by Shaun Brown
After losing out on the purse bid for the IBF heavyweight title eliminator between Kubrat Pulev and Dillian Whyte, the Brit's promoter Eddie Hearn is waiting to hear the plans from the left-field winner Epic Sports & Entertainment.
Epic, who promote neither fighter, won with a bid of $1,500,111 to comfortably beat Matchroom ($831,111), who promote Whyte, and Sauerland ($801,305), who promote Pulev.
The fight, which will see the winner become mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua's title, now looks set to take place in Pulev's homeland of Bulgaria with the 37-year-old writing on his Facebook page that he was "95% sure" the contest would land in the country's capital of Sofia.
"The match will be staged (at a place) where as many people as possible can go and see it,” said Pulev who hinted that it may land at the Vasil Levski national stadium which has a capacity of just over 46,000.
"We wanted it July 28 in London but unfortunately it was a 75-25% purse bid. It was very hard for us to win," Hearn told Boxing Scene.
"Obviously we've got our position with the WBC as well which is ordering a final eliminator with Ortiz, but this is one we're interested in and we're just waiting for further information. Obviously they've (Epic) got to make their IBF deposits as well over the next couple of days.
"We're in dialogue with them and their team, and looking to work together on potentially the promotion, and see where it makes sense and where it could happen."
Hearn also commented on another potential IBF bout featuring one of his fighters. Callum Johnson, the British and Commonwealth 175lb champion, is ready to "roll the dice" and take on world champion Artur Beterbiev.
The IBF called for Johnson, who is the governing body's number eight contender, to be Beterbiev's mandatory.
"Callum Johnson is the only one in the rankings willing to fight him!" said Hearn.
"It's a bit of an awkward one because Beterbiev is kind of in a promotional dispute. I think that's going to be resolved in the next few weeks by the looks of things. And I don't think they can have any discussions until that is resolved. I think at this moment in time it looks like it's going to go to purse bids. Again, even worse on that one I think it's 85-15.
"Callum isn't looking to be greedy, but as my client I gotta make sure that the risk involved in that fight is justified by the reward as well. One of the parts of the reward is winning the world title. It's a very dangerous fight, a very tough fight but if we can get the deal right then Callum is 100% ready to take that fight."
Johnson, the 2010 81kg Commonwealth Games gold medallist, was out of action for 18 months before walking through Frank Buglioni in one round, in March, to take the Londoner's British and Commonwealth titles. A performance that finally saw Johnson deliver on the potential that many knew was already there.
"He's come back with the Buglioni win out of the darkness really and I think he just feels 'lets roll the dice -- we've got nothing to lose'", said Hearn.
"Johnson is a big puncher, so is Beterbiev. It's a great fight so why not? It doesn't affect anything with his British title standing, so as long as the deal's right we're happy to progress with that fight."
Shaun Brown covers British boxing for Boxing Scene. Contact him on Twitter @sbrown2pt0