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Klitschko and Joshua nearing a deal

Photo courtesy of Matchroom Boxing.
Fighters Network

Heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua and former champion Wladimir Klitschko are closing in on a deal to meet on Dec. 10 but not on U.S. pay-per-view, as was rumored, Klitschko manager Bernd Bonte told on Tuesday.

Bonte described the negotiations with Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn as “very good and smooth” but in a bit of standstill as the parties wait for the sanctioning bodies to decide what to do with Tyson Fury’s WBA and WBO titles. Klitschko’s rematch with Fury for Oct. 29 was canceled when Fury was ruled “medically unfit” to fight by his promoter because of mental health issues. The British Boxing Board of Control is also set to rule on Wednesday whether it plans to revoke Fury’s license.

“At the moment we are waiting on a decision of the governing bodies WBA,WBO and IBO regarding Fury`s status,” Bonte wrote in an email to “When there is an AJ vs WK title fight then it will probably happen December 10. Both sides are in very good and smooth negotiations and we also believe that we can find an agreement with our US TV partners. We hope all can be worked out.”

Showtime signed Joshua in May to a multi-fight deal and Klitschko is still under contract at HBO. “This is the best heavyweight fight in years between two Olympic Gold medal winners,” Bonte wrote in a follow-up email. “PPV only in UK.” The bout has been discussed for Manchester Arena in Manchester, England and could be for more than just Joshua’s IBF title if the WBA and WBO allow it.

David Haye, a former two-division champion who is friendly with Joshua, claimed a deal has already been reached, writing on Twitter, “Great to hear Joshua-Klitschko is done. Timing is everything & the time now is perfect for AJ. Reminds me of Ali vs. Berbick #FatherTime”.

Bonte declined to provide any more details on the talks with Joshua but he did open up on his frustrations with Fury, who dragged along the idea of a rematch with Klitschko until late last month. Fury has acknowledged he has mental health issues and to abusing cocaine and alcohol in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. Fury reportedly failed two VADA-administered drug tests for cocaine last month in preparation for the rematch, opening the door for Klitschko to challenge Joshua.

“Fury wasted our time and especially Wladimir`s,” he said. “Wladimir trained, our K2/KMG team, lawyers etc. worked, TV stations produced spots, arenas were booked. Journalists worked on stories and the other side probably knew the whole time he can`t fight. And then all these stupid excuses. Manic Depression is one thing but being in the public with horrible anti-Semetic and homophobic comments is a complete no-go and therefore I don´t feel any sympathy for this person.”

Bonte was noncommittal if he would ever agree to fight Fury again. “Should he come back every promoter and opponent will for sure have VADA testing in place,” he said. “Then you will see another Fury. Nobody can ever be sure if he really fights and not suddenly cancels — imagine all the insurance problems.”


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