Ra’eese Aleem believes he has discovered a quicker path to his first major title fight.

BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the unbeaten junior featherweight contender has accepted an invitation to participate in an IBF title eliminator. As this publication previously reported, a letter was sent to the promoters for both Aleem and former two-division titlist Luis Nery to which they were required to respond by no later than Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET.

While Aleem has agreed to go this route, he will have to allow the IBF to secure a new opponent. Boxing Scene has confirmed that Nery will instead maintain his place in line as the WBC mandatory challenger and hopes to next challenge the winner of the Stephen Fulton-Naoya Inoue unified WBC/WBO junior featherweight title fight on July 25 in Tokyo.

Tijuana’s Nery (34-1, 26KOs) became the WBC mandatory challenger following his thrilling eleventh-round knockout of Azat Hovhannisyan on February 18 in Pomona, California. Their title eliminator—which remains the leading candidate for 2023 Fight of the Year— was ordered by the WBC during its convention last November.

The sanctioning body also called for a second eliminator between Aleem and David Picasso (24-0-1, 13KOs) rather than a four-man box-off. The ruling would leave Aleem at least two fights away from challenging for the WBC title, whereas the IBF route would speed up the process.

Per IBF Rule 9.C, the decision by Nery’s team to not move forward with the fight will result in his dropping below the IBF top ten, where he will remain for a minimum of six months.

Aleem is still tied to a WBC title eliminator versus Picasso, whose promoter Zanfer Boxing recently won a purse bid to secure the rights to the fight. However, a date and location was not yet established as this goes to publish, which has left Aleem and his team eager to keep the line moving—and to explore all available options.

Aleem (20-0, 12KOs) has not fought since a ten-round decision win over Mike Plania last September 5 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. The 32-year-old contender from Las Vegas by way of Muksegon, Michigan has struggled to find willing opposition despite his own desire to face anyone on the way to the title.

With Nery out of the mix, the process will now call for the IBF to continue down the list of its ranked contenders to find the next available fighter.

The eventual fighter who accepts the offer will then enter a negotiation period with Aleem for a title eliminator. The winner will be named IBF mandatory challenger newly crowned IBF/WBA titlist Marlon Tapales (37-3, 19KOs), who outpointed Murodjon ‘MJ’ Akhmadaliev (11-1, 8KOs) via split decision on April 8 in San Antonio, Texas.

Nery and Aleem were ranked numbers three and four, respectively, at the time of the IBF’s invitation on Wednesday. Its most recent rankings have Australia’s Sam Goodman (14-0, 7KOs), the Philippines Carl Jammes Martin (21-0, 17KOs) and Akhmadaliev as the next highest ranked contenders.

Tapales entered his fight with Akhmadaliev as the mandatory challenger. The two-division and reigning unified titlist will be granted a voluntary title defense during this process.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox