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Anthony Joshua needs to fight in the USA or risk becoming irrelevant, says veteran promoter Bob Arum

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Anthony Joshua needs to fight in the United States to raise his profile, according to Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.

The Top Rank boss, who promoted fights with Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, Oscar De La Hoya  and Floyd Mayweather Jr during his storied career, claimed that the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion had “damaged his credibility” by fighting “no-hopers”.

Arum, 87, went on to praise Joshua’s rival Tyson Fury, who impressed many with his classy and gutsy performance against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles last month when he climbed off the canvas twice to score a controversial draw in a fight that many pundits believed the lineal heavyweight champion deserved to win.

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“In the US if you ask people who the number one heavyweight is, I think many people will say Tyson Fury,” Arum told BBC Radio 5 live’s Boxing with Costello and Bunce.

“He needs really desperately to come to fight in the United States. And I say that not because I’m an American, I say that because, economically, the US market is still the most important, because the pay-per-view in the United States has the potential of 200 million, 150 million homes.”

Co-host Mike Costello later pushed back at Arum’s sweeping assessment of AJ’s opponents as “no-hopers”.

“When you think of Joseph Parker, who held a world title, Wladimir Klitschko, who was motivated like rarely in the previous four or five years, even [Alexander] Povetkin, it’s strange that there is this perception, but it’s a perception that has to be broken down,” he said.

The 29-year-old British world champion was expected to defend his three world championship belts at London’s Wembley Stadium of April 13 but there has been recent speculation his next title defence will be in the United States against 300-pound Brooklyn banger Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller 23-0-1 (20).

Offers have reportedly been made to both Fury and Wilder but with a big money rematch between the two on offer, it seems Joshua is left on the outside looking in.

In his last fight Joshua turned back the challenge of Russian veteran and perennial contender Alexander Povetkin in seven rounds at Wembley in September.

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