THE prospect of Anthony Joshua fighting in Nigeria greatly appeals to the head of Showtime Sports, the heavyweight champion’s US broadcaster.
Showtime screened Joshua’s latest defence of his IBF and WBA heavyweight titles, when he halted Carlos Takam at the Principality stadium in Cardiff, and broadcast his epic scrap with Wladimir Klitschko live in the USA.
Stephen Espinoza, the general manager of Showtime Sports, told Boxing News how he wants to see Anthony Joshua going global and particularly fighting in Africa, just like the world’s greatest heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali did. “You want to hesitate before you start comparing Anthony Joshua to Ali, but it’s undeniable that he has a very special appeal. The way he speaks, his ability to connect personally, his humility. I think there are a myriad of ways that he invokes that spectre. Personally, as a television programmer, when he mentions a possible fight in Nigeria, in Africa, I think it’s fascinating and I’m salivating at the thought. It will put him on another plane. It’s one with a personal significance to him, it’s not just a commercial decision. Even in the context of what’s going on in the world politically, in terms of race and immigration, creating a fight in Nigeria not only makes sense for his career, but you begin to invoke the spectre of Ali. There hasn’t been a big heavyweight fight in Africa for 40 years but it’s not just a case of ‘Follow in the footsteps of Ali, and I’ll become Ali’ there’s actually some personal meaning there,” Espinoza said.