely sold out in the UK and you have to work your way towards PPV status. “I remember making a lot of money with Frank Warren in the UK,” recalled Khan.
“I left him and went to America and initially made a million dollars less under Golden Boy Promotions. But it wasn't about the money for me, it was about getting my name out in America. After making less money for the first couple of fights, I started making the most money in the light-welterweight division apart from pay-per-view.”
He added: “I then became a big name in the US and started headlining shows and pay-per-views over here. I think Joshua could do the same if he forgets about the money and just goes to America and fights.”
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