The WBA has officially sanctioned a blockbuster battle between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko for the spring of 2017 for their “super” title – but only if Joshua successfully defends his IBF Heavyweight title against Eric Molina at the Manchester Arena on December 10.
This comes after Klitschko’s rematch with Tyson Fury has been scuttled on several occasions. Fury previously bested Klitschko via decision in what had been a rather lackluster performance from the longtime heavyweight kingpin, and he’s been on the shelf since.
Also interesting is that Klitschko and Joshua were former training camp partners. As a prospect, Joshua was brought into Klitschko’s training camp to help him prepare for some of his upcoming clashes. That follows a long tradition, particularly among heavyweight greats and champions of the past, of former sparring partners fighting against the men who employed them in that fashion.
Joshua defends his crown for the second time in his third straight clash with American opposition having ripped the strap from Charles Martin with a second round KO win in February at The O2 and defending the belt against Dominic Breazeale with a seventh round stoppage at his London fortress in June, extending his impressive run of KO wins to 17 in the paid ranks.
The 27 year old Olympic hero now faces his toughest test to date knowing that his clash with Klitschko is on the line along with his precious IBF belt.
Klitschko ruled the Heavyweight division for 15 years after landing the WBO crown on October 14 2000 and over that stretch adding the IBF, WBA, IBO and Ring magazine titles over a stunning career, before defeat to Tyson Fury in November. The 1996 Olympic gold medal hero fights in the UK for the second time in his glittering career having beaten Monte Barrett in London in July 2000 in his last fight before he became World king and his incredible domination of the Heavyweight scene began.
“It’s been an arduous wait to gain official approval but we were delighted to receive the news that the WBA will official sanction the fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA super title,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
“We will now move forward with Bernd Boente and Team Klitschko in planning the date and venue knowing that victory against Eric Molina in Manchester on December 10 is more important than ever.”