Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk: how much does the winner make?
Anthony Joshua is back in the ring to defend his heavyweight titles against Oleksandr Usyk on Sunday. How much money will the two champions earn?
Writing in the 1950's, the great Jimmy Cannon called boxing “the red light district of sport”. Nowhere is this demonstrated more clearly than when we consider the byzantine calculations of how much a fighter is paid. Hollywood accountants should doff their hats in recognition of the true masters of financial chicanery, boxing.
Saturday's Heavyweight championship bout between two-time unified world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, and Ukraine´s Oleksandr Usyk promises to be one of the biggest fights of Joshua's stellar career. It is certainly the biggest fight since 2018 when he showed his bonafides as a true champion by knocking out Wladimir Klitschko. The only mar on that night was the fact that he was prevented from being "the man who beat the man" by Klitschko's loss 18 months previous to Tyson Fury.
Boxer's actual income is a post-fight exercise
The money involved should be straightforward. When we talk about the Super Bowl or the Champions League Final or another sporting event of this stature, there is no guesswork involved. Broadcasters bid for the right to televise it and the numbers are known months, even years, in advance. Ticket sales and television revenue are then divvied up and contracts signed. But not in boxing. The pay-per-view format is the chosen model for boxing. This makes totting up the television numbers a post-fight exercise, so that going into negotiations neither camp knows how much money is truly on offer.
There are a few guestimates, of course, but these can vary wildly come fight night. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium's 62,000-plus capacity reportedly sold out in only 30 minutes. This would put the box office receipts alone in the ballpark of $20 million (£15 million pounds). If the stadium's VIP boxes are put into use then this could mean another million dollars added to the pot. Demand for seats was reportedly three times that number, so the pay-per-view numbers will likely be very healthy indeed. But at this point any television viewing numbers will only be a best guess.
The basic fight purse will see Anthony Joshua receiving $13.6 million (£10 million pounds) and 60% of the PPV revenue, while Usyk will take $4.1 million (£3 million pounds) and a 40% share. These are guaranteed figures whether the fighter wins or loses. The final amount that each fighter will take home and the lion's share of the profit will depend heavily on the pay-per-view figures. If broad estimates are to be believed, the final figures tend to hover around £50 million pounds ($68 million) for Joshua and £15 million pounds ($20.5 million) for Usyk.
Usyk has agreed to a rematch clause in the contract, which would see him offer an immediate rematch to AJ in the event of a Usyk victory. In the event that this is triggered, a second take could potentially see both of these fighters commanding a substantially higher payday. But like the rest of the boxing finances, how much this might be is anybody's guess.