Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Joshua's IBF Mandatory Defense vs. Pulev Tabled For April

Now that Anthony Joshua has regained control of the four versions of his heavyweight titles, he must defend them, and he has a pair of defenses already on the docket.

Standing in line are two mandatory challengers in Kubrat Pulev via the IBF, and Oleksandr Usyk via the WBO.

The question is who will get the first crack? 

According to Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn, it’s the Bulgarian boxer.

“I believe his next fight will be in April, and my gut feeling is it will be against Kubrat Pulev,” Hearn told “Joshua doesn’t want to vacate the belts. He loves them. We need to have a  conversation of common sense between the governing bodies. We’ve written to to the IBF and WBO. Who goes first? You can’t just hold Anthony to ransom and say you have to vacate one. There is a rotational system that chronologically tells you who goes first. It’s the IBF. But I also represent Usyk, so I have to push for him as well. It’s a bit of a messy situation, but Joshua will defend his titles against whoever he has to. But he really wants the undisputed fight, so we’ll so what happens on Feb. 22 between [Wilder and Fury].”


Pulev, promoted by Top Rank, is a longtime mandatory challenger who had originally been scheduled to face then-champion Joshua on Oct. 28, 2017. 

The fight never materialized, however, because Pulev pulled out due to an injury, and Joshua ended up successfully defending his title soon after against Carlos Takam. 

As the heavyweight picture further filled in, Pulev was on the outside looking in.

Pulev has since returned from injury with three consecutive wins in 2018 and 2019 and is now inching closer to his opportunity. 

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by just the facts on 12-27-2019

[QUOTE=REDEEMER;20284501]I thought all it took is one punch ? If Fury only landed a few more where was Wilders power if it was a close fight with numerous punches landing ? Your guys in major trouble I’m telling you now.[/QUOTE]…

Comment by REDEEMER on 12-27-2019

[QUOTE=Champ Wilder;20284492]I don't care what Wilder acts like, facts are facts. Fury barely landed more, if anything the draw was absolutely fair. Time will tell, February is coming and so is Wilder's right hand[/QUOTE] I thought all it took is…

Comment by Champ Wilder on 12-27-2019

[QUOTE=REDEEMER;20283207]Fury’s not more dangerous for AJ then Wlad was , Fury wont be able to hurt him and it ends the same as when they fought last time and AJ was only an amateur . Stiverne was out of boxing…

Comment by revelated on 12-27-2019

[QUOTE=PotentialToast;20266246]Pulev has been knocking over bums waiting to cash out with his AJ pension scheme.[/QUOTE] "Who's Pulev, champ??"

Comment by OnlytheTruth on 12-27-2019

[QUOTE=Jkp;20281977]In the US most people that know of him think his name is Anthony "the quitter" Johnson.[/QUOTE] So now they know him? You have no consistency to your argument . How do you expect me to take you seriously?

Top Headlines
Charles Martin Takes Down Gerald Washington in Six Emanuel Navarrete Batters, Stops Santisima To Retain Haye: Deontay Wilder's Biggest Downfall is His Biggest Weapon Teofimo Lopez Reacts To Tyson Fury Stopping Wilder SugarHill Steward Reacts To Tyson Fury Stopping Wilder Frank Warren Reacts To Tyson Fury Stopping Wilder Bob Arum Reacts To Tyson Fury Stopping Deontay Wilder Wilder's Trainer Explains Towel Coming in To Stop Fight Tyson Fury Reacts To Stopping Deontay Wilder Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder Rematch - Official Scorecards Deontay Wilder Has 30 Days To Exercise Clause For Fury Trilogy Hearn: I Spoke To Anthony Joshua, He Wants Tyson Fury Next! Wilder Not Happy Corner Stopped Fight, Says Leg Was Wrecked Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder Rematch - CompuBox Punch Stats Tyson Fury Drops Deontay Wilder Twice, Stops Him in Seven Wilder vs. Fury Rematch - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Charles Martin Blasts Out Gerald Washington in Sixth Charles Martin-Gerald Washington - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Emanuel Navarrete Breaks Down, Stops Santisima in Eleventh Emanuel Navarrete, Jeo Santisima - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Sebastian Fundora Decisions Daniel Lewis Over Ten Molina Upsets Imam By Unanimous Decision On Wilder-Fury Undercard Sebastian Fundora, Daniel Lewis - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Ananyan Drops, Shocks Subriel Matias On Wilder-Fury Card Wilder: Fury Won't Come Forward; Will Resort To What He Knows Brad Foster Stops Lucien Reid In Six, Keeps British & Commonwealth Belts Matias: Just Thinking About Being On Wilder-Fury Card Amazes Me Gabriel Flores Drops Conway Early, Wins Decision On Wilder-Fury Luis Ortiz's S&C Coach Leans To Wilder in Fury Rematch Vito Mielnicki Batters Champion, Wins Decision On Wilder-Fury Card Umar Sadiq A Step Closer To British Belt After Outpointing Kody Davies Lowe Beats Guevara On Points In Foul-Filled Fight On Wilder-Fury Undercard Romero Stops Ahmetovs In 2nd Round On Wilder-Fury Undercard Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder II: Stats & Stakes Hopkins: Tyson Fury Second Only To Muhammad Ali As A Salesman Wilder: If Fury Were Confident, He Wouldn't Have Changed Trainers Ryan Garner Back After 14-Month Hiatus, Gets Points Win In London Deontay Wilder: I Only Showed 50% In First Fury Fight Warren: What Happens When Fury Drops Wilder? Will He Get Up? Navarrete: After I Win, Will Definitely Aim For Unification Bout
Latest Forum Threads