"I hope he takes up the challenge rather than a soft touch in Germany"
Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn fears Anthony Joshua's big title clash with Wladimir Klitschko is in doubt.
Joshua's IBF heavyweight belt is due to be on the line on December 10th in Manchester.
But a row over the vacant WBA championship is leading to suggestions that Klitschko will instead fight Lucas Browne for that title on the same date in Germany.
Hearn told Sky Sports News, the Ukrainian appears to be backing away from his man.
"With the hold up from the WBA, we need a little more time. So regardless if it's Klitschko or not, [Joshua] will return on December 10th in Manchester. We are beginning discussions with other opponents now while crossing our fingers that Klitschko takes the fight, regardless of how many belts are on the line," he said.
"In an ideal world, there would be as many belts as possible on the line, but I hope he takes up the challenge rather than a soft touch in Germany."
Klitschko had been due to fight Tyson Fury in a late October rematch but the latter has now vacated the WBA, WBO, and IBO titles.
Hearn had raised the possibility of Joshua contending against Klitschko as far back as September but had admitted that "as always in boxing it's a very complicated process".