THE rude health of the British boxing scene has convinced heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua he does not have to go Stateside to increase his global profile.
Joshua is less than a week away from the biggest fight of his career against Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in front of a post-war British record crowd of 90,000.
It will be the 19th bout the 27-year-old has entered since the former Olympic gold medallist turned professional and every one has been staged on British soil.
He has become a world champion far away from the sport’s epicentre of Las Vegas and his forthcoming fight will be broadcast on the two major American networks HBO and Showtime, which has only previously happened on two occasions when Lennox Lewis fought Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather faced Manny Pacquiao.
Joshua believes the status quo of boxers needing to head to America to earn their stripes is no longer the case and that his reputation can be enhanced in his own backyard.
“Vegas used to be on my tick list, but it’s not any more; it’s good here,” Joshua said.
“I think it’s more of a point that Britain’s always overlooked. It’s like you have to go to America to get respected – no, not any more. Come here. Come and fight us.
“That’s what I like at the minute, it’s amazing how the tables have turned.
“Look at the deal they managed to pull off in America with HBO and Showtime. I haven’t had to have a fight in America yet. I don’t think it’s important to go to America to make it bigger than what it is already.”
That is not to say that Joshua is merely focused on a career in the confines of these borders, with the financial lure of America, and the personal pull of a bout in Africa, where his parents were born, both possibilities.
“If I was to go to America, we all know the history of the sport with judging and home fighters,” Joshua explained.
“It has to be well worth it and that’s where it comes back to finances because you have to make it worth your while.
“I’d love to fight in Africa like (Muhammad) Ali did with (George) Foreman. That would be amazing. I’d love to fight in Vegas but I think that being a home fighter is the main thing.
“I don’t want to be accused of staying in my own backyard. It is good to get on the road to defend your title.”
While there are a raft of British world champions, Joshua, in the sport’s most premier division, has the highest profile, even if he has no desire to hog the limelight.
“It’s the era of UK boxing, I’m not holding onto it myself, I want everyone to shine,” he said.