Joshua title talks underway

POPULAR heavyweight challenger and Olympic Gold Medallist Anthony Joshua could be due a much earlier than expected title shot against newly crowned IBF champion Charles Martin. Representatives of the two are in serious talks, with an April 9 showdown being discussed for the O2 arena in London. 

The 26-year-old from Watford has won all 15 of his professional bouts by knock-out, most recently securing the British title against amateur rival Dillian Whyte. A title shot this early in his fledgling career was unexpected, the pugilist having publicly sought a slower path to heavyweight glory by first capturing the European title and then facing some top contenders. 

Those plans went out the window when the relatively green Martin won the IBF belt in January against Vyacheslav Glazkov, in a strange match-up commissioned by the sanctioning body after stripping Tyson Fury of its version of the heavyweight belt. The Gypsy giant now holds the WBA and WBO titles following his spectacular upset of Wladimir Klitschko, while American knock out artist Deontay Wilder is the WBC champion. 

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sports has said “Talks are at an advanced stage, but we are choosing our options carefully because this is a huge fight and a huge move.

Charles Martin is a serious fighter and holds a world title. It’s also fair to say it will take a significant sum to bring him here.”

The heavyweight scene is wide open at present with three champions and a host of hungry contenders determined to mark their own place in history. Veteran Londoner David Haye recently made his comeback, while Cuban Luis Ortiz is proving a force to be reckoned with. 

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