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22 Mar 2018

Report: UFC interested in $500 million mega-deal with boxing star Anthony Joshua

Heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) is set for a major unification bout with New Zealand’s Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) on March 31st in Cardiff, Wales. This will be the third consecutive stadium show for England’s Joshua, who in just five years as a professional has become one of the highest-paid, biggest stars in the sport today.

This fact is not lost on UFC president Dana White, who is a fan of Joshua and expressed interest in promoting him as part of his planned venture into boxing. Well not only is White reportedly going to attend Joshua vs. Parker, he and his team are reportedly trying to lure Joshua away from promoter Eddie Hearn with a ridiculously lucrative multi-fight offer.

Gareth A. Davies of The Telegraph has the details:

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is making an audacious bid to sign a promotional multi-fight deal with Anthony Joshua which could earn the Londoner $500 million (£353 million) and make him the richest British boxer of all time.

Joshua has become boxing’s biggest star and The Daily Telegraph understands Dana White, the UFC president, will attend his title fight with Joseph Parker in Cardiff on Saturday week and plans to meet with the 28-year-old and his team.

The capture of Joshua would immediately make the UFC key players and it is thought the Briton could earn $50 million (£35 million) per fight if he switched to them, with the prospect of a multi-fight deal taking him to over $500 million in earnings.

Joshua is expected to earn around $20 million US for the Parker fight, roughly the same as he made against Wladimir Klitschko, plus under $15 million for his most recent bout against Carlos Takam. The expectation is that with a win against Parker, Joshua would face off against WBC champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) in the fall and unify all four major belts, creating an undisputed king of the heavyweight division.

This report comes literally hours after Joshua said that he was “100%” committed to staying with Hearn and Matchroom Promotions, with whom he has a year left on his current deal. Also of note is that the Parker fight is the last on Joshua’s exclusive US TV deal with Showtime, although Hearn recently indicated that Showtime is likely to remains Joshua’s home for broadcast distributions of his bouts moving forward. It’s only logical for it to stay that way, as Joshua moving to HBO would instantly complicate making the Wilder matchup happen.

Well this is certainly unexpected yet nevertheless compelling news, but whether this shock move will materialize is a different story altogether. If it does... then maybe UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic will eventually get that chance to face Joshua in the boxing ring.

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