Anthony Joshua is now the biggest sports star in Britain – and is heading for global superstardom.
That is the claim from the heavyweight boxer’s promoter Eddie Hearn after Joshua overcame Wladimir Klitschko in an epic showdown at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night.
The Briton recovered from the first knockdown of his career to stop Klitschko in the 11th round and add the WBA title to his IBF belt.
The 27-year-old’s sensational triumph took place in front of a post-war record British boxing crowd of 90,000, and Hearn is excited for what the future holds.
“It is so big for the sport and massive for him,” he said, speaking exclusively to Jim White on talkSPORT.
“I think he becomes the biggest sports star in Britain now. It is only the beginning.
“He wants another eight to ten years in the sport and it almost feels like he has had that legacy-defining fight on Saturday, but there is such a long way to go.
“We are only going to box twice a year now because the fights are so huge and the camps are so long.
“It is the world heavyweight championship. It is not the British heavyweight championship. We have got a chance here to keep these events huge in Britain, which we want to do, but we also want to break new boundaries.
“We want to go into new markets and dominate those markets with him. That includes America, the Far East, the Middle East and Africa as well. You will see him box in those territories over time.”
Joshua will take a long break before returning to the ring and will have plenty of options on the table for his next fight.
A rematch with Klitschko is a possibility while Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker, who hold the WBC and WBO belts respectively, are also potential opponents.
Hearn admits his ultimate opponent for Joshua would be Tyson Fury, but says an all-British showdown is unlikely to happen in the near future.
“We are desperate for that fight because AJ thinks he wins comfortably, it is a great fight and it is the biggest fight out there,” he said. “But we can only concentrate on AJ’s career and guiding him.
“He [Fury] is miles away from fighting. He is in a terrible physical way at the moment. He doesn’t have a licence, he needs to go back to the board, and he is under investigation for a failed [doping] test.
“There is no one that wants to see him back more than me, but it is miles away. He is not the next fight because he won’t be ready in time.”