London Calling: Joshua vs. Martin

By Robert Ecksel on February 14, 2016
London Calling: Joshua vs. Martin
Whether or not Martin is the “best heavyweight in the world” is questionable. (Sky Sports)

On Saturday, April 9, at the O2 Arena, Anthony Joshua will fight newly crowned IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin…

The ramifications of Tyson Fury beating Wladimir Klitschko continue. That victory was the end of an era. It was the end of “boring” Klitschko, assuming he doesn’t win the rematch. It was also the end of dignity as we know it, at least for the time being.

The IBF, whose belt was one of those Klitschko held, signaled the end of the era in its own way, by stripping Fury of its title and arranging a championship fight between two relatively unknown and undeserving challengers.

That fight ended inauspiciously when Vyacheslav Glazkov blew out his knee, enabling 29-year-old Charles Martin to claim the IBF heavyweight belt.

Among those closely watching the changing of the guard was Anthony Joshua, the undefeated 26-year-old Olympic gold medalist. Although he has had only 15 fights and has fought all of 32 rounds as a professional, he has been touted as the next big thing in the heavyweight division, and now he has a chance to prove it.

On Saturday, April 9, at the O2 Arena in London, Anthony Joshua (15-0, 15 KOs), will fight newly crowned Charles Martin (23-0-1, 21 KOs), in the first defense of his IBF heavyweight title.

“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 hometown is unbelievably exciting.”

Joshua isn’t the only person excited about the fight. Promoter Eddie Hearn said, “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.”

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

Martin will have to produce the performance of his career as well if he intends to retain the title.

“I told my team I wanted the best challenger possible for my first defense and Anthony Joshua’s name kept coming up,” said Martin. “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.”

Whether or not Martin is the “best heavyweight in the world” remains to be seen. He has thus far failed to impress, but that can change with London calling.

“I’m world champion,” continued the IBF titleholder, “so that doesn’t mean just sit back and make easy defenses in the U.S. 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.”

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  1. Blair 05:58am, 03/03/2016

    Looks like the winner of this fight will take on the winner of the Takam/Parker fight by late 2016, early 2017 (with Teper failing his drug test). Say what you will about the IBF stripping Fury of the belt for not taking his mandatory immediately, but it has created a lot of interest in the HW division. Also forced Martin to fight his mandatory immediately or lose it, rather than running down the clock on the gravy train.

  2. James 11:59am, 02/17/2016

    I like AJ by early stoppage. Smart move to go for Martin and the IBF belt quickly. If he wins Eddie Hearn can handpick a couple of not too tough challengers and then fight Haye or Fury when the time (and money) is right.

  3. No10Count 11:42pm, 02/14/2016

    Well - I didn’t expect this.
    But Martin will probably be making enough to retire on this 1 fight.  So yeah for his team making this fight. A heavy weight fight I might actually watch.

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