By Keith Idec
Eddie Hearn’s franchise fighter has re-upped.
Hearn announced through his Twitter account Friday that Anthony Joshua has signed a three-year contract extension with Matchroom Boxing and Sky Sports. That’ll keep the biggest British star in boxing with Hearn’s company into 2021.
The deal also means that the undefeated heavyweight champion’s fights will be distributed via pay-per-view by Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom. Joshua, 28, has worked with Matchroom Boxing and Sky Sports since making his pro debut in October 2013.
“When I decided to become a professional boxer, I felt the boxing market was stagnating and in need of new energy,” Joshua said in a press release. “Both Matchroom and Sky have backed me and have given me opportunity after opportunity, and I will always deliver. They’ve worked very hard to give me a platform to showcase my skills and tell my story, so choosing to renew our deal was always a matter of when, not if.”
Hearn announced last week that Joshua’s upcoming fights will be made available in the United States through DAZN, the streaming service with which Matchroom has partnered. The 6-feet-6, 245-pound Joshua’s six previous fights were broadcast by Showtime in the United States.
“I am delighted to extend our promotional agreement with Anthony and also extend his relationship with Sky Sports,” Hearn said. “Anthony is a huge part of the Matchroom family and we have been with him from the debut to unifying the world heavyweight titles. He is the biggest star in the sport and we look forward to more success, more iconic nights and seeing him become undisputed heavyweight champion.”
The knockout artist from Watford, England, is scheduled to fight September 22 in London. Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) will make a mandatory defense of his WBA heavyweight title that night against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs).
The Joshua-Povetkin card is expected to draw another capacity crowd of at least 90,000 to Wembley Stadium, where Joshua’s career-changing knockout of Wladimir Klitschko took place in April 2017.
“We have created history together,” Joshua said, “and we are dedicated to keeping the UK scene in high demand for all boxers and boxing fans. But for me, personally, the journey is nowhere near finished yet.”
If the favored Joshua beats Povetkin, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist is tentatively scheduled to return to Wembley Stadium for an April 13 fight, perhaps his highly anticipated showdown with WBC champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.