British heavyweight sensation Anthony Joshua MBE will challenge Charles Martin for the IBF world title live on Sky Sports Box Office on 9 April at The O2.

Destiny calls for Joshua who will contest the Heavyweight World championship after just fifteen fights in his professional career. Since capturing Olympic gold in the super heavyweight division in 2012 and turning professional a year later, hard hitting Joshua has knocked out all fifteen of his opponents and remains unbeaten. Only Dillian Whyte whom he fought in December last year has taken him further than the third round.
‘Prince’ Charles Martin represents a significant step up in class and a big gamble for Joshua. The unbeaten American southpaw impressed when he won the vacant IBF world title in January against Vyacheslav Glazkov in his 22nd professional contest. The 29yr old from St Louis is tall and powerful but has never fought outside the United States, something Joshua will see as an advantage as he prepares to top the bill at London’s O2 for the fourth time.

Sky Sports executive producer of boxing Adam Smith said: “This is a golden opportunity for our golden Olympian as he aims to join an illustrious list of Frank Bruno, Lennox Lewis, David Haye and Tyson Fury to become a British World Heavyweight Champion on Sky. But it is a major risk as Joshua steps up to tackle tall undefeated American Charles Martin. Could this be too soon, or will the timing be right for Anthony Joshua? We can't wait to find out on another massive night on Sky Sports Box Office back at an atmospheric and packed O2!”

Anthony Joshua said: "Fighting for the Heavyweight World title has been a dream of mine since I turned professional. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to turn that dream in to reality. Not only that having the chance to fight for it in my home town at The O2 and live on Sky Sports Box Office is unbelievably exciting. Charles Martin is a great fighter and a hungry competitor so I am going to have to produce the performance of my career to claim that belt."

Charles Martin said: "I told my team I wanted the best challenger possible for my first defence and Anthony Joshua's name kept coming up. I'm coming to the UK to make a statement that I am the best heavyweight in the world and no-one is taking my title. I'm world champion, so that doesn't mean just sit back and make easy defences in the US, it means facing the biggest challenges out there. I respect Anthony Joshua and everything he has accomplished, but on 9 April he's getting knocked out."

Managing Director of Matchroom Sport Eddie Hearn said: “Life is all about taking opportunities and when the chance to become heavyweight of the world presented itself, there was no holding Anthony back. He wants to give the fans something to get excited about and he wants to become a great and even though the decision among the team took a week or so, I believe his mind was already made up from the moment I asked him. It's a complete honour to promote an event of this magnitude. I believe it's one that will go down in the history of the sport."

Preview and analysis from The O2 will be provided by Adam Smith, and former world champions Johnny Nelson, Carl Froch and Jim Watt, as well as a range of boxing experts. Sky Sports viewers can look forward to an extensive schedule of support programming providing the best possible analysis of the fight across our channels and digital outlets.

In addition to Joshua v Martin Sky Sports will show many more nights featuring the biggest names in boxing this year including Carl Frampton’s clash with Scott Quigg for the IBF and WBA Super-Bantamweight titles later this month, and Kell Brook’s contest for the IBF Welterweight title with Kevin Bizier in March. Viewers will also be able to follow the next generation of British boxers including Sam Eggington, Scotty Cardle Lee Selby, Luke Campbell MBE, and Anthony Crolla.