Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko are likely to meet at Wembley Stadium on 29 April next year. Hopes of the two heavyweight kings colliding in 2016 were derailed when Klitschko suffered a minor calf injury in training in October.
Joshua will instead face Eric Molina with his IBF world heavyweight title on the line at the Manchester Arena on Saturday (10 December). Win No18 will pave the way for a huge title unification showdown with the Ukrainian next spring, with the vacant WBA title also to be thrown into the mix.
"Wembley is a front runner for Joshua-Klitschko, but it isn't secured," promoter Eddie Hearn said, BBC Sport report. "All being well, 29 April could be the date."
Klitschko was scheduled to meet Tyson Fury in a world title rematch last in October, but a string of problems, namely the reigning champion being declared "medically unfit to fight", saw the fight called off. Fury subsequently vacated his WBO and WBA titles while undergoing treatment for depression.
Hearn and Matchroom worked frantically to try and get Joshua vs Klitschko off the ground before the end of the year. Negotiations between the two camps were "smooth and constructive," Klitschko's manager Bernd Boente told ESPN, with that injury proving to be the only major stumbling block.
The delay however provides Hearn and his team to prepare a far more extensive build-up for a fight that could challenge the British record attendance for a boxing match set by the rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves at Wembley in May 2014.
Klitschko has fought in the UK just once; on the undercard of Lennox Lewis vs Francois Botha at the now-demolished New London Arena in 2000. Joshua meanwhile has made the capital his home, with nine of his 17 knockout victories to date coming in London, including the last five.
The 2012 Olympic gold medal winner must first get past Molina in Manchester on Saturday (10 December), a bout he is once again an overwhelming favourite for.