Boxing promoter Bob Arum says Anthony Joshua needs to win big fights in the United States before he can be considered "really relevant" despite holding three of the four major world heavyweight championships.
Joshua (22-0) holds the WBO, WBA and IBF world belts but has never fought outside his native United Kingdom as a professional. Top Rank CEO Arum told TalkSport Fight Night the gulf between pay-per-view earnings in the U.S. and the United Kingdom means the former is the true proving ground:
“If you go and do the fight in the UK, because of the difference in time in the afternoon, you’re not gonna do any business on [U.S.] pay-per-view.
“Eddie has a good thing going with Joshua, and he’s done a good job in the UK, but he’s got to make Joshua really relevant.
“To really make the amount involved bigger he’s got to have Joshua’s big fights in the United States.”
Just as the British audience may not have as much of an appreciation for Deontay Wilder—WBC heavyweight champion, the only belt stopping Joshua from becoming the unified champion—Americans may not rate the Briton as highly.
Boxing commentator Steve Bunce appeared on BBC 5 Live Sport in December and didn't rule out a date between Joshua and Wilder (40-0-1) in the States in early 2019:
Arum further explained the finances that make a fight across the pond so much more appealing to those chasing a major payday:
"There’s a whole element there that has to be addressed. The really big money in the sport is if you have an attraction that’s big enough that can sell on pay-per-view in the United States.
“Because if the attraction is big enough and you can come close to two million homes buying it – and the dollar amount after the cable providers take their split is $35/$40 dollars – you do the math."
As a promoter, Arum obviously has some stake in leaning towards certain fixtures and also told TalkSport he felt the public was swaying toward Wilder and Tyson Fury (27-0-1). The pair drew in one of the most controversial decisions in recent heavyweight history December 1.
Lennox Lewis recently told Sports Illustrated the first meeting between Fury and Wilder was "such a tremendous fight" that he wanted to see it again:
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn appeared to dismiss the chances of Joshua's next fight taking place in the States, however. He told Sky Sports the three-federation champion was more likely to face Fury at Wembley Stadium in April than he was to take on Wilder, whose camp he said has gone quiet.
All three fighters mentioned would argue themselves to be the best in the world, with none of the trio yet to suffer a defeat in 91 combined professional fights.