By Keith Idec
Anthony Joshua would love to fight in the United States.
But business is business, and Great Britain’s biggest boxing star is a great gate attraction there. His last fight, an epic brawl with Wladimir Klitschko, drew a capacity crowd of roughly 90,000 to Wembley Stadium in London, and his next fight is expected to attract more than 75,000 fans to Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Drawing so well within the United Kingdom could make it tough to take Joshua elsewhere, no matter how much he wants to fight in the United States. Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, admitted as much during a recent conference call to discuss his mandatory IBF title defense Saturday against Cameroon’s Carlos Takam (Sky Sports Box Office; Showtime).
“It’s definitely on the radar,” Hearn said. “As Anthony said, it’s definitely part of the scrapbook to be produced in years to come. We wanna try and change the game, try and break down boundaries, and that includes coming to America, Africa, the Middle East as well. It’s very hard for him to leave the UK when you’re selling [75,000], 90,000 seats, setting pay-per-view records.
“But Anthony Joshua is a global brand. He’s not British heavyweight champion, he’s world heavyweight champion. So in time, I mean we will definitely box abroad in 2018. But the thing now is to get the win on October 28th, and then in the weeks that follow, put an entire plan together for the 2018 schedule and hopefully America is included in that.”
The 28-year-old Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) was asked during the conference call if he thinks his eventual showdown with WBC champion Deontay Wilder will take place in the United States. Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but not the draw in America that Joshua is in the United Kingdom.
“I think so, but what I’m saying is I could tell you a million things,” Joshua said. “But I do have some real professional people in the background advising me as well. So I can’t say absolutely U.S., but did you come to Wembley April 29th [for the Klitschko fight]? You saw what that was like. That was phenomenal. That was really good, so that’s why I think it’s like do you wanna create that again, or shall we go overseas and do something new? So it’s good to have options, though. It’s good to have options.”
Hearn explored bringing a Joshua-Klitschko rematch to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on November 11. The 41-year-old Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) opted to retire, though, rather than attempt to avenge his 11th-round technical knockout defeat to Joshua.
“I would love to fight there because of the great champions that the United States has produced,” Joshua said. “So it’s more in respect to them – to pour some blood there, drip some sweat and just add it to the scrap book. Do you know where I’m coming from? But at the same time, I’ll fight anywhere. There’s talks of Africa, the Middle East, staying in the UK. But America definitely is at the top of the pyramid for sure. And the thing is, I just don’t wanna come – before I wanted go there for experience. But now I wanna go out there and make some noise. So it’s who I fight. That’s what’s gonna be interesting.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.