Freelance: Anthony Joshua-Waldimir Klitschko Rematch in the Works
Per BoxingNews24.com, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) has agreed to allow its heavyweight (200+-pound) champion to pursue a rematch against his previous opponent, Valdimir Klitschko for a second time, so long as the rematch takes place before December 2 and the very next challenger is the man scheduled to face him after the first bout, Kubrat Pulev.
The original bout with Joshua was a very successful pay-per-view draw, but Klitschko is now on a two-fight skid after the loss to Joshua and a defeat in a bout with Tyson Fury prior to that in 2015 that ended a decade-long reign as champion. He then sat out for a full year, expecting to face Fury again, but that never occurred. The Russian lasted more than 10 rounds with the English champion before suffering a technical knockout at the 2:25 mark of Round 11.
The 41-year old had a rematch clause in his agreement for the bout with Joshua but has not formally said that he will pursue a rematch, the governing body of the IBF just won’t stand in the way of a second contest taking place.
The titleholder said immediately at the post-fight press conference on April 29 that he was up for another chance to test himself. While the first bout to place at London’s Wembley Stadium, some are expected the rematch to go down at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. The initial contest brought out 90,000 fans.
Eddie Hearn, the promoter for Joshua said, “It was one of the best heavyweight fights I’ve seen and Klitschko will probably say he wants a rematch. Whether he feels the same on reflection, I don’t know. We’re not opening negotiations with any other fighter until he knows what he wants to do. If people don’t want to see a rematch, it won’t happen. If people want to see a rematch, it’s likely to happen. It’s more likely to be at [the Principality Stadium] if it’s in the UK, or it might take us to a new territory. "Anthony wouldn’t mind going to Germany for it, but he won’t be ready before October…”
Still, not even the venue is finalized at this point. Hearn continued on by admitting that Cardiff wasn’t the best money-making option of the many locations that have been offered) including in the U.S.) but essentially said that it makes the most sense to put a champion from the UK in front of a UK crowd. It should also be noted, especially since Klitschko has not officially said that he will pursue a second go ‘round, that Joshua’s upcoming bout with Pulev is a mandatory for him to keep the heavyweight strap.
The 36-year-old Bulgarian in Pulev entered into the title picture after a split decision victory over Dereck Chisora in May of 2016. He then won by retirement and unanimous decision against Samuel Peter and Kevin Johnson in December of 2016 and April of this year respectively. He is currently 25-1-0 with 13 KO wins and the one KO loss. Klitschko is 64-5 with 53 wins by KO but has been finished four times and is 4-2 in his most recent six bouts. Joshua is a flawless 19-0 with 19 finishes.
The situation is continuing to develop.