LONDON • A bout between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko will either be announced this week or will not happen at all, according to Eddie Hearn.
The promoter says that there is "no excuse" for the heavyweight clash not to happen this year.
Talks began soon after Klitschko's rematch with Tyson Fury collapsed last month.
While Joshua's IBF heavyweight title will be at stake, attempts are also being made to encourage the WBA and WBO to sanction the match for their belts too, which will be stripped from Fury for inactivity and failing a drug test.
Hearn says that the most likely date for the bout is Dec 10, probably in Manchester.
"We are all committed to that fight being next, so we're all putting our eggs in that basket," he said.
"I think there's no excuse, if it's going to happen, it has to be signed or get announced this week because if it doesn't then I don't think it's going to happen.
"There are definitely things to overcome, but they're things that can be worked out. Stuff like US television, Sky, date, international TV, sponsorship.
"There are loads of guys we can choose if the Klitschko fight doesn't happen, but not really any of the ones we want to fight."
It is expected that the WBO will sanction a contest between Joseph Parker, of New Zealand, and Andy Ruiz, of Mexico, for their heavyweight title.
David Haye is rumoured to be attempting to negotiate a bout with Lucas Browne of Australia for the WBA title, although Hearn remains hopeful that Joshua-Klitschko may be for that belt instead.
Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, says that he wants the city to take over from Las Vegas as the capital of world boxing, adding that he would like to see a clash between Amir Khan and Kell Brook at Wembley Stadium next summer.
"Both for our city, and (for the sake of) the thousands of boxing fans in London, staging the best fights is something we could all get used to," said Khan, who was speaking at the Boxing Writers' Club annual dinner at the Savoy on Monday.
"London is open to the best talent in the world and that is why I am keen to see another superfight in the capital. What better one to start with than arch-rivals Amir Khan and Kell Brook both in the ring at Wembley Stadium?
"London is neutral territory and I think it is a contest the British public and London fight fans would love to see."
THE TIMES, LONDON