Can Golden Boy’s Schaefer add Joshua to heavyweight stable?
On Tuesday, Schaefer was on British soil yet again, this time at a press conference at the Mayfair Hotel in London to announce the Showtime-televised Dec. 15 clash between former IBF/WBA junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan, of Bolton, England, and Carlos Molina that is slated for the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
But even as Schaefer touted Khan, a former Olympic silver medalist, talk also drifted to the 6-foot-6 Joshua, a 22-year-old whom the promoter believes could be Britain’s answer to the champion Ukrainian Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir.
“I want to bring the Golden Boy brand here and start promoting fights,” said Schaefer, to The Sun. “It’s going to happen.”
In signing Joshua, Schaefer would be looking to add to a stable that already includes heavyweights Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KOs), of Brandywine, Md., and Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (25-0, 25 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Ala.,
“Joshua is a terrific fighter,” Schaefer told The Sun. “He is the total package and I think he is going to have an opportunity to eventually become the heavyweight champion of the world.”.
“We currently have the Klitschko brothers dominating. But in my opinion they are more the champions of Europe. They have totally failed to capture the U.S. market and I think Joshua, with his style and personality, has the opportunity to become the standard for boxing. He can bring the general market back to the heavyweight division and has tremendous, tremendous potential.”
Mitchell and Wilder are considered by many to be America’s best hope at ending the country’s drought of champions. No U.S.-born fighter has held a heavyweight title since 2007, when Shannon Briggs briefly wore the WBO’s strap. In 2006, Hasim Rahman held the WBC belt while the IBF title was held by Chris Byrd.
“The division is in a chokehold by Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko ÔÇö and I don’t mean that with any disrespect to them. There is nobody who can beat those guys. But from a marketing point of view, they should be much bigger,” said Schaefer.
“They make maybe $8 million from every fight, but then you look at someone like Floyd Mayweather, who has the potential to make up to $50 million. Joshua can really re-light the fire in the heavyweight division.”
Schaefer is trying to use Mitchell and Wilder to do the same thing in America.
On Nov. 17, Mitchell will take on Johnathon Banks (28-1-1, 18 KOs), of Detroit, in a clash of 30-year-olds as part of an HBO-televised double-header at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Mitchell-Banks is the co-feature on a card that includes undefeated former WBO junior lightweight beltholder Adrien Broner challenging WBC lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco.
Mitchell was forced out of a scheduled July 14 bout against Banks as a result of having strained his right hand, this, after having scored his 10th straight knockout victory in the third round over Chazz Witherspoon at Boardwalk Hall in April.
As part of the Khan-Molina card, the 6-7 Wilder is expected to pursue his 26th knockout against an opponent still to be determined.
A 2008 Olympic bronze medalist who turns 27 on Oct. 22, Wilder is coming off a second-round knockout over previously undefeated Damon McCreary (14-1, 10 KOs), of Detroit, on Sept. 8. McCreary had come up with stoppage victories in three of his previous four fights.
Prior to facing McCreary, Wilder scored a first-round stoppage of Trinidad and Tobago’s Kertson “The Warrior” Manswell, which had followed June’s third-round knockout of former heavyweight title challenger Owen Beck.
“We are always interested to work with the biggest names in the sport,” Schaefer told The Sun, “whether they are established or emerging, and believe we have the best platform to really make fighters crossover stars.”
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Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]