LONDON, July 5 – Britain’s heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua says Wembley just added a “fourth lion to the den” as he committed to staging his next two bouts at the historic stadium.
Wembley is the historic home to the England football team whose nom de guerre is “The Three Lions”.
The 28-year-old 2012 Olympic champion — whose epic 11th round knockout of Ukrainian great Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017 drew a post war attendance record at Wembley of 90,000 — has fights planned for Wembley on September 22 this year and April 13 next year.
Joshua — who holds the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts — has since filled Principality Stadium in Cardiff twice.
“I am returning to Wembley after two mega fights in Cardiff,” Joshua said in a statement. “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.”
Joshua returns to the capital after the sellout bouts in Cardiff where he defended his belts against Carlos Takam last October, then took New Zealander Joseph Parker’s WBO belt in March -– with the two events attracting over 150,000 fans.
Joshua’s likely opponent for the first bout back at Wembley is Russia’s Alexander Povetkin.
Since he beat Parker, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been trying to set up a unification bout with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, but has not yet managed to do a deal with the American’s camp.
The WBA lost patience over the matter in late June and Joshua was told to defend his title against Povetkin, who is the mandatory challenger, although that is yet to be agreed upon either.