Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) are just one day away from fighting in one of the biggest heavyweight title matches in recent boxing history. More than 90,000 fans are expected to fill up Wembley Stadium in London, England, with millions more watching on televisions around the world in 140 countries.
Joshua has only been a UK pay-per-view headliner for four fights, but the reigning IBF champion is quickly becoming one of the higher paid boxers in the sport. This lucrative matchup with Klitschko will see both men split the £20 million purse 50/50, so the current exchange rate puts that total at just under $13 million US. Factoring in the projected 1.5 million buys on Sky Box Office and they’re almost certain to make north of $20 million.
The rise of Joshua’s financial worth has been fascinating. This article from The Telegraph shows that he has thirteen major sponsors, including Under Armour, Beats by Dre, and Jaguar. According to his promoter, Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s career earnings was somewhere around £13-15 million prior to his win over Eric Molina. In his PPV main event debut vs. Dillian Whyte (who hurt Joshua and gave him his most competitive fight), Joshua earned a reported £3 million (about $3.9 million). Against Dominic Breazeale, which was his first IBF title defense, he pocketed £1.5 million ($1.9 million). It’s believed that he earned £2 million ($2.6 million) in his most recent bout against Eric Molina. None of this includes any additional sponsorship money and other avenues of income for the 27-year-old.
As an aside on Klitschko, £15 million is reportedly what he netted in purse money for his win over David Haye in 2011, as well as his loss to Tyson Fury in 2015. He made a little bit more than that for his 2013 triumph over Alexander Povetkin, and also has a multi-million dollar deal with RTL in Germany, his longtime television partner.
This isn’t Mayweather vs. Pacquiao money in the slightest, but unless Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor does indeed happen, this will probably be the richest fight in combat sports for the whole of 2017.
You can catch Joshua vs. Klitschko live on Showtime Sports at 4:15 PM ET/1:15 PM PT on Saturday, April 29th. The fight is expected to begin at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT, with HBO airing a same-day replay at 11 PM ET/PT.