Joshua handed first world title chance against Martin


Anthony Joshua will fight for his first world heavyweight title on April 9 after a bout with IBF champion Charles Martin was confirmed on Sunday.

Joshua has impressed since turning professional the year after winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics with 15 knockouts from 15 fights, including a seventh-round stoppage of Dillian Whyte to claim the British heavyweight title in December.

Martin had been one name mentioned by WBA (Super), WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Tyson Fury as a possible opponent in 2016 after the unbeaten American defeated Vyacheslav Glazkov for the IBF title, but Joshua will be his first to challenge him for the title.

"Fighting for the heavyweight world title has been a dream of mine since I turned professional," said 26-year-old Joshua, who will square up to Martin at London's O2 Arena. "I feel privileged to have the opportunity to turn that dream in to reality. 

"Not only that, having the chance to fight for it in my home town 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."

Meanwhile, Martin goes into the fight confident of improving is 23-0-1 record.

He said: "I told my team I wanted the best challenger possible for my first defence and Anthony Joshua's name kept coming up.

"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. 

"I respect Anthony Joshua and everything he has accomplished, but on April 9 he's getting knocked out."