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07th Jun 2017

IBF grant exception for rematch between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko

There's a deadline in place

Darragh Murphy

The IBF have granted Anthony Joshua’s request for an exemption from a mandatory defence of his title, which clears the way for a lucrative rematch with Wladimir Klitscho.

Joshua claimed the biggest victory of his career to date when he stopped the Ukrainian veteran in the 11th round of their Wembley showdown in April, which opened up the possibility for several high-profile fights.

Unification bouts against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and WBO champ Joseph Parker presented themselves while the prospect of a rematch with Klitschko remained the one that most fight fans were crying out for given the thrilling nature of their initial meeting.

The one stumbling block which stood in the way of those above tilts coming to fruition was the possibility that Joshua would be forced to commit to the mandatory defence of his IBF title, with challenger Kubrat Pulev holding firm on his desire to attempt to become the first blot on Joshua’s record.

Joshua’s team reached out to the IBF, in the hope that they would allow for a special exemption to postpone the mandatory defence so that he could take on Klitschko for the second time.

And the good news for ‘AJ’ is that they’ve granted his wish.

Joshua is now free to run it back against the 41-year-old but there’s a catch… The bout must take place before December 2.

Sky Sports report that the IBF have stipulated that Joshua can delay his defence but that the winner of Joshua vs. Klitschko II must then grant a title shot to Pulev.

The deadline won’t come as overly concerning to Joshua’s camp as promoter Eddie Hearn had already suggested that he wanted to get the rematch booked for November, at the latest.

“I believe Klitschko will go ahead with the rematch so we are looking at dates,” Hearn said last month, with quotes appearing in the Independent.

“The Principality Stadium is not really available in November because of rugby so 28 October is the option. Most of December is available but I don’t really want to go that late.

“Josh has a bit of a sore shoulder, Klitschko has had a tough fight, his face was bashed up. You have got two more weeks in May, all of June and after that they will be thinking ‘right let’s get back in camp’.

“Even if you started back in camp in August, then you have September and October so end of October can work.”