Jared Anderson will fight former heavyweight titleholder Charles Martin on July 1 in Toledo, Ohio, after Kazakhstan’s Zhan Kossobutskiy was forced to withdraw with a visa issue, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.
Anderson (14-0, 14 KOs), a 23-year-old rising star in the heavyweight division, has finished his past six opponents inside three rounds, including a second-round stoppage of heavyweight trial horse Jerry Forrest in December.
Now Anderson will step up to the toughest opponent of his career, albeit on short notice, in his first ESPN main event. The bout will be a homecoming for Anderson, who hails from Toledo.
Martin (29-3-1, 26 KOs) won the vacant IBF heavyweight title in January 2016 when his opponent, Vyacheslav Glazkov, blew out his right knee. Martin was knocked out by Anthony Joshua in his first defense and hasn’t challenged for a title since.
A 37-year-old southpaw, Martin impressed in a defeat to Luis Ortiz last year, flooring the Cuban twice before Martin was stopped in Round 6. Martin rebounded with a fourth-round knockout of Devin Vargas in August.