Joshua-Klitschko On Hold Until 2017
The World Boxing Association was expected to make a ruling today on sanctioning a bout between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua, but it appears that bout will not be going forward as planned. ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that Klitschko and Joshua are targeting a spring showdown rather than a fight in December.
According to Rafael, Klitschko has a nagging calf injury that would make it difficult to properly prepare with only five weeks before the planned Dec. 10 date. Joshua will instead fight a different opponent on that date.
"Bernd Boente, Wladimir Klitschko’s manager, told ESPN that with so little time to promote and market such a huge fight against Anthony Joshua both camps agreed to look to do the fight in the spring, as long as the WBA sanctions it for the vacant title. Boente said Klitschko has a mild muscle pull in a calf and that, combined with there being only five weeks until Dec. 10 and no decision yet from the WBA, Klitschko decided to wait until spring. So Joshua will still fight somebody else Dec. 10 and then face Klitschko in the spring if the WBA is on board."
The holdup was first announced when it was revealed that Klitschko wanted the vacant WBA belt to be on the line if he were to fight IBF champion Joshua in December.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has said that while Joshua is still fighting in December at the Manchester Arena, a matchup with Klitschko deserves a bigger buildup than they would be able to pull off in six weeks. Hearn is looking at March or April with Millenium Stadium a possible venue. The bout would most likely be broadcasted by Showtime in the United States.
"While waiting on the WBA and Klitschko’s injury, it was a non-starter," Hearn said, per boxingscene.com. "Let’s get this over the line for March or April."
Once again, a highly-anticipated 2016 boxing matchup has failed to materialize on time.