Add heavyweight boxing champ to the Under Armour Inc (NYSE: UAA) portfolio of athletes, after British boxer Anthony Joshua knocked out Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round Saturday to secure a WBA and IBF world heavyweight title.
While boxing has been deemed a dying sport following the rapid ascension of UFC and Floyd Mayweather’s retirement, having a new exciting heavyweight boxer could be just what the sport needs to regain interest.
Under Armour will certainly try to push this forward and capitalize on Joshua’s time in the spotlight, especially as the company looks to gain international traction. Joshua has yet to fight outside of the U.K., but that could soon change.
“No matter the success he enjoys here in Britain there is always the lure of the U.S. and the cultural and financial significance that it still enjoys. He grew up listening to a lot of American music and watching American fighters,” said Stephen Espinoza, the executive vice president of Showtime Sports.
Under Armour signed Joshua to an endorsement deal in early 2016 and extended his deal in February this year. Joshua’s ability to create valuable exposure internationally and his rapid rise to superstardom comes at a good time for the struggling company and reaffirms Under Armour still has a great pulse on securing up and coming stars.
The Endorsement Signing
“I am delighted to be committing my long-term future to Under Armour,” Joshua said following his contract extension. “It is a partnership that has been incredibly successful to date, the brand has helped me increase performance with custom products and new technologies.”
“He is unquestionably world boxing’s biggest star,” boxing promotor Eddie Hearn said. The BBC predicts Joshua could replicate the “Tiger Woods effect,” serving as an ambassador for a dying sport and creating a whole lot of sudden interest, prompting the younger generation to follow in his footsteps.
While there currently isn’t much commerce surrounding Boxing, a revolutionary star could pay dividends for Under Armour, as Joshua looks to start a new commercial era of the sport. The Independent predicts Joshua could become the first billionaire boxer.
“His commercial potential outside the ring is huge, way beyond Beckham and the world's top footballers. He has a much bigger cross-over in terms of potential,” added Hearn.
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Image Credit: By Bill - Nicola Adams & Anthony Joshua, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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