Joshua commits to Wembley bouts

Anthony Joshua on his way to taking Joseph Parker's WBO belt at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, where he drew sellout crowds. His next two fights will be at Wembley Stadium.
Anthony Joshua on his way to taking Joseph Parker's WBO belt at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, where he drew sellout crowds. His next two fights will be at Wembley Stadium.
Image: RICHARD HEATHCOTE

Britain's heavyweight world champion, Anthony Joshua, says Wembley just added a "fourth lion to the den" as he committed to staging his next two bouts at the historic stadium.

Wembley is the historic home of the England football team, whose nom de guerre is "The Three Lions".

The 28-year-old 2012 Olympic champion, whose epic 11th-round knockout of Ukrainian great Wladimir Klitschko in April last year drew a post-war attendance record at Wembley of 90000, has fights planned for Wembley on September 22 this year and April 13 next year.

Joshua, who holds the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts, has since filled Principality Stadium in Cardiff twice.

"The opportunity to fight in such an iconic stadium [Wembley] is normally a once-in-a- career opportunity, so to be given the chance to fight there again is amazing," he said.

"Wembley just added a fourth lion to the den."

Joshua's two sellout bouts in Cardiff, where he defended his belts against Carlos Takam last October, then took New Zealander Joseph Parker's WBO belt in March, attracted more than 150000 fans.

His likely opponent for the first bout at Wembley is Russia's Alexander Povetkin.

Since he beat Parker, Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn has been trying to set up a unification bout with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, but has not yet managed to do a deal with the American's camp.

The WBA then told Joshua to defend his title against Povetkin, the mandatory challenger, though that deal is also yet to be agreed on.

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