IBF heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua went head-to-head with former world Champion Wladimir Klitschko in London today for the first press conference ahead of their April 29 encounter at Wembley Stadium. The vacant IBO and WBA World titles will also be on the line for a fight that could attract 90,000 people and generate over £40 million once the dust settles on tickets sales, and PPV and other revenue.
Joshua picked up the vacant belt earlier this year by beating Charles Martin in two, he has defended it twice—KO 7 and KO 3 over Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina respectively—and has racked up 18 knockout wins in as many fights. He will hope to pick up the other titles that Tyson Fury vacated in order to take the time out required overcome depression and to contest an alleged doping offence.
Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) dropped a decision to Fury in Germany last November. Two rematch dates were nixed before the Fury return was spiked altogether. The 40-year-old former holder was at ringside in Manchester on Saturday night and the two men announced the contest in the ring following Joshua’s win over Molina.
“Afternoon everyone and welcome back to Wembley Stadium,” said promoter Eddie Hearn when opening proceedings. “On April 29th we will have the biggest boxing event the U.K. has seen.”
“It’s exciting for boxing and sport worldwide this fight,” added Adam Smith, Sky’s Head of Boxing.
“This is a fight that can change from champion to legend overnight—it will bring the masses out,” stated Joshua.
“My goal and target is to become three-time world champion,” said Klitschko. “When I win this fight, I will help Anthony come back. I’m obsessed with becoming three time world champion. I feel the break is good for me. My motivation is as high as the sky. Anthony is an outstanding champion and athlete—he has always been respectful, watching, learning and observing.
“It is all about winning,” added Joshua. “I have not taken a game plan from Fury, each fighter is different. Klitschko sounds motivated. I am training for a 12 round fight. Hard work has brought us here. I have the upmost respect for Wladimir as a man, too. The best man will win. Destiny has already been written for this fight, it’s now about fulfilling it.”
“April 29th is everything to me,” Klitschko replied. “I will remain calm before the storm comes.”
“This is fantastic. Thanks to Eddie and Anthony. Eddie is utterly professional, negotiations were great,” enthused Bernd Boente, Klitschko’s manager. “This is the most famous stadium in the world.”
Hearn then revealed that the first allocation of tickets will go out this Friday. “The first tickets on sale to Clun Wembley (@ClubWembley) this Friday,” he said.