Britain’s Anthony Joshua is to challenge for his first world title on April 9 after being announced as the opponent for IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin’s first defence.
Olympic gold medalist Joshua has only had 15 professional fights but has made a name for himself on the heavyweight scene by winning all of his bouts via knockout.
His explosive power means he has only spent 32 rounds inside the ring in a fight scenario, seven of which came in his last bout against Dillian Whyte in December when he clinched the British heavyweight title.
At the time the 26-year-old said he would not look to challenge for the heavyweight title until 2017, claiming he wanted a few more tests before trying to claim a world championship.
However, the opportunity to face American Martin has been too good to pass up and he will square off against the 29-year-old at London’s O2 Arena later in the year.
“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. Martin is a great fighter and a hungry competitor so I am going to have to produce the performance of my career to claim that belt.”
Martin claimed his IBF title in January with a stoppage win over Vyacheslav Glazkov and says his clash with Joshua gives him the chance to prove he is the next big thing in heavyweight boxing.
“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,” said Martin.
Elsewhere in the heavyweight division, Lucas Browne is to face Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA title on March. Browne is 3.75 to become world champion while Chagaev is 1.25.