Hearn Confirms Talks Over Joshua Fighting In DR Congo

Anthony Joshua could follow in the footsteps of boxing legend Muhammed Ali after his promoter Eddie Hearn revealed talks were held for the heavyweight champion to fight in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ali recorded arguebly the most famous win in boxing history when he knocked out George Foreman in eight rounds to win the world heavyweight title in October 1974.

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Ali’s iconic win took place in the country then known as Zaire under the former ruler Mobutu Sese Seko and was shown to a TV audience of more than one billion people.

The fight was partly bankrolled by late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

According to Hearn, the 20th of May Stadium in Kinshasa which hosted the Ali vs Foreman fight is under reconstruction and he has been approached about Joshua replicating history and defending his belts there.

“There’s been meetings held about that,” Hearn told BBC Sport.

“The DRC is looking to regenerate the stadium. That’s special, that’s legacy. That’s career defining. It’s probably the most famous venue in the world, or fight, of all time.

“It’s pie in the sky at the moment, but the approach is there.

“[Joshua] wants to create a legacy in the sport. When you look at the resumé, he’s boxed everywhere you can box in the UK, at Madison Square Garden, Saudi Arabia.

“To put Africa, China and the Far East on the resumé, that’s when you get to global star status. He has no interest in that but he wants to create history.”

Hearn has already hinted the unified champion could return to the Middle East for a mega-money Battle of Britain against Tyson Fury.

But that will have to wait as Joshua has mandatory defences against Kubrat Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk while Fury rematches Deontay Wilder next month, with a trilogy bout also signed.

Hearn is still negotiating terms with IBF challenger Pulev as they eye a stadium fight in the UK – but offers to fight abroad will bring in more cash for the heavyweights.

Hearn explained: “For AJ we’ve established the IBF mandatory was called long before the WBO one.

“Kubrat Pulev is the frontrunner, but of course in this situation Kubrat Pulev is mandatory and is thinking ‘I want as much money as possible for this fight’.

“We want to do the fight in the UK – which is probably the place where there’s the least amount of money for this fight.

“But at the end of May or early June for us, many venues in the mix – Emirates, Spurs, Twickenham we’ve requested, Millennium Stadium.

“It’s time to come home. But Pulev’s got to be in agreeance with that and hopefully we get that over the line.

“If you asked him where he wants his next fight to be he’d say London, so that’s what we’re going to try and deliver,” Hearn said.

Joshua regained his WBA, IBF and WBO titles after defeating Andy Ruiz Jr in their rematch in December in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
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