Eddie Hearn holds talks with other opponents for Anthony Joshua after Wladimir Klitschko hold-up
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 19/10/16 3:04pm
Anthony Joshua will definitely defend his IBF heavyweight title in December, with or without Wladimir Klitschko, says promoter Eddie Hearn.
IBF champion Joshua has agreed to face Klitschko at the Manchester Arena on December 10, but the Ukrainian is yet to commit to the fight as he wants to see if a version of the WBA title will be at stake.
With reports circulating that Klitschko has lined up an alternative fight in Germany, Hearn has been forced to draw up a list of replacement opponents, but remains hopeful the 40-year-old will battle Joshua instead of a "soft touch".
Hearn exclusively told Sky Sports: "With the hold up from the WBA, we need a little more time, so regardless of if it's Klitschko or not, AJ will return on December 10 in Manchester.
In an ideal world there would be as many belts as possible on the line, but I hope he takes up the challenge rather than a soft touch in Germany.
"We are beginning discussions with other opponents now while crossing our fingers that Klitschko takes the fight, regardless of how many belts are on the line.
"In an ideal world, there would be as many belts as possible on the line, but I hope he takes up the challenge rather than a soft touch in Germany."
The WBA is expected to make a ruling this week on the WBA 'super' title, which was vacated by Tyson Fury last week, while Australian Lucas Browne was granted another fight for the WBA 'regular' belt earlier this year.
Joseph Parker is the mandatory challenger for Joshua's IBF belt but has opted to target the WBO title and reports suggest he will fight Andy Ruiz Jr as part of a four-man tournament, which based on current rankings could potentially include Britain's David Haye and Hughie Fury.