Wladimir Klitschko’s potential rematch against Anthony Joshua now has one less roadblock to deal with before it is official.
According to Sky Sports, Joshua, who is the unified world heavyweight champion (WBA/IBF), has been granted an exemption by the IBF to fight Klitschko instead of having to immediately fight mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.
BREAKING: Anthony Joshua has been granted an exception by the IBF to fight Wladimir Klitschko but the bout must happen before December 2— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) June 6, 2017
BREAKING: Anthony Joshua has been granted an exception by the IBF to fight Wladimir Klitschko but the bout must happen before December 2
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) June 6, 2017
Pulev, the current WBA Intercontinental heavyweight titleholder, won his last five fights before since losing against Klitschko the last time Pulev challenged for the IBF title since 2014. Pulev's most recent win came in April against former world title challenger Kevin Johnson.
A rematch between Joshua and Klitschko has been in the works in some capacity since the first fight back in April, when Joshua stopped Klitschko in the 11th round. The contract did have an option for a rematch and both sides were interested in having a rematch after selling out Wembley Stadium and setting a British boxing attendance record with approximately 90,000 people attending the historic bout.
The main reason why a rematch would have trouble being made is because Joshua is obligated by both the WBA and IBF to fight their governing body's respective mandatory challenger. The IBF had Pulev be the mandatory challenger and the WBA has Luis Ortiz tabbed as the mandatory challenger to that bout.
Another potential fight for Joshua would have been against former unified heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who has publicly expressed interest in fighting Joshua, but he still is suspended for failing drug tests.
There is still no timetable for when the rematch between Joshua and Klitschko will take place.
View the discussion thread.