Paychecks will be dedicated to Anthony Joshua on April 9 as fans pay to watch Britain’s most cherished boxer fight Charles Martin for the IBF heavyweight championship live on Sky Sports Box Office.
‘Let’s roll’ was Joshua’s reply to the text from promoter Eddie Hearn proposing the world title matchup, he told Sky Sports.
All eyes will be on the rising star of the heavyweight division as he enters his first world title bout after just 15 fights- all of which he has won.
Martin also boasts an unbeaten record of 23 wins and 1 draw, stopping 21 of his opponents in the process.
Tickets to watch the pair battle it out at The 02 Arena in London sold out in just 90 seconds with fans eager to roar on their local hero Joshua in his biggest fight yet.
The occasion marks a completely different challenge for Joshua from his grudge match against long term rival Dillian Whyte in December.
The length that Whyte forced him to go and the rocky patches he experienced against the Brixton fighter will have been a welcomed insight into where he needs to improve before stepping onto the world stage.
Both enter the match up without a lot of experience and the pressure will be on Martin to defend his title against a dangerous underdog.
Joshua brings an explosiveness to the ring that Martin is yet to experience and looks a refocused man after his mistakes against Whyte. The undefeated Brit wins this fight.
He will have been fully aware of the talk regarding how he needs to improve his foot work and turn more attention to his combinations and defensive style as opposed to looking for the big knockout early on.
Dillian Whyte’s ability to step back into some of Joshua’s big punches will have emphasised this point even more. Joshua will know himself he needs to improve in order to be successful at world level.
Martin looks to be no match for the top heavyweight fighters but has to be taken seriously for what he has achieved. As much as Martin’s southpaw stance is dismissed, it is a factor that has to be considered.
Is the title fight too early for Joshua? Perhaps, when you consider he only turned professional three years ago.
His performances at professional level though suggest he has the makings to be something special. He has the hunger, power and talent to become the very best one day and the decision to take on such a fight this early underlines his ambition.
Retired super middleweight boxer Carl Froch has defended his decision to take on the fight.
He told The Sun: “I’ve got nothing but admiration for the guy. He’s taking a risk, but I think it is going to pay off.”
Froch went on to explain Martin’s thinking behind the fight, adding: “So yes, he’s doing it for the payday. But he’s also doing it because he thinks Joshua is too inexperienced to give him much trouble.”
The expectation is on Joshua to continue his dominance, but there remains to be risks whether he wins or loses.
A loss would be a huge blow at this stage in his career and force many to question whether he has been hyped up too much. He hasn’t been seriously tested yet so many will be fearful that this could prove to be a step too soon.
A win would certainly send a message to the more experienced fighters above him, but it would mean he could have to defend the title against anyone. The challenge on from there would be adapting as he goes along and working to match inevitably more talented opponents than he has faced before.
Britain lies in wait to see if Anthony Joshua can become IBF heavyweight champion and take his first meaningful steps towards true stardom.