Newly-crowned IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has seen his stock rise considerably after blasting Charles Martin in two rounds just a couple of weeks ago. Joshua's fight against Martin garnered around 600,000 PPV buys on Sky Boxing Office, which is a pretty damn good number considering the U.K. boxing market when compared to the U.S.
Now Joshua's promoter, Eddie Hearn, is looking to take the next big step for his fighter -- making him a legitimate international star. That begins with a push towards the U.S. market where Hearn is currently trying to land Joshua a network deal on either on HBO or Showtime, who are both very interested in landing the young heavyweight.
In the meanwhile Hearn is also looking to stage Joshua's first title defense which is expected to be held on June 25th at the O2 Arena in London.
"We expect the new IBF rankings to be out this week and with the interest from the U.S. I expect our next pick to be American," Hearn said. "Names like (Bermane) Stiverne, (Bryant) Jennings, (Eric) Molina and (Dominic) Breazeale are all in the mix and we are already planning a stacked card."
Which U.S. network would carry this card? Well, that appears to be whichever network comes up with the highest offer. Hearn has already confirmed that he's currently in negotiations with both Peter Nelson of HBO and Stephen Espinoza of Showtime, and those talks will be continuing this week.
"I have been banging the AJ drum with Stephen and Peter for awhile now and the reaction from AJ's debut on Showtime in the U.S. has been very satisfying," Hearn said. "AJ is going to become the biggest star in global boxing so it's important we partner up with a broadcaster that's going to invest in him inside and outside the ring. Again, an announcement regarding our new U.S. broadcast deal will be made soon."
It's been pretty well reported that HBO has a reduced budget for their boxing programming and have thus far been pretty frugal with how they're willing to allocate their funds. And Showtime, although improved in some respects, is still not quite on the level as HBO's brand.
So which network do you think makes the most sense for Joshua to become the biggest star? And does it even matter as long as he keeps knocking guys out?