Lindsey Tucker, the Championship Chairman of the International Boxing Federation, confirmed to Boxing Scene that IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) and mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) will be ordered to begin negotiations in the coming days.
Last Saturday night, Joshua pulled off a sensational victory by getting off the floor in the sixth round to score a stoppage win over former division ruler Wladimir Klitschko in eleven rounds.
The fight took place before a record crowd of 90,000 fans at Wembley in London. Only one day prior, in Bulgaria, Pulev stayed active with a twelve round unanimous decision victory over veteran Kevin Johnson, who Joshua stopped in two rounds last May.
Pulev has now won five in a row since getting stopped by Klitschko in November of 2014. Before the week is out, the IBF is planning to send out a letter ordering both sides to begin negotiations for the fight.
“His mandatory challenger is Kubrat Pulev, he’s number two and we’ll probably be sending out a notification letter one day this week to start negotiations,” stated Tucker to Boxing Scene.
Joshua could find himself in the same predicament as his country rival, Tyson Fury.
Back in November 2015, Fury shocked Klitschko with an upset decision to capture the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight belts. After that victory, the IBF ordered Fury to make a mandatory defense against Czar Glazkov.
Fury was unable to face Glazkov, because Klitschko exercised a contractual clause for an immediate rematch. Because Fury was contractually tied to a second fight with Klitschko, the IBF stripped him of his title.
Klitschko also has an immediate rematch clause for a second fight with Joshua. If Klitschko exercises that clause, then Joshua will likely lose the IBF belt. This scenario is no surprise to Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who warned the local press that his boxer would have a hard time holding on to the IBF belt with a mandatory defense hanging over their heads.
Joshua is expected to fight again in the fall.