Wladimir Klitschko has suffered an injury that ultimately rules the Ukrainian out of a proposed fight on December 10.
The 40-year-old had been linked to fighting Anthony Joshua in the UK or another top-ranked opponent in Hamburg, dependent on sanctioning from the World Boxing Association.
That confirmation never came despite promises over the weekend, with the reason now clear following the devastating Klitschko announcement.
Klitschko’s ailment leaves promoter Eddie Hearn and IBF title holder Joshua high and dry with less than six weeks until his second defence of the title.
The International Boxing Federation had previously confirmed to WBN on Monday that they hadn’t received a request for Klitschko to face Joshua on the date in question.
“We have not heard anything from Eddie Hearn as to who Anthony Joshua will fight and there’s been no request to sanction Wladimir Klitschko,” IBF Chairman Lindsey Tucker exclusively told World Boxing News.
“We have heard rumors that Klitschko has another plan and will be fighting for the vacant WBA title,” he added.
Any vacant title bout, or indeed encounter with Joshua, is off until 2017 at the earliest, meaning Klitschko will have been out for well over twelve months upon his return.
A fight between Klitschko and Lucas Browne had been placed at the top of the prediction polls, even though the Aussies lawyer Leon Margules and promoter Ricky Hatton have both denied any recent talks.
It’s unclear where Browne goes from here as mandatory opponent Fres Oquendo is still not ready for action.
The spell out of action for Klitschko seems to explain a recent media blackout from all concerned regarding a Joshua fight – with more expected from Matchroom on Tuesday.