Charles Martin
Charles Martin is currently one month into his reign as IBF world heavyweight champion AFP

After weeks of speculation and second-guessing – largely inspired by hints from Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn – the identity of Anthony Joshua's next opponent was finally confirmed on 14 February. Following his entertaining seventh-round victory over fellow British heavyweight and old amateur rival Dillian White in December 2015, the powerful 26-year-old will now step up a level with the small matter of a world title fight against IBF champion Charles Martin at the O2 Arena on Saturday 9 April.

Despite the significance usually attached to holding a belt in boxing's most historically glamorous division, it is perhaps fair to say that Martin is far from a household name to casual fight fans in the UK and elsewhere.

Here, IBTimes UK provides the lowdown on the man who will hope to avoid becoming the 16th consecutive knockout of British, International and Commonwealth title-holder Joshua's hugely promising professional career...

What is his background?

Originally from St. Charles and St. Louis, Missouri, the 29-year-old American – nicknamed "Prince Charles" – is a 6'5" Southpaw out of Carson, California whose pro debut came with a first-round KO of Vashawn Tomlin back in October 2012. Trained at Big Bear, he remains undefeated from 24 senior fights. The only minor blot on his copybook to date was a draw with Alvaro Morales at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles three years ago.

Who has he fought?

Martin's list of previous opponents is highly unlikely to fill Joshua with any sense of dread. He won the NABO heavyweight crown with a fourth-round stoppage of Alexander Flores in April 2014, a title he successfully defended on five occasions during his recent rise to the top.

Raphael Zumbano Love
Raphael Zumbano Love was comprehensively beaten by Anthony Joshua less than three months after fighting Charles Martin Getty

One of those fights was a 10-rounder against Raphael Zumbano Love, the Brazilian who also faced Joshua in 2015 but lasted just a matter of minutes and failed to land any meaningful punches before being sent crashing to the canvas with a ferocious straight right hand that left him unable to beat the referee's count.

Rafael Pedro, Kertson Manswell, Damon McCreary and Tom Dallas are the other men to have been stopped by Martin since he won that title. He signed on with influential manager/promoter and Floyd Mayweather advisor Al Haymon last year, defeating Vicente Sandez in Alabama to continue his ascent up the heavyweight rankings.

How did he become world champion?

The IBF world heavyweight championship had previously resided with Wladimir Klitschko for almost a decade before his shock points defeat to Tyson Fury in November 2015. The controversial Brit, who also took the WBA and WBO straps on that memorable night at Espirit Arena in Dusseldorf, was subsequently stripped of the title just 10 days later after a rematch obligation meant he was unable to face mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov.

That left number-four ranked Martin as the next viable contender and his promoters Warriors Boxing won the IBF purse bid with an offerESPN reported to be worth approximately $1.24m (£856,974, €1.1m). The fight, which took precedence over a scheduled meeting with Dominic Breazeale, was scheduled for 16 January as the co-main event alongside Deontay Wilder's WBC title defence against Artur Szpilka in Brooklyn, New York.

Ukrainian Glazkov was on the backfoot early on and retired in round three due to a serious knee injury that occurred when he slipped to the floor and was then made significantly worse when he tried to throw a punch.

Charles Martin
Vyacheslav Glazkov suffered a dislocation of the knee in addition to ACL and MCL tears against Charles Martin Getty

What has he said about facing Joshua?

As quoted by Sky Sports, a confident Martin said: "I told my team I wanted the best challenger possible for my first defence and Anthony Joshua's name kept coming up. I'm coming to the UK to make a statement that I am the best heavyweight in the world and no one is taking my title.

"I'm world champion, so that doesn't mean just sit back and make easy defences in the US, it means facing the biggest challenges out there. I respect Anthony Joshua and everything he has accomplished, but on April 9 he's getting knocked out."