WBN was informed on Wednesday that the next two challengers in line to fight for the IBF super-middleweight title will be number one-ranked Briton James DeGale and American Andre Dirrell.
Carl Froch has made it public knowledge that an injury has ruled him out until the summer, leaving doubts over whether ‘The Cobra’ would still be in possession of the belt by the time he steps between the ropes again.
“We are still waiting for something official stating that Froch is injured,” IBF Chairman Lindsey Tucker exclusively told World Boxing News.
“If he is in fact injured, he can get a medical extension for up to 60 days. If for some reason the title becomes vacant, the IBF would order the two highest-ranked available contenders to fight for the vacant title.”
Froch was originally given a deadline of January 31 to agree a domestic clash with DeGale or risk losing his title, although the Nottingham fighter has already stated that a fight with the former Olympic gold medallist is not top of his wishlist. An extra two months to mull it over may not make much difference to Froch at this point in time and he may well decide to vacant to allow DeGale to begin preparations for what would be his first career world title fight.
Mikkel Kessler’s promoters Sauerland confirmed their interest in the possibility of facing DeGale for the vacant belt in an earlier interview with WBN, but that has now been ruled out on the same day the Dane’s handlers met up with Eddie Hearn to discuss possible future bouts.
“James De Gale and Andre Dirrell are the two highest-ranked contenders,” Tucker outlined. “But there is no chance that Mikkel Kessler will be allowed to fight De Gale for the vacant IBF title because he is not currently ranked in the IBF Ratings.”
A Las Vegas fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr still seems to be the top priority for Froch right now, whilst DeGale will be hoping that Hearn can land home advantage for any future Dirrell title bout should the three-time world champion officially move on.