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Joshua, Klitschko bout would be for WBA belt

Wladimir Klitschko won Olympic gold in 1996, 16 years before Joshua did the same. PHOTO/BBC.
Wladimir Klitschko won Olympic gold in 1996, 16 years before Joshua did the same. PHOTO/BBC.

LONDON, United Kingdom, Nov 2 – Britain’s Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko have been cleared to contest the vacant WBA heavyweight title.

WBA president Gilberto Mendoza told BBC Sport the fight would be for the belt vacated by Tyson Fury in October.

A deal for a December fight between Joshua and former champion Klitschko fell through, with promoter Eddie Hearn blaming confusion over whether the WBA title would be on the line.

Joshua, 27, will fight American Eric Molina on 10 December in Manchester.

The IBF champion must beat Molina if he is to face 40-year-old Ukrainian Klitschko, who said in October he wants to fight Joshua in “March or April”.

The planned December bout fell through because the fighters “ran out of time” to agree a deal, said Klitschko’s manager Bernd Boente.

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Fury vacated the WBA and WBO titles he won by beating Klitschko in November 2015 to deal with his “medical treatment and recovery”.

The 28-year-old has admitted taking cocaine to deal with depression.

Fury was stripped of the IBF title in December 2015 for choosing to face Klitschko in a rematch over the IBF’s mandatory challenger.

Former Olympic super-heavyweight champion Joshua won the IBF belt by beating Charles Martin in April.

Attempts to stage a rematch between Fury and Klitschko twice collapsed because Fury suffered an ankle injury and was then declared “medically unfit”.

The WBA has also asked Australia’s Lucas Browne to fight 44-year-old American Shannon Briggs for its lesser heavyweight title.

New Zealand’s Joseph Parker will fight Mexico’s Andy Ruiz for the vacant WBO belt.