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04th Jul 2017

REVEALED: Details of Anthony Joshua’s back-up plan if Wladimir Klitschko won’t fight

He's taking his time

Darragh Murphy

Anthony Joshua is back in training but he’s not certain who he’s training for just yet.

All signs point towards a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko but that has been the case for two months and a deal has yet to be done to run back their April showdown.

Klitschko seems to be dragging his heels in not committing to go again with ‘AJ’, who stopped the Ukrainian in dramatic circumstances in Wembley Stadium earlier this year.

The rematch is the most lucrative option on the table for both men, which is precisely why Joshua’s camp filed a request to the International Boxing Federation in the hope that Joshua would be able to delay the mandatory defence of his IBF title.

The IBF permitted the postponement of that fight, against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, as long as Joshua vs. Klitschko took place prior to December 2.

Wheels were quickly set in motion to get ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ to agree to a second meeting with the London 2012 gold medallist, with promoter Eddie Hearn targeting October/November as a potential date.

Well it’s July now and a bout agreement has yet to be signed.

Klitschko reportedly didn’t want the rematch to take place in Cardiff, which was the original plan, so Joshua and his team acquiesced to a clash in Las Vegas in the hope that the 41-year-old would be appeased.

Joshua can’t afford to wait much longer for confirmation of his next opponent but a back-up plan is in place if Klitschko does indeed reject the opportunity to avenge his most recent defeat.

“Vegas is the front runner,” Hearn told the Daily Mirror. “The next two weeks will settle it.

“I believe Klitschko will do it if it’s abroad, but I don’t think he wants to box in Cardiff. I think he feels like he’s done that.

“He enjoyed it last time and he wants it to be a big event. I don’t think a bit more money makes any difference to him.

“It could be Vegas, it could be Nigeria, but the logistics are much more straight forward with Vegas.

“If we don’t fight him, it will be Pulev on October 28 in Cardiff.”