Charles Martin vs. Anthony Joshua: Fight Date Announced, Comments and Reaction

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12:  Anthony Joshua celebrates victory over Dillian Whyte with his belts after the British and Commonwealth heavyweight title contest at The O2 Arena on December 12, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Rising heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua will face Charles Martin for the IBF world title at the O2 Arena in London on April 9.

Joshua provided official confirmation of the bout on Sunday:

Promoter Eddie Hearn announced the date and venue:

The 26-year-old, who sports a perfect record of 15 wins within the distance, has been steadily rising up the ranks and will look to continue his ascent in front of his home crowd.

Joshua last fought in December, knocking out longtime rival Dillian Whyte in seven rounds. Whyte provided the former Olympic champion with the first real test of his career, staggering Joshua in the second round.

British boxer Anthony Joshua (L) vies against British boxer Dillian Whyte during their British and Commonwealth heavyweight title boxing match at the O2 arena in London on December 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS        (Photo cr

The giant from Watford answered beautifully, however, finding his best form and dominating his rival the rest of the way. A massive right hook wobbled Whyte in the seventh, and Joshua eventually finished the fight with a devastating uppercut to become the British heavyweight champion.

Joshua has mainly fought journeyman fighters until this point, but against Whyte, he showed the world he has the chin to go along with his awesome power and speed. Per BoxRec, he has the size to overpower most fighters, standing 6'6", but he's remarkably athletic for a man his size and moves around the ring with ease.

His promoter, Hearn, has so far brought Joshua along slowly, making sure he doesn't miss any steps in his development. He's still a flawed fighter who doesn't target the body nearly enough and can get sloppy with his footwork at times.

British boxer Anthony Joshua (L) celebrates beating British boxer Dillian Whyte in the British and Commonwealth heavyweight title boxing match at the O2 arena in London on December 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS        (Photo cr

But there are few prospects in boxing who possess the raw talent Joshua has, and if he continues his development, he has an excellent shot of becoming the undisputed world champion one day.

He'll get his first shot at a world title against Martin, who won the belt by beating Vyacheslav Glazkov in January. Martin won the IBF title in bizarre fashion, as Glazkov tore his ACL while backing away in the third round and was forced to retire, per MailOnline's James Andrew.

Per Showtime's Al Bernstein, he then called Joshua out, which may have been a questionable decision:

Like Joshua, Martin has an undefeated record, winning 23 fights and drawing once. His resume doesn't look mightily impressive, perhaps best illustrated by the fact it took him 10 rounds to dispose of Raphael Zumbano Love—the Brazilian whom Joshua blasted inside of two rounds last year.

The IBF title previously belonged to Tyson Fury, who was stripped of his belt for not fighting challenger Glazkov, per BBC Sport. New champion Martin will present another big step in Joshua's progression, but given both fighters' body of work, the Brit should feel confident he can win his first world title when he returns to the ring in April.