Anthony Joshua April 13

Anthony Joshua set to scrap Wembley date for MSG debut, says Eddie Hearn

Published On Monday, February 4, 2019By British Boxing News

Wembley date to be replaced by the Garden

Heavyweight world champion had signed two-bout deal to fight at English national stadium
Jarrell Miller fight is very close for June at Madison Square Garden

World heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua is set to cancel his deal to fight at London’s Wembley Stadium on 13th April in order to fight at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden, according to his promoter, Eddie Hearn.

The Englishman, through management company Matchroom Boxing, signed a two-fight agreement with the 90,000-seat home of English soccer in July 2018.

The first part of the arrangement saw Joshua maintain his unbeaten record, knocking out Russia’s Alexander Povetkin in the seventh round in September.

It was initially believed that the April date had been arranged with a unification contest with US fighter Deontay Wilder in mind, with Hearn stating at the time of the Wembley deal that he expected the bout to have an extended capacity of over 100,000.

However, circumstances have changed, with both of Joshua’s main targets – Wilder and Tyson Fury – likely to be involved in a rematch after the pair’s controversial draw at Los Angeles’ Staples Center in December. It means that Joshua is set to change his strategy as he looks to break into the US market, where he has not yet fought.

Former victim and bitter rival Dillian Whyte was also approached but the Brixton 'Body Snatcher' branded the offer as utterly ridiculous and talks fell through.

Speaking to boxing channel IFL TV, according to Hearn the Wembley date is “not 100 per cent” off, but scrapping it is very “very likely.”

He said: “It looks like 13th April is unlikely.” Instead, Hearn believes that a first bout in the US is a more probable outcome. Adding: “The Jarrell Miller fight is very close for June at Madison Square Garden.”

He also confirmed that should Joshua choose to remain in the UK in order to fight Dillian Whyte, who Joshua previously beat in his 15th professional fight, that event would take place at another UK stadium, with Wembley not set to be part of the heavyweight giant’s plans for the rest of 2019.

According to a BBC Sport report, Miller has emerged as the most likely opponent for the IBF, WBA and WBO world champion, as Joshua seeks to raise his profile internationally. All 22 of Joshua’s professional fights – and wins – have come in the UK.

Joshua was named as SportsPro’s most marketable athlete in 2017, falling to third on the list in 2018.