Anthony Joshua has to wait for title defence against Wladimir Klitschko
Anthony Joshua’s proposed world heavyweight title fight with Wladimir Klitschko on 10 December will not go ahead.
The promoter Eddie Hearn said on Monday that with the Ukrainian sustaining an injury and no decision over whether the WBA title would be on the line the fight could not happen on the date suggested. Hearn hopes the fight could take place in the spring.
Hearn told Sky Sports: “We’ve been in deep negotiations for a few weeks now, waiting on the decision from the WBA.
“I was made aware that Wladimir picked up a minor injury late last week but regardless of that, with just over six weeks to go it’s unrealistic to put together a fight of this magnitude and give it the full build-up it deserves.
“There will be an official announcement on Joshua v Klitschko coming very soon, but for now we are seeking a new foe for 10 December and building a huge card for Manchester.”
Hearn said just over a week ago that “terms are virtually there” for the fight, only for the wait for WBA sanctioning to delay the deal.
Klitschko lost the WBA belt to Tyson Fury last November, along with the IBF title. The latter sanctioning body insisted on a rematch, leading Fury to vacate that belt that was won by Joshua against Charles Martin in April. He then defended it against Dominic Breazeale.
Fury relinquished his remaining WBA, WBO and IBO titles this month and stepped away from the sport to deal with mental health issues. He also admitted regularly using cocaine and was stripped of his licence by the British Boxing Board of Control.
Klitschko appeared unwilling to fight Joshua without the WBA belt being on the line and is reportedly poised to fight Australia’s Lucas Browne for that title.
Joshua’s opponent in December could now be the IBF mandatory challenger, Joseph Parker, Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev or the fellow British Olympian David Price. Parker has indicated he is more likely to fight Andy Ruiz Jr for the WBO title in his native New Zealand.