Eddie Hearn: Anthony Joshua will fight in Manchester in December come what may
Promoter Eddie Hearn is determined Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF heavyweight title in Manchester on December 10 - whether that is against Wladimir Klitschko or another fighter.
Joshua and Klitschko had agreed terms on a world heavyweight title unification bout, but the contest has been thrown into doubt over issues with the sanctioning bodies.
Klitschko is reportedly reluctant to fight without at least one of the WBA or WBO titles on the line - and both organisations are yet to confirm this will be the case.
With suggestions Klitschko has now lined up an alternative fight in Germany, promoter Hearn confirmed he is looking at other options for Joshua should the multi-million pound fight against the Ukrainian fail to materialise.
"With the hold up from the WBA, we need a little more time, so regardless of if it's Klitschko or not, AJ will return on December 10 in Manchester," Hearn said in an interview with Sky Sports.
"We are beginning discussions with other opponents now while crossing our fingers that Klitschko takes the fight, regardless of how many belts are on the line.
"In an ideal world, there would be as many belts as possible on the line, but I hope he takes up the challenge rather than a soft touch in Germany."
Klitschko has been without a title since losing them to Tyson Fury last year and has a number of options with the WBA and WBO belts now vacant.
One possibility is that the Ukrainian will agree instead to fight highly-ranked American Joseph Parker for the WBO belt in Germany - which is arguably an easier option than facing Joshua in front of his home fans.
Should Joshua be forced to put a Klitschko fight on hold, he could instead face Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev or even fast-track a huge domestic British showdown with David Haye.