Plans to stage a heavyweight blockbuster between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko in December were finally killed off on Monday night after the Ukrainian suffered a calf injury.
The fight was already hanging in the balance with the World Boxing Association torn on whether to stake their vacant belt on a bout between IBF champion Joshua and Klitschko, or instead sanction a fight between Klitschko and Australia’s Lucas Browne.
That lingering issue is now academic, with Joshua’s camp having learned at the weekend that Klitschko injured his calf in training.
Joshua will still fight as planned on December 10 in Manchester, with Liverpool heavyweight David Price one name on the shortlist.
Despite the setback, there have already been discussions between Joshua’s team and Klitschko to make a fight next Spring, most likely in March or April.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told Sportsmail: ‘We have been negotiating with Wladimir and his team over the past week while the WBA have been making their decision. Because of Wladimir’s injury, which we were told about at the weekend, and the fact the fight date is only six weeks away we have had to have a re-think.
‘After speaking with Wladimir’s manager, Bernd Boente, we will now look at making the fight next March or April.
‘AJ will fight on December 10 as planned and we will now work on picking an opponent.’
Price, who was tipped for the top until three defeats between 2013 and 2015 derailed his career, features on the list of potential opponents, as do Eric Molina, Bryant Jennings, Alexander Ustinov and Kubrat Pulev.