Anthony Joshua to fight Charles Martin for the IBF Championship of the World
Anthony Joshua will fight Charles Martin for the IBF World Heavyweight Championship at the O2 Arena on April 9.
The Olympic champion has flourished since his step up to the professional ranks with a faultless 15 knockouts in his first 15 bouts since 2013.
The title was made vacant by the IBF in December last year when it was stripped from Tyson Fury following controversy surrounding his next opponent. Martin went on to fight Vyacheslav Glazkov and win the belt in bizarre TKO fashion after the Ukrainian was forced to retire with a knee injury in the third round.
The American now joins fellow countryman Deontay Wilder as an unbeaten World Champion boasting an impressive (23,0,1) record with an incredible 21 victories by way of knockout. This will be the first fight off home soil for the 29 year old:
“I’m coming to the UK to make a statement that I am the best heavyweight in the world and no-one is taking my title.
“I’m world champion, so that doesn’t mean just sit back and make easy defences in the US. It means facing the biggest challenges out there.”
The fight was announced on twitter early Sunday morning by boxing promoter Eddie Hearn who said he was “proud” to be informing boxing fans of Joshua’s first title shot.
Joshua ,26, has only 32 rounds of professional boxing to his name which could be a disadvantage if the fight was to go the distance. His longest bout to date currently stands at 7 rounds before a devastating uppercut to Dillian Whyte got the stoppage it deserved and secured “AJ” the British and Commonwealth titles last time out.
“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to turn that dream into reality. 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.”
Both head into the bout full of confidence and on remarkable unbeaten runs but something will have to give on April 9. Joshua finds himself in the familiar position of favourite despite this only being his 16th bout and first shot at a world title. Being on home soil with the backing of a sold out O2 arena may play a huge factor in determining the result of what promises to be an explosive fight.
Martin will feel he has the edge in terms of in ring experience and having gone the distance in previous fights could find himself at an advantage in the later rounds. It is questionable if he has ever fought anyone with Joshua’s pedigree and this will surely be a test from the start.
Speculation continues over potential fights for 2016 with talk of a possible all British affair with David Haye and Joshua on the cards later this year. Tyson Fury will also be keeping an eye on both men while he prepares for his world title rematch with Vladimir Klitschko. WBC champion Deontay Wilder will also be looking to get in on the act after his fiery confrontation with Fury last month.
Whatever happens, this promises to be an exciting time for the Heavyweight Division.