IT’S not signed yet. But the fight the world is waiting for, Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko is close. Very close.
“I would say the terms are agreed for Joshua-Klitschko but there are things that have got to fall into place to make sure that it gets signed. It’s not signed,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.
Joshua, the IBF heavyweight titlist, is expected to fight Klitschko, the former champion of the world, in December in Manchester. It is “very close” to being confirmed, Hearn continued.
Even though this is a huge fight for Britain and Europe, one of sticking points was actually the US broadcaster. Joshua has a deal with Showtime, Klitschko is with HBO. “We’ve had to sort out the US TV issue, which we’ve now sorted out and now we’re just making sure when we make an announcement we announce what belts are on the line rather than announcing two and adding a couple,” Hearn said. “It’ll be with one broadcaster [in America] and then if there’s a rematch the other one will do it.”
“We had a simple plan, probably IBF and WBA. Then he [Tyson Fury] vacated all the belts and you’ve got WBO, IBO. Other organisations have come on and said can we do Joshua-Klitschko as well. I just want to make sure when we do the announcement we know exactly what belts are on the line, they’ve been legally sanctioned and we can actually do a poster that exists,” the promoter continued. “I’m just making sure we’re meticulous in that and [when they say] contracts are signed, broadcast deals are done, belts on the line are X rather than just jumping on it.”
One place the fight won’t be, even though Joshua’s team looked into it, is the Millennium stadium in Wales. “The management team at Cardiff need to look at themselves in the mirror because they told me it wasn’t available and it was booked and then I found out last week that it was booked by David Haye and then I phoned them up and said, ‘Have they signed the contract?’ And they said, ‘No, no, it’s been a bit slow the last couple of weeks.’ You absolute idiots, you could have had Joshua-Klitschko here and now we’ve made other plans. We’ve signed a venue deal now for where it’s going to be and these guys are idiots at the Millennium stadium. They’ve said no it’s booked, it’s confirmed. It wasn’t confirmed, it’s just some geezer who thinks he can sell 80,000 tickets,” Hearn said. “We’re not going to the Millennium stadium.”