Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has agreed a two-fight deal with Wembley Stadium, with the venue now set to host his next two bouts in September and April.
While it was widely thought that Joshua’s next fight would be at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, where his two previous bouts took place, Wembley Stadium has now secured the undefeated heavyweight’ next two fights, the first of which is set to take place on 22 September.
The upcoming fight in September is to be announced next week, although it is most likely to be against Russian Alexander Povetkin, who is the WBA’s mandatory challenger, despite the recent back and forth between AJ and WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Instead, it is hoped that a unification fight with Wilder will be the second fight to take place in Wembley Stadium, which is set for 13 April, seven months after the September bout.
Should Joshua successfully defend his WBA, IBO, and WBO titles, he and Wilder would then fight it out to unify the belts with the American’s WBC heavyweight title.
Joshua said of his return to Wembley:
“I am returning to Wembley after two mega fights in Cardiff. I want to thank the supporters from Wales and Great Britain and also the people of London for patiently awaiting my return.
“Being north London born and raised, it is in my blood. The opportunity to fight in such an iconic stadium is normally a once-in-a-career opportunity, so to be given the chance to fight there again is amazing. Wembley just added a fourth lion to the den.”
Both fights are likely to draw in massive crowds regardless of the opponent, with Joshua’s team being given around 90,000 tickets to sell, the same amount sold for his fight with Wladimir Klitschko, which is currently a joint record attendance for a British boxing match, shared with the 1939 fight between Len Harvey and Jock McAvoy at White City Stadium
There were concerns over a lower capacity at Wembley Stadium due to construction work set for the stadium, but London Mayor Sadiq Khan worked closely with the Transport for London to get the work delayed until after the fights.
Not only that, but Joshua’s promotor Eddie Hearn is hoping to increase the capacity for the April fight to over 100,000.
In Tweet, Hearn said:
“Capacity for Anthony Joshua’s next fight on 22 September will be at 90,000 – we are expecting the 13 April capacity to be extended to over 100,000.
“I don’t think anyone will forget that night of 29 April against Klitschko and we plan to bring two more dramatic events to Wembley Stadium.
“Images from these AJ events make our country the envy of the boxing world and long may it continue.”
With the first of the two-fight deal at Wembley widely believed to be against Povetkin, it sets up a blockbuster fight for April against Wilder, providing Joshua gets past the veteran Russian.
Fighting in front of an avid hometown crowd will certainly make for a great atmosphere for each of the fights, as Joshua continues his journey to unify all four major boxing heavyweight titles.