By John MacDonald
Anthony Joshua could make the first defence of his IBF heavyweight world title on June 25 at London’s O2 Arena.
Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) claimed the belt with a two-round demolition of – the previously unbeaten – Charles Martin. Immediately afterwards, his promoter – Eddie Hearn – announced that they were provisionally looking for the 2012 Olympic Gold medallist to return on to the ring on July 9, with Wembley Stadium a potential venue.
It had previously been announced that Tyson Fury would defend his WBA ‘super’, WBO and Ring titles against Wladimir Klitschko – who he dethroned last November – on the same date at the Manchester Arena.
This would have resulted in two fights on the same night, in the same country, for heavyweight titles. This situation would have been far from ideal for fight fans, who would have been forced to choose which to attend. However, while July 9 remains in play, June 25 has emerged as an option. Eddie Hearn confirmed to BoxingScene that he is looking at alternative dates.
“Prior to Joshua’s win, Fury-Klitschko was announced for that date [July 9] so we’re looking at whether there’s an alternative and July 25th might be the answer,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com. “We’ve reserved the O2 for June 25th but we are keeping our options open, with an official announcement to come first thing next week.”
Having dispatched of Charles Martin in swift fashion, Joshua is looking to test himself against established world level contenders with the likes of Bermane Stiverne, Bryant Jennings and Eric Molina all reportedly in the frame.
“He [Joshua] is very active in the selection of his opponents,” said Hearn. “He wants to give people good fights. From a list of six or seven, he’s been quite quick to tell me that two or three just aren’t good enough, which is very unusual for a fighter. We know he still needs to develop but you can only do that by fighting quality fighters.”
When an official announcement is made, a clash between domestic rivals, George Groves and Martin Murray, is expected to be announced as chief support
Both super middleweights are looking to get back in title contention and the fight may be a world title eliminator.