British, 28, Boxing
Heavyweight boxing’s dominant megastar
Representatives: Matchroom Sport
Key partners: Sky Sports, Under Armour, Jaguar, Lynx, Beats by Dre, Lucozade, William Hill
Brand ‘AJ’ has leapt from strength to strength since the giant heavyweight arrived on the world stage with Olympic gold in 2012. If his first 18 fights came with an enthralling brutality that only boxing can provide, it was the 19th – an extraordinary night at a sold-out Wembley Stadium against Wladimir Klitschko – that may well have changed the landscape of boxing forever.
Since then, fights against the unheralded Carlos Takam and the spirited Joseph Parker have brought with them two more wins and two more packed houses at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. A September return to Wembley beckons for a 28-year-old whose status has transcended his own sport. A win against the dangerous Alexander Povetkin would surely have all roads leading to the American Deontay Wilder, and a date with destiny next April.
The numbers swirling about Joshua are crazy – more than 240,000 tickets have sold for his last three fights, with 90,000 more expected for his next bout. According to Matchroom supremo Barry Hearn, the Watford-born machine is on course to become heavyweight boxing’s first billionaire. Now, having never fought outside the United Kingdom, Joshua has said himself that he wants to fight on for another decade, with the American market still relatively untapped. NF