Anthony Joshua Looks Set To Take America By Storm
Anthony Joshua has left the bird’s nest and is heading to the United States to defend his heavyweight titles against Jarrell Miller in New York at Madison Square Garden.
Much had been made of the unified heavyweight champion’s reluctance to travel – and why would you if you’re selling out 90,000-seater stadiums every time you fight. However, with the pressure on after Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury’s dramatic draw and imminent rematch, Joshua has tried to do something different.
The public pressure mounting on his shoulders over the past few months cannot be ignored and when you’re arguably the biggest star in the sport, it’s something that goes along with the territory. Unlike other figures who’ve commanded that attention, though, it seems to deeply affect Joshua.
Saul Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather have received similar criticisms in recent years but have reacted differently for various reasons. The former hasn’t got a clear grasp of the English language and can be completely oblivious to the noises while the latter simply couldn’t care less about anything but the purse he receives and preserving his undefeated record.
Joshua’s popularity is something rather unprecedented, especially for an English athlete. He’s sold over five million pay-per-view buys in his last fights and close to 400,000 tickets in that time, while his fights are often broadcasted in over 100 countries around the world.
The caveat for such popularity is that you can’t please everyone and it seems that, for the first time, Joshua is doing what he wants to do as he embraces a new challenge.
The alternative to a Miller fight would’ve been a rematch with Dillian Whyte and while the Englishman has certainly done enough to earn a world title shot, Joshua beat him comfortably the last time they fought, stopping him in the seventh round.
This trip to New York sees us witness a few unknowns. How does Joshua adapt to an away crowd? Will Joshua become marketable to the casual US market? How well will the UK pay-per-view numbers be given the time difference?
It could be a pivotal moment in Joshua’s career and June 1st could sett the explosion of the champion’s worldwide brand – if so, there is no ceiling as to what the 29-year-old can become.