Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko bout 'would be for WBA belt'

Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua
Wladimir Klitschko won Olympic gold in 1996, 16 years before Joshua did the same

British IBF champion Anthony Joshua and boxing great Wladimir Klitschko have been cleared to fight for the vacant WBA heavyweight title.

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

Joshua, who is unbeaten after 17 fights, could meet Ukrainian Klitschko in the first few months of next year.

But the 27-year-old Englishman must first beat American Eric Molina in Manchester on 10 December.

Joshua and former WBA, IBF and WBO champion Klitschko, 40, might have faced each other in December.

Attempts to make that fight happen fell through, with promoter Eddie Hearn blaming confusion over whether the WBA title would be on the line.

Klitschko's manager, Bernd Boente, claimed the bout fell through because the fighters "ran out of time" to agree a deal.

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 Briton 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 rather than 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".

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