IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, according to a rep from the International Boxing Federation (IBF), have until January 31 to reach an agreement or their contest will head to a purse bid.
Beside the IBF, Joshua was also ordered by the WBO to face their mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk. Pulev appears to be the frontrunner for the contest.
“I have just been told that the Pulev and Joshua camps have asked until January 31 to negotiate,” and IBF rep informed Sky Sports.
Pulev is promoted by Bob Arum of Top Rank, who have an exclusive deal with ESPN. Joshua, through his promotional deal with Eddie Hearn, fights on DAZN.
Hearn is attempting to get official clarification from the sanctioning bodies, regarding which mandatory challenger should come first.
If Joshua goes in the direction of Pulev, then Hearn will try to match Usyk against someone like Derek Chisora or Joseph Parker.
“Conversations are ongoing with all parties to plan what’s next and it will really come to a head over the next few weeks,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“We are still awaiting clarification from the governing bodies to confirm who is chronologically next but right now everything is in play. In terms of Usyk versus Chisora that is still a potential outcome, but March 7 is unlikely. Instead we have March 28 on hold at the O2.”
Pulev was due to challenge Joshua in October 2017, but withdrew with injury. He regained his mandatory crack by defeating Hughie Fury in a final eliminator.