Eddie Hearn is aiming for the very top with heavyweight ruler Anthony Joshua after declaring the three-belt king as the new successor to Floyd Mayweather.
Following Mayweather’s August retirement from the ring, Andre Ward hanging up his gloves and Terence Crawford’s decision to move up, Joshua is one of only two fighters (the other Gennady Golovkin) in possession of more than two titles at a weight class.
‘AJ’ is set to fight Carlos Takam on Saturday night in Cardiff, after which Hearn is ready to put a masterplan in place that will eventually see Joshua as the most recognizable athlete in the world.
“I think with Floyd’s [Mayweather] departure from the sport, he is unquestionably the biggest star in the world of boxing. The amount of interest in him has been incredible,” pointed out Hearn.
“Anthony Joshua is looking absolutely the best he’s ever looked in camp. We can’t wait for a wonderful show.”
On his intentions to crack other markets with Joshua, the Matchroom boss added: “If you want to try and change the game and break down boundaries, that includes America, Africa and the Middle East as well. It’s hard to leave the UK with 75,000 to 90,000 people compared to what the U.S. is. But Anthony Joshua is a global brand. He’s not British heavyweight champion, he’s a world heavyweight champion. The key now is to get the win on October 28 and then in the weeks that follow, put our plans together for 2019 and hopefully America is included in that.”
Joshua will have future mandatories that will ultimately shape part of the plan, although Hearn won’t be held to ransom when it comes to the calibre of opponents.
“We wouldn’t be held to ransom for a belt. Pulev or Takam are fine for his defence of the title after Klitschko, but if it was someone like (Fres) Oquendo, we could say, ‘no-one wants to watch that fight’.
“The aim is to fight three times next year — ideally in March, April or summer then December. In a perfect world, two of the three fights would be for the additional belts — in any order,” Hearn told AP.