By Elliot Foster
Callum Johnson looks to be next in line for a shot at the world title.
The Boston light-heavyweight, who knocked out Frank Buglioni in the opening round at the O2 Arena in London back in March to add the British title to his Commonwealth belt.
It was widely expected that Johnson would either make a defence of the titles or move on to European level.
But he has been offered an unlikely shot at Artur Beterbiev, the IBF champion at the weight, and the 32-year-old Joe Gallagher-trained Commonwealth Games gold medallist has accepted the terms for the fight.
His promoter Eddie Hearn revealed on social media that he had received a letter from the sanctioning body ordering the contest.
“The IBF went down the rankings for Beterbiev's mandatory and everybody said no,” Hearn told Boxing Scene about the fight. “Then the new rankings came out and because Johnson beat Buglioni, he was the one guy that they hadn't asked, so they asked him and he took it straight away.
“He'll have the fight and I like his cojones, but we've still got to get the money and I won't let him take the fight for small money and we will work that out over the next few weeks.”
Further details will be revealed in due course.
Last year, Beterbiev was scheduled to face Enrico Koelling, with the winner becoming the IBF's mandatory challenger to unified world champion Andre Ward, but the fight was never finalized amidst Beterbiev's contract dispute with Canadian promoter Yvon Michel of GYM. A purse bid was later won by Top Rank, and the fight was staged on November 11 at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California.
Andre Ward officially announced his retirement last September, therefore the IBF title became vacant. The IBF later announced that the fight between Beterbiev and Koelling would be for the vacant world title. Beterbiev would capture the belt by dominating and stopping Koelling in the twelfth and final round.