Wednesday 11 December 2019

Anthony Joshua to fight Charles Martin for IBF heavyweight crown

Anthony Joshua (left) knocks down Kevin Johnson
Anthony Joshua (left) knocks down Kevin Johnson

Anthony Joshua will make his first attempt at a world title when he fights Charles Martin in April with the IBF heavyweight crown on the line.

The 26-year-old Londoner will take what is viewed as a huge step when he meets American Martin on April 9 at the O2 Arena.

London 2012 gold medallist Joshua has fought 15 times as a professional, winning them all in devastating fashion.

Over those 15 bouts he has accrued only 32 rounds of experience, seven of which came in his last outing against domestic rival Dillian Whyte.

This is a huge step up for Joshua, though, who - with victory - can join Tyson Fury as a British heavyweight champion.

Fury vacated the IBF strap at the end of last year, allowing 29-year-old Martin to beat Vyacheslav Glazkov in New York in January and take it.

"Fighting for the heavyweight world title has been a dream of mine since I turned professional," said Joshua.

"I feel privileged to have the opportunity to turn that dream into reality. Not only that, having the chance to fight for it in my home town at the O2 is unbelievably exciting.

"Charles Martin is a great fighter and a hungry competitor so I am going to have to produce the performance of my career to claim that belt."

Promoter Eddie Hearn added: "Life is all about taking opportunities and when the chance to become heavyweight champion of the world presented itself, there was no holding Anthony back."

Martin has won 23 of his professional fights, drawing the other.

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