THE stakes are high for Anthony Joshua when he boxes Eric Molina on December 10. Not only is he defending his IBF heavyweight title but victory will set the big fight, Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko, the former champion, on course for early next year.

That could take place as soon as April 2017, as long as Joshua defeats Molina in Manchester. “Probably early to mid April,” promoter Eddie Hearn said of the Klitschko fight. “I want it to be in a stadium, I don’t really want it to be an arena. But it’s April so Cardiff [the Millennium stadium] could be a good place to go. I’d still like to do it at Wembley. You do run a slight risk in April [of rain] but we’ll see.”

With the WBA now confirming they will sanction that fight for a ‘Super’ world heavyweight title, the core elements of an agreement between Joshua and Klitschko do appear to be in place. “All we’re doing is looking at venues and dates. The WBA thing was huge for us, get that over the line means we can go in and effectively get it underway. But he’s got to beat Molina,” Hearn said. “Joshua has got to stay switched on in that fight.”