By Adrian Warren
Alex Leapai's clash with triple heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko could go ahead in Germany on April 26, provided the champion's camp agrees to the challenger's terms.
The negotiating period for the fight ended last Saturday Australian time, with no agreement reached.
Normally that would lead to a purse bid, with the highest bidder winning the right to stage the bout in the place of their choice.
However, with the offices of the WBO – the organization that has Leapai ranked as the No.1 mandatory challenger for their title – closed over the Christmas-New Year break, negotiations have continued beyond the specified deadline.
With the WBO reopening late on Monday Australian time, Leapai's manager and trainer Noel Thornberry expects one of their first acts to be a decision on whether to extend the negotiating period or authorize a purse bid later this month.
Some media have already reported the fight could be held somewhere in Germany next April.
"April 26 is what's been said to me, that's provided the Germans win the purse bid," Thornberry said.
The Klitschko camp apart, Thornberry said there was also interest from Russian promoter Vladimir Hryunov, acting on behalf of billionaire Andrey Ryabinsky.
He said he had also heard Sydney FC's Russian owner, David Traktovenko, could be another interested party.
He stressed the entire negotiating process was not totally clear. "There's a bit of smoke and mirrors going on," Thornberry said.
Thornberry insisted he hadn't been trying to haggle over Leapai's purse, though he has encountered some resistance to being given the Australian television rights for the fight.
"I haven't changed my stance, not even a bit since we started [negotiations]," Thornberry said. "I was open and I was honest. and I got the figure I wanted based on their [the Kilitschkos] purse bid for their previous fight. There's a precedent for it. I'm actually not being unfair."
While the temperature in his home town of Gatton in Queensland has soared into the mid 40s over the last few days, Thornberry has been keeping his cool where the negotiating process is concerned.
"I'm completely, relaxed, I'm calm. I know we're going to achieve this," Thornberry said.