The World Boxing Council has ordered WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack (20-1-3, 12 KOs) and mandatory challenger Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) to begin immediate negotiations.
If the they are unable to reach an agreement in the coming weeks, the WBC has set down a purse bid date for February 17th. Smith's promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, confirmed the WBC's order.
Smith was ringside this past Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, as he watched Jack and IBF champion James DeGale battle to a twelve round majority draw.
Smith has been waiting for his mandatory shot for quite a while. He was in action last month, retaining his British super middleweight title with a brutal knockout of Luke Blackledge.
Callum is viewed as the most talented of the four fighting Smith brothers - which includes Paul Smith, Stephen Smith and Liam Smith. All of them have held British titles, but Liam is the only brother to capture a world title.
A fight with Jack is far from a sure thing. Following his draw with DeGale, Jack began to immediately discuss the idea of moving up to light heavyweight to pursue a fight with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson.
Jack's promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr., echoed his fighter's statements.
"I'm the promoter, this is my fighter. Badou Jack has got too big for 168-pounds. We have plans after this fight [with DeGale] to move up to light heavyweight," Mayweather said.
If Jack vacates his title to move up in weight, then Smith will have to face once-beaten former world champion Anthony Dirrell (30-1-1, 24 KOs) for the vacant title. Jack won the title from Dirrell in 2015. Since the loss Dirrell has won three fights in a row, including a knockout win last Friday over Norbert Nemesapati in Florida.