Just over a month ago, heavyweight legend Wladimir Klitschko stepped in the ring with emerging superstar Anthony Joshua. After a ferocious, scintillating 10 rounds that saw both men hit the floor, Joshua came out in the 11th and dropped Klitschko twice to pick up the biggest victory of his career in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium.
It was widely expected that the two men would throw down again, and today, it appears that has been confirmed. Promoter Eddie Hearn led the speculation when speaking to Sky Sports, and then the IBF all but sealed the deal.
"I feel like it's Wladimir Klitschko,” said Hearn. “People keep saying is there a deadline? The situation is the fight is happening unless we are told otherwise by Bernd Boente and Wladimir Klitschko, who have a meeting this week.
"Over the next two weeks we are going to look at all those opportunities and sift out the ones that are real and the ones that make sense, and look at where the fight will be. But in our minds moving forward, it's Wladimir Klitschko next."
According to a separate Sky Sports article, Joshua was granted an exemption by the IBF to fight Klitschko for their title, provided the bout takes place before December 2nd. Mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev was supposed to get the shot, but has agreed to step aside provided he is guaranteed a shot at the winner of the rematch. Even if there are issues and a third fight might be possible, the IBF says there won’t be any more exceptions past that December deadline.
They are still trying to nail down a location for the rematch, with Nigeria, Dubai, Cardiff, and the USA all being possible hosts.