British heavyweight Anthony Joshua is set to go toe-to-toe with Wladimir Klitschko for the vacant WBA title next spring following a long negotiation process.
The IBF world champion must first beat American-Mexican Eric Molina in Manchester on December 10, as he looks to defend his title for the second time.
Joshua is unbeaten in 17 professional fights and it is now expected that he will test himself against one of the most experienced in the game, with Klitschko being lined up for early 2017.
The Ukrainian was reportedly close to signing up to face Joshua in December by it is understood the deal fell through over confusion as to whether the WBA title would be up for grabs.
The 40-year-old, who lost his WBA, IBF and WBO belts to Tyson Fury, now looks like he will get the chance to win back one of his straps after the WBA officially sanctioned the match.
Promoter Eddie Hearn admitted that it has been a long wait for the governing body to finally get behind the fight and he is now ready to begin talks with Klitschko’s representatives.
Hearn said: “It’s been an arduous wait to gain official approval but we were delighted to receive the news that the WBA will officially sanction the fight.
“We will now move forward with (Klitschko’s manager) Bernd Boente and Team Klitschko in planning the date and venue, knowing that victory against Eric Molina in Manchester on December 10 is more important than ever.”