By Elliot Foster

Anthony Joshua has been granted an exception to fight Wladimir Klitschko in a rematch.

The fight would be for the Watford man’s three world heavyweight titles –– the IBF belt, the WBA Super crown and the IBO trinket –– and must take place before December 2.

Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) knocked out Klitschko inside 11 rounds in their first fight at Wembley Stadium on April 29, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Showtime and HBO in the States.

And former Ukrainian kingpin Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) will get the opportunity to exact revenge over his past foe after the IBF granted special dispensation and revealed that they would not stand in the way of a mega-money return.

Joshua would have been expected to defend that belt against their mandatory challenger, Kubrat Pulev, but now he can put that on the back-burner.

It is unclear at this stage whether Klitschko will formally take up the option of the rematch, though promoter Eddie Hearn is under the impression that the fight “is happening”.

Klitschko is meeting with his K2 management team –– and managing director Bernd Boente –– in the coming days.

And Hearn told Boxing News: “We’re looking at all the potential sites for the rematch. It’s not really a case of them having to let us know by a certain date. For us, it’s happening.

“Until he turns round and says: ‘No, I’m retiring,’ we’re full steam ahead.

“At the moment all I can tell you is that it’s happening because we haven’t heard otherwise.”

Further details will be revealed in due course.