By Keith Idec
Now we know the when and the where.
All that’s left for the Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight championship rematch to become reality is for Klitschko to sign off on it. Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, told Sky Sports News HQ on Tuesday that November 11 is the target date for Joshua and Klitschko to fight again.
Hearn revealed last month that T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is the leading candidate to be the site for their highly anticipated rematch. Their first fight, a back-and-forth slugfest Joshua won by 11th-round technical knockout April 29, drew a record crowd of roughly 90,000 to Wembley Stadium in London.
Ukraine’s Klitschko doesn’t want to return there, however, or take their rematch to Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, which Hearn offered as an alternative to Wembley Stadium. England’s Joshua, who’s contractually obligated to an immediate rematch, has repeatedly stated his desire to fight in the United States, thus Hearn began exploring Las Vegas as a potential site.
“I’ve been in Vegas with AJ, officially applying for my Nevada boxing license to promote there and that went well,” Hearn told Sky Sports News HQ. “I met with the MGM and met with the T-Mobile Arena. Vegas is the front-runner and November 11 is the date that is penciled in.
“It will probably take a couple of weeks to get everything over the line, but I believe Klitschko will take this fight and believe Vegas will be the one. AJ has been over there for about 10 days and has enjoyed himself, and got to know the area a little bit. The amount of British fight fans that would travel there, it will be a momentous occasion and one that we will savor for a long time. So fingers crossed it’s a party in Las Vegas on November 11.”
The 27-year-old Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), the IBF/IBO/WBA heavyweight champion, has boxed outside of England just twice since he turned pro in October 2013 (once in Cardiff and once in Glasgow, Scotland). The 41-year-old Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) hasn’t fought in Las Vegas since he defeated DaVarryl Williamson by technical decision in October 2004 at Caesars Palace.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.