Joshua and Klitschko to battle for WBA title in 2017

After weeks of uncertainty, the World Boxing Association confirmed the first bout of 2017 will be a title fight between Joshua Anthony and Wladimir Klitschko.

Photo by: TRT World (Source: AP)
Photo by: TRT World (Source: AP)

Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua go head to head in 2017

The highly anticipated £30 million showdown between Great Britian’s International Boxing Federation's (IBF) heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and Ukranian former world champion Wladimir Klitschko, will take place in the spring of next year, making it the richest fight in British boxing history.

Joshua must defend his IBF title against American Eric Molina in Manchester on Dec.10 before he goes punch for punch with Klitschko.

British boxer Anthony Joshua holds up his belt after defeating US boxer Dominic Breazeale in their IBF heavyweight title bout at the O2 Arena in London, Sunday, June 26, 2016 (AP)

Joshua said on Tuesday he would put his IBF belt on the line against the 34-year-old Molina, his second defence of the title since stopping American Dominic Breazeale in the seventh round earlier this year to take his professional record to 17-0.

"It's been an arduous wait to gain official approval but we were delighted to receive the news that the WBA will officially sanction the fight," Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn said in a statement.

Klitschko, who has not fought since he lost his IBF, WBO and WBA belts to unified champion Tyson Fury last November, but their scheduled rematch was first called off when the Briton picked up an injury in training before it was jettisoned due to the champion's mental health issues.

Fury, who has admitted to taking cocaine to deal with depression, has since vacated the WBA and WBO titles, and Joshua was linked to a Klitschko bout that fell through partly due to confusion over whether the WBA title would be on the line.

Ukraine's Wladimir Klitschko, left, and Britain's Tyson Fury, right, exchange blows as Fury wins the world heavyweight title fight for Klitschko's WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts in the Esprit Arena in Duesseldorf, western Germany, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015

For the meantime, Joshua needs to settle his fight against Molina before the anticipated fight and Klitschko must look into ways to not bow down to Joshua as this would mean retirement for the fighter.

AP, Reuters