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Joshua vs Klitschko announcement on hold

Wladimir Klitschko wants the WBA belt on the line, and without it, the fight may not happen after all.

Wladimir Klitschko v Tyson Fury - IBF IBO WBA WBO Heavyweight World Championship Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images

There’s been a lot of talk about Anthony Joshua facing Wladimir Klitschko on December 10, but we all might want to pump our brakes. Eddie Hearn tells Sky Sports that while “the deal is there” for the fight, there is a hold-up, and one that could thwart the bout for the time being.

Klitschko, Hearn says, wants the now-vacant WBA heavyweight title on the line in the fight, in addition to Joshua’s IBF title. The WBA is one of two belts, along with the WBO, recently vacated by Tyson Fury. The promoter says that both fighters’ camps have petitioned the WBA to make Joshua-Klitschko a title fight for their organization, and that they “expect news in the next few days.”

More worryingly, Hearn admits that both sides “will look at alternative options” for December 10.

Klitschko (64-4, 53 KO) hasn’t fought since last November, when he was beaten on points by Fury in a miserably dull but ultimately quite memorable fight, ending a decade long run of dominance by the Ukrainian superstar. Joshua (17-0, 17 KO) is looking at taking a big risk against the veteran, stepping up in a major way from the likes of Dillian Whyte, Charles Martin, and Dominic Breazeale.

If this fight doesn’t happen, the “alternative options” won’t be nearly as attractive for boxing fans.

Klitschko could fight someone for the vacant WBA title, but there’s barely a single interesting fight to be had against anyone ranked in their overall laughable top 15. Luis Ortiz, the interim champion, is busy on November 12 in Monte Carlo, and after that there’s Klitschko at No. 2, followed by Alexander Ustinov, Fres Oquendo, Lucas Browne, David Haye, Manuel Charr, Shannon Briggs, Joseph Parker, and Jarrell Miller in the top 10.

As for Joshua, his top five ranked contenders with the IBF are Joseph Parker, Kubrat Pulev, David Haye, Johann Duhaupas, and Andy Ruiz. Fights with Parker and Pulev would be welcome, if unlikely to be put together at this late stage. Countrymen David Price and Dereck Chisora are also in the IBF’s top 15, for whatever that’s worth.

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