Anthony Joshua signs Wembley Stadium fight deal for September and April

Joshua last fought at Wembley Stadium in April of 2017
Joshua last fought at Wembley Stadium in April 2017 when he beat Wladimir Klitschko in a thrilling bout

Unified heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua will return to Wembley Stadium for his next two fights.

Joshua, 28, has signed a two-fight deal to compete at the national stadium on 22 September and 13 April.

The WBA, IBF and WBO champion beat Wladimir Klitschko there in April 2017 but has since fought twice at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

"Being north London born and raised, it is in my blood. Wembley just added a fourth lion to the den," said Joshua.

"The opportunity to fight in such an iconic stadium is normally a once-in-a-career opportunity, so to be given the chance to fight there again is amazing."

His opponent on 22 September will be confirmed next week but is expected to be Russia's Alexander Povetkin, the WBA's mandatory challenger, with a view to facing American WBC world champion Deontay Wilder for all four belts in April.

'100,000 at Wembley'

Fellow heavyweight Tony Bellew believes Joshua could perform in front of over a million people
Fellow heavyweight Tony Bellew believes Joshua could perform in front of more than a million people

Joshua thanked fans who attended his dates in the Welsh capital where he scored a stoppage win over Carlos Takam in October and added the WBC belt to his collection by out-pointing Joseph Parker in March.

Wembley gives his promoters around 90,000 seats to sell, with London mayor Sadiq Khan having worked with Transport for London to delay engineering works that might have led to a reduced capacity.

And Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn hopes to surpass 90,000 for the April fight, which would better the British record for a boxing match held jointly by the Joshua-Klitschko bout and Len Harvey's meeting with Jock McAvoy at White City Stadium in 1939.

Hearn tweeted: "Capacity for Anthony Joshua's next fight on 22 September will be at 90,000 - we are expecting the 13 April capacity to be extended to over 100,000.

"I don't think anyone will forget that night of 29 April against Klitschko and we plan to bring two more dramatic events to Wembley Stadium.

"Images from these AJ events make our country the envy of the boxing world and long may it continue."

'No negotiating on venue' - analysis

BBC Sport boxing reporter Luke Reddy

A two-fight deal is interesting. We now know that if Joshua gets through the likely meeting with Povetkin, the venue for any fight with Wilder in April is set in stone.

It never hurts to take one sticking point out of a negotiating process which has proven painfully drawn out and complicated.

Wembley is a perfect venue for Joshua. His fight nights are drawing more and more first-timers to the sport and there is no venue more accessible in terms of ticket numbers in this country.

Those linked to the Principality Stadium may be frustrated to miss out, but the fact that venue has a roof means it is likely to come back as a winter option at some point in the coming years with Joshua now too big for arenas.

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