Photos: Associated Press, Will Hart
HBO will televise its World Championship Boxing production of the Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight world championship on Saturday, April 29 at approximately 11:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) will meet for Joshua’s IBF world championship and the vacant IBO and WBA world championships. The British sensation Joshua has knocked out all 18 of his professional opponents in a meteoric rise to stardom, while Klitschko, the long-reigning world champion from Ukraine, aims to win back titles he previously held in his 11-year rule as heavyweight world champion. Joshua vs. Klitschko is promoted by Matchroom Boxing, KMG and K2 Promotions and has officially sold out Wembley Stadium with a record-setting 90,000 tickets purchased.
The 27-year-old Joshua has been perfect since turning professional shortly after winning gold at the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain. Joshua, from Watford, England, won the IBF heavyweight world championship with a second-round knockout of defending champion Charles Martin in April 2016, earning a heavyweight belt in the fewest number of fights in more than 20 years. He has since successfully defended the title twice -- against Dominic Breazeale in June and Eric Molina in December.
Joshua is just the sixth Olympic gold medalist at super heavyweight to go on to win a professional heavyweight world title, joining Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Alexander Povetkin and his rival on April 29, Wladimir Klitschko.
HBO has been the long-time home of Klitschko’s professional boxing career in the U.S. The 41-year-old has been a kingpin in the heavyweight division since winning gold at the 1996 Olympic Games. He turned pro shortly after the Atlanta Games and ran an undefeated campaign for 24 fights before suffering his first defeat to veteran Ross Puritty. Klitschko quickly rebounded by winning 10 in a row and captured his first world title (WBO) with a unanimous decision victory over Chris Byrd in 2000, a win which avenged a loss by his brother, Vitali, earlier that year.
Klitschko’s most recent reign at heavyweight began in 2006 when he captured the IBF and IBO belts via knockout in a rematch against Byrd. He went on to make 17 consecutive defenses of the IBF and IBO crowns, 13 consecutive defenses of the WBO belt and eight consecutive defenses of the WBA title. Along the way, he amassed victories over Sultan Ibragimov, Hasim Rahman, Ruslan Chagaev, David Haye, Samuel Peter, Alexander Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev and more. In total, he has fought in 28 total world title fights -- a unique record in the history of the heavyweight division -- compared to just 18 total professional fights for Anthony Joshua. Klitschko was the longest-reigning world champion (2006-2015) after Joe Louis.
This will be Klitschko’s first outing since losing the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles to Tyson Fury in 2015, his first defeat in 11 years.