By Keith Idec
Wladimir Klitschko has informed promoter Eddie Hearn that he won’t return to the United Kingdom for a rematch with Anthony Joshua.
If they’re to fight again for the unbeaten British champion’s IBF, IBO and WBA heavyweight titles, Klitschko wants it to take place outside the Joshua-friendly confines of the his homeland. England’s Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) stopped Ukraine’s Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) in the 11th round of their epic encounter April 29 at a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London, where roughly 90,000 fans assembled to watch Joshua’s impressive victory.
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, told London’s Daily Mirror for a story posted Monday night that Klitschko doesn’t want to fight Joshua at Wembley Stadium for a second time or at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Hearn reserved Principality Stadium for October 28 and will maintain that hold on the Cardiff venue for Joshua’s mandatory IBF title defense against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) in the event the Klitschko rematch doesn’t materialize.
Hearn also reiterated that the Joshua-Klitschko rematch could be brought to Las Vegas, a possibility Hearn mentioned during an interview with Sky Sports last week. Joshua has fought exclusively in the United Kingdom since he turned pro in October 2013 (17 times in England; once apiece in Scotland and Wales).
“Vegas is the frontrunner,” Hearn, managing director for Matchroom Sport, told the Daily Mirror. “The next two weeks will settle it. I believe Klitschko will do it if it’s abroad, but I don’t think he wants to box in Cardiff. I think he feels he’s done that.
“He enjoyed it last time and he wants it to be a big event. I don’t think a bit more money makes any difference to him. It could be Vegas, it could be Nigeria. But the logistics are much more straightforward with Vegas. If we don’t fight him, it will be Pulev on October 28 in Cardiff.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.