Josh Taylor is back on the clock, this time with a fight that has a chance of seeing the light of day. has confirmed that a purse bid hearing has been set aside for August 23, to determine promotional rights for the IBF mandatory title defense between Scotland’s Taylor and Argentina’s Jeremias Ponce. News of the fight has flown well under the radar, as the IBF ordered the bout on July 7. A 30-day negotiation period was assigned, which has since elapsed and with the New Jersey based sanctioning body taking action.

“On July 7, 2022, the IBF ordered Josh Taylor and Jeremias Ponce to begin negotiations for the

IBF Jr. Welterweight mandatory defense,” Daryl Peoples, IBF president, informed all IBF-registered promoters via letter, a copy of which was obtained by “An agreement could not be reached within the time frame set forth by the IBF.

“The IBF is ordering a Purse Bid in these offices on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 at 12:00 PM EST. Bids must be submitted at 11:45 AM EST to be promptly opened at 12:00 PM.”

The purse bid session is open to all IBF-registered promoters, with participants required to submit a nonrefundable $5,000. The winning bid must come with an immediate 10 percent deposit, with another 10 percent to be submitted no later than five days after the purse bid hearing.

The development comes after the IBF granted permission for Ponce (30-0, 20KOs) and Puerto Rico’s Subriel Matias (18-1, 18KOs) to enter talks for an interim title fight. Both fighters won separate semifinal eliminators in 2021, but put the brakes on a final eliminator in anticipation of Taylor possibly vacating the title.

That day has not arrived, and has learned that there is a chance of Taylor going through with the ordered title defense versus Ponce.  

Such a route would be the only way that Taylor could avoid losing a third alphabet title outside of the ring in a span of just four months. The unbeaten southpaw entered 2022 as the undisputed champion, but vacated the WBA belt earlier this spring in lieu of an ordered mandatory title defense against Dominican Republic’s Alberto Puello (20-0, 10KOs). Taylor then relinquished the WBC belt on July 1, thus walking away from an ordered fight with former title challenger Jose Zepeda (35-2, 27KOs).

It was believed that both moves were made in part to proceed with a rematch against England’s Jack Catterall, whom Taylor edged via disputed split decision on February 26 in Glasgow. Talks are ongoing for the sequel to take place November 26, with Catterall even receiving permission from Probellum to exit his promotional contract to pursue the bout.

Such was a requirement to move forward with the second fight with Taylor, who is promoted by Top Rank whose fights air on ESPN+ and Sky Sports. Neither platform is currently conducting business specifically with Probellum, until it is confirmed that the first-year promotional outfit does not claim any ties to reputed and U.S.-sanctioned Irish crime lord Daniel Kinahan. The matter is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit between Probellum and fellow first-year outfit BOXXER, the primary content provider for Sky Sports in the U.K.

However, the fight is still not finalized and there exists the possibility of it not happening next. That wrinkle provides further intrigue to the upcoming IBF purse bid hearing.

Ponce moved into the top position in the IBF rankings following a tenth-round knockout of Lewis Ritson last June on the road in Newcastle, England. Their semifinal bout came two weeks after Matias stopped Batyr Jukmebayav on May 29, with plans at the time calling for the semi-final winners to collide.

No reason has been given as to why the planned interim title fight was not secured, as it was believed to land on the undercard of Deontay Wilder’s ring return in October.

Two wins have followed for Ponce, both taking place in Germany. The 26-year-old claimed a third-round knockout of Achiko Odikadze in his most recent bout this past April 23 in Hamburg.

Taylor has made four overall title defenses of the IBF strap that he won in a twelve-round decision over then-unbeaten champ Ivan Baranchyk in May 2019. The feat came in the semifinal round of the World Boxing Super Series, which Taylor won outright along with the WBA belt following a majority decision victory over Regis Prograis in their tournament final and unification bout between unbeaten titlists.

Three wins have followed, including an IBF mandatory title defense which saw Taylor knockout unbeaten Thai challenger Apinun Khongsong in the first round of their September 2020 clash. The feat was followed up by his most significant win to date, a twelve-round, unanimous decision over Jose Ramirez in their undisputed championship clash last May 22 in Las Vegas. Taylor floored Ramirez twice en route to a narrow win in their pairing of undefeated and unified titleholders.

The fight with Ramirez was permitted due to Catterall agreeing to put on hold plans to enforce his WBO mandatory challenger status. Taylor honored a pre-fight agreement to move forward with the inherited title defense, though surviving a knockdown to rally late in prevailing in a fight that many thought Catterall deserved to win. Taylor gave up two belts—one due to a time conflict with his getting married—to keep alive plans for a rematch but could now wind up moving in a direction that will allow him to retain his remaining belts.

Taylor is still the recognized lineal/IBF/WBO/Ring Magazine champion. There were talks of his moving up to welterweight, though such plans remain on the backburner for the moment.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox