Why Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko's title fight was called off

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Anthony Joshua has this week seen his potential world title unification bout with Wladimir Klitschko fall through, mainly due to an injury suffered by the Ukrainian, but potentially also because of the messy hold up in negotiations caused by the vacant WBA title, according to Sky Sports

Joshua, the IBF champion, seemed all set to face Klitschko after his rematch with Tyson Fury for the WBA title was called off due to the Brit's ongoing personal struggle with drugs amongst other things.

However, negotiations soon stalled as it emerged that Fury had vacated his belts and the WBA began deliberating whether or not to put their 'Super' strap on the line in Joshua and Klitschko's tussle. 

The December 10 date will still be a fight date for Joshua, against a yet to be named opponent, but Klitschko's injury means the future of the WBA belt has been completely thrown up in the air. 

The chaos and changing of hands of the belts all started with Fury's win over then unified champion of the world Klitschko, in November last year.  

The only belt that Klitschko didn't hold was the WBC strap which still belongs to Deontay Wilder.

Fury's upset victory triggered a flurry of changes in the division as he was stripped of the IBF title just two weeks after winning it because he was contractually bound to a rematch with Klitschko and chose to go down that route before defending his belts against mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glashkov. 

Glashkov soon took on Charles Martin for the vacant IBF title, and lost. Martin then faced Joshua, who dismantled the American with consummate ease. 

Since then, Joshua has defended his title against Dominic Breazeale and the rematch between Fury and Klitschko has failed to materialise due to injuries to both. Fury's personal meltdown in recent weeks has left two belts vacant, the WBO and WBA 'Super' titles and now both boards must find worthy contenders for a vacant title fight. 

In essence, Fury has lost three titles in a year without stepping foot in a boxing ring. 


The confusion continues as the WBA has multiple titles, their 'Super' and 'Regular' belts. The board recognises the difficulty with this system and has begun a crackdown throughout the divisions, forcing their two recognised champions to fight each other or be stripped. 

This is resulting in bouts such as Gennady Golovkin, the WBA 'Super' champion at middleweight, taking on the 'Regular' champion Daniel Jacobs. 

In the heavyweight division, Lucas Browne won the 'Regular' belt in March after beating Ruslan Chagaev, but was stripped due to a failed drugs test and was set to face former challenger Fres Oquendo before the Fury scandal began.

Klitschko wanted AJ

Fury's choice to vacate has impacted on the organisation's future plans and WBA president Gilberto Mendoza has had to oversee a fresh ruling on which fighters would challenge for which belts.

Klitschko was keen for the WBA to sanction his fight with Joshua but his injury and ongoing legal claims involving the WBA  meant their ruling was delayed and now a fight between the two will not happen in 2016. 

As far as the WBO goes, former IBF mandatory challenger Joseph Parker will fight Andy Ruiz Jr. for their belt on December 10, the same night that Joshua will defend his IBF title.

All the confusing rulings and different titles aside, Joshua is still without an opponent and there are still two heavyweight belts out there without an owner. 

Who would win in a fight between Joshua and Klitschko? Let us know in the comments section below! 

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