By Declan Taylor
Matchroom Sport, Klitschko Management Group (KMG) and K2 Promotions have reached agreement with U.S. premium television giants Showtime and HBO to televise the most significant heavyweight world championship match in more than a decade. On Saturday, April 29, IBF Heavyweight World Champion Anthony Joshua will face former unified world champion Wladimir Klitschko from a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London.
Showtime is the exclusive U.S. television partner of Joshua, while HBO has an exclusive agreement with Klitschko in the States. Each premium network will produce its own separate telecast of the main event match for the U.S. audience. SHOWTIME will televise its SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING presentation live at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT, while HBO will televise its WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® production at approximately 10:45 p.m. ET/PT.
Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) will meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant IBO and WBA World Championships. The British sensation Joshua has knocked out all 18 of his professional opponents in a meteoric rise to stardom, while the long-reigning world champion from Ukraine, Klitschko, aims to win back titles he previously held in his 11-year rule as heavyweight world champion. Joshua vs. Klitschko is promoted by Matchroom Boxing, KMG and K2 Promotions and has officially sold out Wembley Stadium with a record-setting 90,000 tickets sold.
The 27-year-old Joshua has been perfect since turning professional shortly after winning Gold at the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain. Joshua, of Watford, England, won the IBF Heavyweight World Championship with a second-round knockout of defending champion Charles Martin in April 2016, earning a heavyweight belt in the fewest number of fights in more than 20 years. He has since successfully defended the title twice—against Dominic Breazeale in June and Eric Molina in December.
Klitschko’s most recent reign at heavyweight began in 2006 when he captured the IBF and IBO belts via knockout in a rematch against Chris Byrd. He went on to make 17 consecutive defenses of the IBF and IBO crowns, 13 consecutive defenses of the WBO belt, and eight consecutive defenses of the WBA title. Along the way, he amassed victories over Sultan Ibragimov, Hasim Rahman, Ruslan Chagaev, David Haye, Samuel Peter, Alexander Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev and more. In total he has fought in 28 total world title fights - a unique record in the history of the heavyweight division - compared to just 18 total professional fights for Anthony Joshua. He was the longest reigning world champion (2006-2015) after Joe Louis.
This will be Klitschko’s first outing since losing the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles to Tyson Fury in 2015, his first defeat in 11 years.