Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been urged to fulfil his pledge to make London a rival to Las Vegas for the biggest fights when Britain’s Anthony Joshua faces Wladimir Klitschko next year.
IBF champion Joshua’s heavyweight blockbuster clash with Klitschko at Wembley in April was announced just moments after the 27-year-old’s victory over American Eric Molina in Manchester on Saturday night.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn believes the bout could generate a British record-equalling 90,000 crowd if granted permission to fill the national stadium to capacity, and has called on Khan to help.
“It will definitely be 80,000 but we will ask for permission to go to 90,000,” he said. “Sadiq Khan was at the Boxing Writers’ Club dinner talking about how he wants to bring major fights to London, so he better help us out.”
Khan, whose brother Sid is a boxing coach who has trained Team GB Olympic silver medallist Joe Joyce, spoke in October of his wish for “another super-fight in the capital”.
He called on British light-middleweight rivals Amir Khan and Kell Brook to stage a fight in London that would rival the 80,000 crowd attracted by Carl Froch’s second win over George Groves at Wembley in 2014.
Instead it is Joshua’s showdown with veteran Klitschko that is likely to match that gate and could yet rival the 90,000 crowd at the 1939 fight between Len Harvey and Jock McAvoy at now-defunct White City Stadium.
Klitschko has not fought since losing his WBA, IBF and WBO belts to Britain’s Tyson Fury in a surprise defeat two years ago and will be 41 by 29 April, when he is due to meet Joshua.
He was ringside at the Manchester Arena to see Joshua, 27, defend the IBF title and extend his record to 18 knockouts from 18 professional bouts with a third-round stoppage of Molina.
The Ukrainian was also present at the ExCel Centre to witness Joshua winning Olympic gold in 2012, emulating Klitschko’s achievement at the Sydney Games in 1996.
Tickets for the fight are due to go on sale this month.