A Joshua versus Klitschko rematch has finally got the green light
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The IBF have given Joshua versus Klitschko the go ahead.
Being the IBF belt holder AJ was previously in a tough position, caught between the IBF’s mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev and the promised rematch with Klitschko signed into the original fight contract.
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The IBF have now granted an exemption on the Pulev fight so that the Klitschko rematch can take place before a showdown with the mandatory challenger.
As long as the bout takes place before the second of December Joshua can fight ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ again without losing his IBF title. The winner will then face Kubrat Pulev.
Pulev himself has 25 wins behind him and only one loss, to Wladimir Klitschko. While a fight with the Bulgarian veteran is not the most mouth-watering addition to the boxing calendar he is no pushover. No one will be predicting a Pulev win, whichever potential IBF champion he challenges, but he wouldn’t be a completely worthless scalp to have on a champion’s record.
One decision to be made now is where to hold Joshua Klitschko 2. Eddie Hearn spoke to Sky Sports this week:
“We've had so many offers - Nigeria, Dubai, America, and also we have the opportunity of Cardiff here in the UK," promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports this week… Financially, Cardiff's not the best choice, but also at the same time, if it's not broke don't fix it, and we have that mentality with 'AJ' moving forward."
As Hearn suggested, some of those offers will clearly be more lucrative than others, but whether money will guide the decision making process, or be trumped by Joshua’s preferences, remains to be seen.
Nigeria is an interesting, if arguably unlikely proposition. It would echo one of boxing’s most famous nights - when Muhammad Ali took on George Foreman in Zaire (the modern Democratic Republic of Congo) to dethrone the younger man as heavyweight champ. The fight was dubbed ‘the Rumble in the Jungle’ and has gone down in sporting history.
AJ has enjoyed fighting in-front of British crowds though and Cardiff may be attractive as a result. It would be a coup for the city, having also just hosted the Champions League final.
Is a Cardiff clash or a new ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ on the horizon? Fight fans will look forward to either given the close-fought first bout.