Boxing: Promoter Eddie Hearn close to finalising first defence

Anthony Joshua v Charles Martin and Eddie Hearn

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Promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed he is looking at three opponents as he prepares to finalise Anthony Joshua’s first defence of his IBF heavyweight title.

The London 2012 Olympic Gold medallist won the title earlier this month after impressively stopping American Charles Martin inside two rounds at the 02 Arena in London.

Hearn was originally set to fight at Wembley but there are now plans to return to the 02 on June 25 for his first defence.

Plans are now in place to try and raise Joshua’s profile in the United States and Hearn has picked out Bermane Stiverne, Eric Molina and Dominic Breazeale as his possible next opponents.

He told Sky Sports: “The IBF put out their new rankings today and we have to box someone in the top 15 of those rankings.

“We expect from those rankings the likes of Bermane Stiverne, Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale. Those kind of people will be in the mix. There has been big interest from US broadcasters in Anthony Joshua. I think a US opponent makes sense for us.

“He wants to go in with a real test and a bigger test than what he has been facing so far. The likes of those guys will provide that opportunity.”

Hearn has also confirmed that Joshua could fight Tyson Fury later this year if both continue their winning steaks.

“I think the next fight after June 25 could be Tyson Fury,” he added.

“I think AJ wants the belts, he wants to unify the division. To do that, you have to beat Tyson Fury. We feel like Tyson Fury is a much easier fight than David Haye.”

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