Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed that Anthony Joshua's camp have reached out to Wladimir Klitschko and would accept a world heavyweight title bout. The Ukrainian was due to meet Tyson Fury on 29 October in a rematch for all but one of the belts he lost in Dusseldorf last year, but that fight has now been called off for a second time after the current champion was officially declared "medically unfit to fight".
Fury also withdrew from the original date in July after spraining his ankle during training and now faces the prospect of being stripped of his belts or at least being downgraded to a 'champion in recess'. That could potentially open the door for Joshua to prematurely step in and skip a stage of his development by facing Klitschko in a huge unification clash this November, with the 2012 Olympic Gold medallist having won and since successfully defended the IBF belt that was taken from Fury in December 2015 due to his failure to meet mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov.
"The whole thing is a complete mess," Hearn told Sky Sports. "From our side, if Wladimir Klitschko against Anthony Joshua can be made for the WBA and the IBF belts, for November 26, we are taking that fight, no question. But, as always in boxing, it is a very complicated process.
"There is so much that needs to happen and I don't feel like they will strip Tyson Fury just yet and I hope they don't. We want the winner of that fight, Fury against Klitschko, and we want to fight Tyson Fury really.
"That is a unification fight between two Brits in the heavyweight division. That has never happened before and will never happen again. We hope he gets better soon."
Hearn rightly concedes that there will be many other contenders stating their respective claims in the event that Fury is stripped, with Klitschko at the front of the queue having twice missed out on the chance to avenge his first defeat since 2004. He states that the governing body's decision is likely to depend on a forthcoming detailed statement from Team Fury as to what is currently happening with Tyson and claims that Joshua could also face his own mandatory, Joseph Parker, in November instead.
The unbeaten New Zealander, who boasts a record of 17 knockouts from his 20 professional contests to date, won the right to challenge for the IBF gold by outpointing Carlos Takam in a final eliminator in May before securing an emphatic fourth-round knockout of Solomon Haumono. Parker returns to the ring next Saturday (1 October) against Germany's Alexander Dimitrenko in Auckland.