Anthony Joshua confirms important change to plans for first title defense

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After Anthony Joshua took just two rounds to defeat Charles Martin and lift the IBF World Heavyweight title last weekend, it didn't take long for talk to turn to the British boxer's first title defense.

Almost immediately after the fight, Joshua's promoter, Eddie Hearn, went on record to say that July 9 would be the date of his fighter's next bout. Considering the second Saturday in July will also see Tyson Fury put his WBA and WBO titles on the line against Wladimir Klitschko, it looked like an unfortunate clash was on the cards.

That no longer appears to be the case, however. That's after Joshua, speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, revealed he will be changing his schedule to avoid fighting on the same night as his fellow Brit.


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"Let Fury and Klitschko have their day. Let's not mix anything up on 9 July," explained the 16-0 fighter this morning.

"It was always in my mind to fight on 9 July but there are other dates as well, before and after 9 July.

"It will be good to sit back and watch the show and look at my competitors some time in the future."

Wise move?

Considering the bad blood between Fury and Joshua - the two have been involved in a public spat over social media in the past few weeks - scheduling his first title defense on the same date as arguably the biggest night in Fury's boxing career would only have heightened tension between the two camps.

Moreover, with Joshua's next opponent unlikely to have the same pulling power as Klitschko, fighting on the same night actually threatened to take away some of the interest in the 26-year-old's own bout.

The news does, though, remove one event from what was shaping up to be one of the biggest weekends in the 2016 sporting calendar. 

Even without a Joshua fight on July 9, the weekend will see Fury vs Klitschko, Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz at UFC 200, the Wimbledon singles finals, the British Grand Prix and the Euro 2016 final.

It is unclear at this stage which date Joshua and his team will now look to for the first defense of his IBF world title. 

As for his opponent, the likes of David Haye, Deontay Wilder and New Zealander Joseph Parker have all been mentioned since Joshua dispatched of Martin at the O2 last Saturday night.

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