Promoter Barry Hearn insists heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua can have a similar impact on boxing as 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods had on golf – becoming the sport’s maiden billionaire in the process.
Joshua claimed a stunning 11th-round knockout victory – the 19th of his career – over Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 supporters at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, retaining his IBF belt and winning the vacant WBA and IBO crowns.
“All sports need flag-bearers,” said Matchroom chief Hearn. “The Joshua effect is very similar to the Tiger Woods effect in golf, where people who are not so interested suddenly become interested, where young people become aspirational to follow in someone’s footsteps.
“For that they need a role model and Joshua is the finest role model I have seen in sport. He’s No1.
“I think there’s a trickle-down effect of benefit, not just to Joshua who’s going to be probably the first boxing billionaire if he carries on for 10 years like this. It can also have an effect on boxers, on the whole concept of boxing as a sport.”
Former champion Tyson Fury has accepted Joshua’s call for a showdown, while a rematch with Klitschko remains a possibility.