IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale is set to defend his belt against Jose Uzcategui following a stipulation laid down by the International Boxing Federation.
The 29 year-old Briton, who enjoyed a stellar year in 2015 with victories over Andre Dirrell and Lucian Bute, is pencilled in for a mandatory contest that must take place in the next couple of months.
According to IBF Chairman Lindsey Tucker, DeGale has already been informed about the need for talks to begin with the Venezuelan, who has lost just once in 25 bouts and is patiently awaiting his shot.
“The IBF ordered James DeGale to start negotiations with mandatory challenger Jose Uzcategui,” Tucker informed World Boxing News this week.
Uzcategui, 25, blasted out Julius Jackson in impressive style in October to put himself firmly in the running for a world title shot following a disappointing loss to Matt Korobov in 2014.
‘Bolivita’ was resoundingly beaten over ten rounds after being put down twice in the seventh round, but recovered well fourteen months later to take Jackson’s perfect record in San Antonio, Texas.
DeGale will obviously start a huge favourite to retain his belt due to form alone, although the one big question is whether ‘Chunky’ will attempt to bring the fight back to the UK or continue fighting Stateside.