Eddie Hearn says he expects Wladimir Klitschko to take the easier option on December 10 and fight Australian Lucas Browne for the vacant WBA heavyweight title.
Talks had been close to completion for a deal to fight Anthony Joshua for the IBF belt on the same night in Manchester, although Klitschko is awaiting confirmation from the WBA that they would sanction a UK unification.
Hearn has been looking at alternative options for what will be Joshua’s second defence of the world championship next month, but has his fingers crossed for positive news from the Klitschko camp.
“It’s a frustrating time as we had a deal agreed,” Hearn told Sky Sports’ Ed Robinson on Thursday afternoon.
“I worked hard on the contract for two or three weeks but then Wladimir insisted that the WBA belt be on the line, something he wasn’t too bothered about initially.
“There’s rumours he’s now going to fight Lucas Browne in Germany on December 10th, which will be a huge let down for broadcasters and fans but we are waiting on the WBA sanctioning decision.
“It’s the biggest fight in the heavyweight division right now so why wouldn’t you sanction it?
“Maybe they are being driven by who Wladimir Klitschko wants to fight? – So it’s kind of up to Wladimir who he wants to fight. Does he go Anthony Joshua or Lucas Browne?
“It’s so frustrating when you have a chance to make a huge fight like this and someone prefers an easy touch. Now is the time to make this fight and we are desperate to do it.
“It’s a complete mess (the situation regarding the WBA titles) but we are ready to go. We have broadcasters from Sky, Showtime and RTL doing a site visit at Manchester Arena but I have a funny feeling the Lucas Browne fight is the one they actually want.
“Maybe Klitschko listened to a few comments, including David Haye saying that this would be a brutal win for Joshua?
“Apparently the WBA are going to make a decision today but I’m not hopeful.
“The bottom line is, if Wladimir Klitschko wants to make this fight, this fight gets made,” he added.
On possible replacement opponents for Joshua, Hearn named Eric Molina, Bryant Jennings, David Price and Alexander Ustinov as contenders, although sounded out Kubrat Pulev as his preferred choice.