Boxing: Anthony Joshua prepares for first defence of world IBF heavyweight belt

IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Photo / Getty Images.
IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Photo / Getty Images.

Anthony Joshua, the newly crowned IBF world heavyweight champion, is already preparing for his first title defence.

The 26-year-old, who stopped 'Prince' Charles Martin in the second round to take his IBF title at the O2 Arena in London on April 9, is back in the gym.

His next opponent is likely to be an America-based fighter as British rival Tyson Fury - the main man in the division - is tied up with a rematch against Wladimir Klitschko in July.

A meeting between Fury and Joshua is almost inevitable down the line but Joshua will first make a defence of his new IBF belt, which was was harshly stripped from Fury soon after his victory over Klitschko.

Potential opponents for the fight, which is expected to be at The O2 on June 25, include Haiti-born Bermane Stiverne, who took the unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder 12 rounds last year, and Philadelphia's Bryant Jennings.

Joshua shared an image of him doing a pull-up on Instagram, along with the message: 'No time to wait. Only time to prepare. Who's next? #AJBoxing'

No time to wait. Only time to prepare. Who's next? #AJBoxing

A photo posted by Anthony Joshua (@anthony_joshua) on


The war of words between Joshua and Fury continued last week as public demand for an all-British world heavyweight showdown - most likely at a sold-out football stadium - grows.

Fury has described Joshua as 'ponderous' and a 'bodybuilder', with the Watford-born fighter saying in response: 'I can give him some tips if he wants that beach body. He's welcome to pop down my gym.'

Beyond the pantomime insults there is a feeling in the Fury camp that Joshua is being over-hyped, having won a version of the world title that was Charles Martin's essentially by default.

They are keen to back up Fury's historic win over Klitschko in Germany by repeating the performance in Manchester on July 9, setting up a mouth-watering clash with Joshua soon after.

- Daily Mail

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