ANTHONY JOSHUA looks set to fight Wladimir Klitschko in an immediate rematch later this year, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
Joshua unified the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles in April when he rose from the first knockdown of his professional career to stop Klitschko in the 11th round in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium.
“We’re looking at all the potential sites for the rematch. It’s not really a case of them having to let us know by a certain date. For us, it’s happening,” Hearn told Boxing News.
“Until [Klitschko] turns round and says ‘no, I’m retiring,’ we’re full steam ahead. At the moment all I can tell you is that it’s happening because we haven’t heard otherwise.
“Bernd [Boente, Klitschko’s manager] has got a meeting with him this week. The number of offers we’ve had come in from other sites means the money’s so big, I can’t see him not taking it. Even away from the money I think he wants it, I think he looks back and thinks he had Josh in the fifth or sixth. A lot of people gave him a lot of props for it, so why not?”
Joshua is due to fight his IBF mandatory challenger, Kubrat Pulev, but Hearn previously applied for an exemption in order to pave the way for a Klitschko rematch. All involved are currently waiting on the IBF’s decision, which Hearn expects this week.
“I’m confident. We have to fight Pulev, we know we’ve got to fight him. If we don’t fight him next, we’ll fight him afterwards,” he said.
Though there are several dates in the offing, Joshua is likely to return to action in October. The Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales has been earmaked due to its huge capacity and retractable roof. However, Hearn has received offers from all over the world to stage the fight and as things stand there are four main options.
“We’re looking at America, Nigeria, Dubai or Cardiff,” he revealed.
“Cardiff isn’t the frontrunner financially. The money we’re getting offered from other sites is huge, but that comes with problems. It’s a new market for us, go and do an event in Lagos sounds great but operationally it’s very difficult. You have to look at money, is it there? Is it secure?
“Financially there’s much better offers than Cardiff but we know the UK is solid, we’ve prepared here before, it’s the same time zone, so we don’t really want to rock the boat.”