Top 15-rated fighters with the International Boxing Federation are in short supply for David Haye following the recent announcement of a final eliminator between Joseph Parker and Carlos Takam.
Haye, 35, needs to secure an IBF ranked opponent for May 21 as the Londoner pushes for a world title shot with the winner of Charles Martin v Anthony Joshua but as it currently stands only five names remain available.
A glance at the IBF list sees places one and two vacant, but soon to be filled by Parker (five) and Takam (six) in the March update. Position three is taken up by ex-European title holder Erkan Teper, although the undefeated German has recently been involved in a drugs storm following his win over David Price and is expected to be dropped from the IBF rankings next month.
Four-rated in Joshua himself, whilst jumping to seven sees the out-of-action recent IBF challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov. The Ukrainian injured his knee in losing a vacant title bout with Martin last month and is not expected to be fit until the summer, at the earliest.
In eighth spot is former cruiserweight world champion Steve Cunningham, who has dropped back down to 200 pounds to challenge WBO belt holder Krzysztof Glowacki on April 1.
After that, we come to Haye’s first possible option, Andy Ruiz Jr. The 26-0 Mexican-American has seen several dates cancelled over out of the ring problems and that fight looks unlikely to get the green light.
At ten, a first major contender in Bermane Stiverne. The former WBC ruler is on the lookout for a step-up following a November victory over Derrick Rossy and could be Haye’s number one target.
The next four places are taken up by Kubrat Pulev, Robert Helenius, Dereck Chisora and Alexander Ustinov, all of whom are seemingly tied up with title chances. Pulev is set to face ex-Haye foe Chisora for the vacant European title, whilst Helenius is scheduled to battle Johann Duhaupas in April for the vacant WBC silver belt.
Ustinov, on the other hand, is awaiting the winner of Luis Ortiz v Tony Thompson for the WBA interim title and may have an outside chance of an encounter with Haye in the meantime.
Lastly is fifteen-rated Dominic Breazeale, an up and coming American signed with Al Haymon who didn’t look at his best when overcoming Amir Mansour in January.
Breazeale, 30, may not be risked by Haymon for a UK trip outside his comfort zone and Haye may now be forced to wait for the newly-published IBF list in March before nailing down his next opponent.