ANTHONY JOSHUA has been given the green light from the IBF to fight Wladimir Klitschko in an immediate rematch of their instant classic at Wembley in April.
Joshua stopped Klitschko in 11 rounds to add the WBA belt to his IBF crown, but faced the prospect of having to defend against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.
His promoter, Eddie Hearn, applied for an exemption in order to pave the way for a Klitschko return and yesterday the IBF granted the request, stipulating that the fight must happen before December 2. The winner must also face Pulev in their next fight.
The news comes after Hearn confirmed to Boxing News that – in his view – the Joshua-Klitschko rematch is happening. The first fight broke pay-per-view records in the UK and drew a crowd of 90,000, with millions more watching around the world.
“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,” he said.
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) June 6, 2017
“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.”
There are four sites in play – Cardiff, Nigeria, Dubai and America – and Team Joshua are weighing up the options while Klitschko, who could still choose to retire, meets with his manager Bernd Boente this week.
“Cardiff isn’t the frontrunner financially. The money we’re getting offered from other sites is huge, but that comes with problems,” Hearn explained.
“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.”