The WBO challenger is set to take precedent for AJ’s return, unless he agrees the unification
Anthony Joshua will seemingly have a clear route to a potential showdown with either Deontay Wilder or Dillian Whyte when he returns in April.
The IBF have confirmed to talkSPORT.com that they won’t be ordering Britain’s heavyweight ruler to face their challenger, Kubrat Pulev, yet as the WBO are next in line to submit a mandatory.
Pulev defeated Hughie Fury in a final eliminator on October 27 in order to earn his position as a contender to AJ, however an IBF spokesperson exclusively told talkSPORT.com they respect that the champion’s next defence will be ordered by the WBO.
For the unified WBA, IBF and WBO champion, mandatories are run in a rotation system, which saw Carlos Takam (IBF) and Alexander Povetkin (WBA) have their challengers satisfied most recently.
Therefore, the WBO are next in line, however they are yet to name their challenger.
Currently, Dillian Whyte tops their heavyweight rankings, so it is possible that he could become AJ’s next official challenger.
However, unification bouts are given precedent over mandatories, so if a fight can be made between Joshua and WBC champion Deontay Wilder for April, then this would undoubtedly take priority.
Tyson Fury could throw a spanner in the works for the Wilder bout, as the American must first overcome him when they meet on December 1.
AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn has also discussed the possibility of his man facing a wildcard opponent on April 13, though it is as yet unclear who this could be and how it would impact on the mandatory situation.
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