IT’S an enviable position to be in. While Anthony Joshua, the new IBF heavyweight champion, might be developing as a fighter, there will be tremendous excitement around whoever his next fight is.
His promoter Eddie Hearn said, “We’re building towards being a pay-per-view fighter in America. That has to be the long term goal and that’s hugely ambitious. There’s very few pay-per-view fighters in America, especially that aren’t American. [Gennady] Golovkin tried it, poor numbers, but again he’s a superstar. You can’t just waltz in and crack the US pay-per-view market. You have to be built on a network first. So we have to choose our network, which at the moment is Showtime, we not committed long term but they get first bite of the cherry.
“I’ve already had calls from Showtime, HBO: ‘Please call me urgently.’ I think the numbers and the attention on Showtime really surprised [channel head] Stephen Espinoza and I’ve told Stephen Espinoza for two years about Anthony Joshua and I told him they should have been on from the start. We nearly had them two or three fights ago and we had them for this one and now they’re in. They get first crack because they backed us. HBO want a piece of him as well.”
Ideally then Joshua would face an American or US-based opponent next. Bryant Jennings, Malik Scott and Bermane Stiverne are names in the frame in that sense. Joshua’s promoter could also call up Carlos Takam or Joseph Parker, who are due to box an eliminator in May. “I’m not saying that’s what we’re going to do,” Hearn said. “Johann Duhaupas was on the list originally. He just knocked out Robert Helenius and that’s a dangerous fight but again he hasn’t quite got the name and if we’re going with a US broadcaster, they’ll probably want an American. [Eric] Molina is a name I thought of. He’s coming off a good win against [Tomasz] Adamek gave [WBC champ Deontay] Wilder a good fight.”