IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (17-0, 17 KOs) will ABSOLUTELY be fighting on December 10 with or without Wladimir Klitschko at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Joshua is waiting for the World Boxing Association committee to make their decision whether to sanction his fight against Klitschko on December 10. It’s a fight that Joshua wants more than anything, because it’ll give him a payday of more than $15 million.
Klitschko wants the fight as well. He just wants to make sure he can fight for two titles rather than just the IBF belt that Joshua has in his possession. However, the WBA may have other things in mind, as they might vote to have their vacant WBA heavyweight title fought over by two contenders in their top 15 rankings. Joshua isn’t a contender. He’s a champion and he holds the IBF title. You can argue that it’s not in the WBA’s best interest if Joshua wins the belt, because then he would be splitting time fighting the IBF’s contenders rather than the WBA’s own.
Hearn said to skysports.com about Joshua’s options for his December 10 fight:
“We are beginning discussions with other opponents now while crossing our fingers that Klitschko takes the fight, regardless of how many belts are on the line. In an ideal world, there would be as many belts as possible on the line, but I hope he [Klitschko] takes up the challenge rather than a soft touch in Germany.”
Of course, Hearn wants Joshua to get the fight against Wladimir, because he sees weakness in the 40-year-old Wladimir. He’s an aging fighter, and not the fighter he was 15 years ago or even two years ago. A prime Klitschko would be a serious headache for Joshua, and it’s possible that Hearn wouldn’t want to match his fighter against a real threat.
Joshua is too much of a money maker to risk him against a prime fighter with a lot of talent, power and boxing skills. That’s why you can argue that Hearn hasn’t put Joshua in with unbeaten Luis Ortiz (25-0, 22 KOs). It’s easier for Hearn to scout out weaker opponents for Joshua like Wladimir, Dominic Breazeale and Charles Martin.
“With the hold up from the WBA, we need a little more time, so regardless of if it’s Klitschko or not, AJ will return on December 10 in Manchester,” said Hearn.
Hearn and Joshua will get the fight against Wladimir at some point in the future even if it doesn’t happen on December 10. As long as Klitschko doesn’t get beaten in his next fight, he’ll likely fight Joshua in 2017 in a unification match.