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11th May 2017

It sure sounds like Wladimir Klitschko is going to be next up for Anthony Joshua

Running it back?

Darragh Murphy

Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko was one of the greatest heavyweight fights in decades.

So it comes as no surprise to learn that there is a voracious appetite among fans to see the pair return to the ring in what would be a lucrative rematch for both parties.

Immediately after the Wembley showdown, in which Joshua displayed incredible heart to weather a sixth-round storm only to stop the veteran in the 11th round, Klitschko insisted that he had a rematch clause in his contract.

Joshua has no shortage of potential opponents ahead of him in the form of a pair of mandatory challengers, as well as WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and WBO champion Joseph Parker.

Reports on Wednesday suggested that ‘AJ’ was eager to go in a different direction entirely by pursuing another clash with former rival Dillian Whyte but the interest in that rematch is far exceeded by that which comes with the prospect of witnessing Joshua vs. Klitschko II.

And if we were betting men we’d put our money on that being the next outing for Joshua, whose promoter Eddie Hearn has hinted quite clearly that they are leaning in the direction of running it back.

“We have a mandatory challenger in Kubrat Pulev for the IBF. We have a situation with Wladimir Klitschko where we would like to make that fight again,” Hearn told Sky Sports on Thursday afternoon.

“Fans and broadcasters would like to do that fight again and Wladimir is currently on holiday for two weeks and he will make a decision on his return.

“If that’s a fight that Wladimir wants, I feel like that will be next for Anthony Joshua.”

Klitschko is currently on holiday with fiancee, actress Hayden Panettiere, and is believed to be considering his options, which essentially boil down to either another crack at Joshua or retirement.

But, having previously announced that he will be back, it thankfully appears like the former is looking more likely before Klitschko finally decides to hang up his gloves.

Not only that but, according to reports from the Ukrainian’s team, Klitschko is of the belief that he has learned from what went wrong in Wembley Stadium a fortnight ago and feels that he can beat Joshua if they were to meet again.

Klitschko’s manager Bernd Boente has discussed the two options on the table for Klitschko, who, ever the competitor, will surely not want to bow out of the sport that he dominated for so many years on the back of two consecutive defeats.

“He’s not that disappointed anymore, he knows that he made some mistakes but he also knows that he could beat Anthony,” Boente told Boxing News Online.

“He showed that. Two, three more punches in round six or even round seven and he would’ve been the winner.

“He knows that and he will discuss it with his coach and then I think the decision for him has to be; will I again go through three months of hard training to show up in the same condition as I did at Wembley, or will I not do it?

“That is up to him and we’ll leave it to him and he’ll let us know.”

So Joshua’s team claim that they will agree to a rematch next if it’s what Klitschko wants and Klitschko is of the opinion that he could beat Joshua, according to his team.

To us, that sounds like all signs are pointing towards a rematch as Klitschko has never been one to shy away from a challenge.

And what better way to retire than after what would almost certainly be the biggest payday of his career? In the fight game, most decisions are dictated by potential earnings and there is simply too much money on the cards for this rematch not to happen.

Klitschko’s decision is not expected until next month but if he does decide to dedicate himself to one last training camp, we are in for an absolute treat.