Anthony Joshua Fight Dates Announced for Back-to-Back Wembley Title Defences

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 5, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29:  Anthony Joshua celebrates victory with his team after the IBF, WBA and IBO Heavyweight World Title bout at Wembley Stadium on April 29, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Anthony Joshua will return to Wembley Stadium in September after it was confirmed the heavyweight world champion will stage his next two fights in London. 

Matchroom Boxing released a statement on Thursday that said Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts on September 22 before returning for another bout on April 13.

Joshua set a post-war attendance record for Wembley when 90,000 were present to watch his famous win over Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017, though promoter Eddie Hearn suggested he's on course to break that figure:

Eddie Hearn @EddieHearn

Capacity for @anthonyfjoshua next fight on September 22 will be at 90,000 - we are expecting the April 13 capacity to be extended to over 100,000 #AJscominghome 🦁

The 28-year-old has won back-to-back fights at Cardiff's Principality Stadium since he last fought at Wembley, beating Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker in successive fights, and he said of his return:

“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 career opportunity, so to be given the chance to fight there again is amazing. Wembley just added a fourth lion to the den.”

No opponent has been officially announced for either bout, although the Mirror's David Anderson appeared confident his September bout would come against expected WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin:

David Anderson @MirrorAnderson

Anthony Joshua has agreed a two-fight deal with Wembley to fight there on September 22 and April 13. Joshua will first return to the scene of his epic win over Klitschko for his WBA mandatory against Alexander Povetkin in the autumn.

It will have been a little less than 18 months since Joshua last fought at Wembley by the time he returns to the scene of his greatest career achievement to date.

The long-running storyline has been that Joshua and WBC champion Deontay Wilder would eventually meet in a battle of Britain versus the United States, but Phil Jay of World Boxing News wrote that fight is uncertain as things stand.

Hearn recently spoke to Fight Hype regarding the prospect of an undisputed unification bout with Wilde:

BBC Sport reported London mayor Sadiq Khan had even worked with the city's transport department to ensure planned engineering works didn't cut the potential 90,000 capacity for Joshua's next fight.

England's capital is sure to welcome one of its most treasured sporting sons back with open arms later this year as Wembley prepares for the return of Joshua.