Former heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko is hoping to finally face Anthony Joshua in the ring next year after suffering a minor injury ruling him out for the rest of 2016.
The World Boxing Association were in the midst of potentially sanctioning Klitschko to fight Joshua, alongside the IBF and IBO, when the Ukrainian decided to allow his ailment to heal prior to a comeback.
Klitschko has been out of action for almost a year due to ongoing problems with Tyson Fury but is adamant he’s fit and healthy for at least a couple of more fights and hopes to oppose undefeated Joshua in the first half of 2017.
“I want to box in March or April against IBF world champion Anthony Joshua. That’ll be the biggest heavyweight fight for years,” Klitschko told Bild newspaper in his native Germany.
On the possibility of retirement due to his age and time away from competitive boxing, Klitschko added: “I’ve never thought about stopping, not once, after the defeat and losing my belts.
“As long as I can perform in the ring, am fit and motivated, I’ll keep going. There will be a couple of big, spectacular fights with me in the ring.”
As ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ takes a short break before lining up Joshua, the small matter of the WBA sanctioning remains unresolved.
There’s no doubting Klitschko would want the WBA and IBO belts to be on the line for any ‘AJ’ clash, which would mean Gilberto Mendoza sanctioning a fight before its even signed.
Lucas Browne is hoping to fight for the vacant title in the meantime, whilst Fres Oquendo – like the Aussie, has a legal claim to be given a shot.
The WBA may now have to work out whether Browne, Oquendo, both or either will be able to contest a ‘regular’ or ‘full’ belt beforehand despite initially announcing their intention to crown one sole champion by the end of this year.