Why claims Anthony Joshua could be boxing's first billionaire are nonsense

The Brit has spoken of his desire to propel himself beyond the 10-figure earnings mark, but on even cursory inspection, that dream seems fanciful at best

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The Independent Online

As he begins to reflect on the greatest night of his career Anthony Joshua must truly feel like he has the world at his feet.

After stopping Wladimir Klitschko in a fight for the ages in front of 90,000 at Wembley the future could scarcely look brighter for the boy from Watford.

Box office fights with Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and perhaps even Klitschko once again await down the line but the 27-year-old has bigger plans with pushing not only boxing's but the whole of sport's boundaries now firmly in his sights.

Promoter Barry Hearn has led claims that Joshua could one day become boxing's first billionaire. Indeed, the man himself has spoken in the past of his desire to propel himself beyond the 10-figure earnings mark, but on even cursory inspection, that dream seems fanciful at best.

The projection, it appears, is based on two "super-fights" per year for the next five years, backed up by American TV deals with the likes of Showtime - where one of his prospective opponents, WBC champion Wilder, has an exclusive contract.

Consider, though, that Oscar De La Hoya, a 10-time world champion turned hugely successful promoter, is estimated by Forbes to have earned around £405m throughout his career while Mike Tyson's £544m includes not only his boxing earnings but also appearances in WWE wrestling and a number of Hollywood films.

Floyd "Money" Mayweather, the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of his generation and star of some of the highest-grossing fights in history, is estimated to have made just over £600m in his career, by far and away boxing's premier money-spinner. That's how far Joshua has to go to match his sport's top earners - and, simultaneously, how far they all are from that elusive billion-pound barrier.

Indeed, by Forbes' reckoning, only three sportsmen ever have cracked such a mark - Michael Jordan, whose basketball earnings are supplemented by an ongoing deal with Nike on his brand of trainers, Tiger Woods, who also adds a Nike deal and long-running EA Sports link-up to his 14 major titles, and fellow golf great Arnold Palmer.

After that trio, golfer Jack Nicklaus is listed at £914m before a significant drop to seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, fifth in the career list at £794m.

The world may well be at Joshua's feet - but he only needs to look down at the Air Jordan's they are in to see how far he still has to go.

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