Anthony Joshua has been tipped to become Great Britain’s wealthiest-ever sports star if he beats Wladimir Klitschko in their world heavyweight title fight.
A leading sports-marketing expert predicted the 27-year-old would overtake the likes of David Beckham, Sir Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton and Rory McIlroy in British sport’s rich list by raking in “hundreds of millions” of pounds before he retires.
Tomorrow night's Wembley super-fight has the potential to be career-defining for Joshua, the International Boxing Federation champion, who will take home £15 million win or lose in the most lucrative bout in British boxing history.
Victory could also earn the unbeaten London 2012 gold medallist bonus payments from his stable of big-name sponsors, which include Jaguar, Sky Sports, Under Armour and Lucozade.
But all that would pale in comparison to what he could net in the future, according to sports marketing consultant Nigel Currie.
“If he wins, he’s poised to become the highest-paid British sportsperson of all time. It’s that big,” Currie told The Daily Telegraph.
“He’s got everything going for him. He’s fantastically articulate, he’s fun, he’s very engaging and communicates well, which is a terrific asset.
“He’s young and has got a long career ahead of him and he’s in the right sport. Heavyweight champion of the world is one of the highest-earning positions.
“He’s very, very well managed by Eddie Hearn and I think, really, that the sky’s the limit for him. If he wins on Saturday, I think he will be around for a long time and he’ll be a huge star.”
Tipping Joshua to surpass the earnings of Beckham, Murray, Hamilton and McIlroy, he added: “Career-wise, you’re ultimately talking hundreds of millions.
“Because, that’s what the really top earners in individual sports can net over a period of five, six, seven years, if they dominate that sport for that period.”
Currie said Joshua could also cash in on being proclaimed as a potential saviour for heavyweight boxing – which is perceived as having been in the doldrums since the turn of the century – as well as his refusal to engage in the kind of tasteless antics of fellow British heavyweights David Haye and Tyson Fury.
“It rules out the unpredictable element, which a lot of sponsors and partners are a bit wary of with boxers,” Currie said. “They say things and do things that don’t necessarily reflect well on their brand, and Anthony Joshua’s definitely not in that category.”