The International Boxing Federation’s Chairman, Lindsey Tucker has informed WBN that a mandatory heavyweight challenge is not scheduled until November at the earliest.
In the wake of Joe Parker and Carlos Takam being announced for an IBF eliminator in the top division, there had been suggestions that this fight would have to take place immediately after the contest between current champion Charles Martin and Anthony Joshua taking place on April 9.
This is not the case though and opens the door to a potential world title chance for anyone in the Top 15 in the aftermath of Joshua v Martin at the O2 Arena next month.
“The winner of the Charles Martin versus Anthony Joshua bout has until November 15, 2016 to fight anyone in the top 15 in an optional defense,” Tucker told World Boxing News.
Tucker’s clarification means a victory for Joshua would allow the Briton to choose anyone placed high enough in the new IBF rankings, including recently boosted compatriot David Haye.
Haye, 35, was slotted in at number 13 when the IBF put out the updated list last week and in position for a first world title fight for five years should the ‘Hayemaker’ win again on May 21.
Ex-WBA title holder Haye was originally thought to have more work to do after a comeback win over Mark de Mori in January, although is now placed handily with all the top organisations barring the WBO.
The WBA were the first to rank Haye on the back of his first round triumph by placing him at nine, whilst the WBC have now followed the IBF by handing the Londoner a rating of seven in their new March announcement.
UK fans can start to get excited about the prospect of another British super-fight at Wembley Stadium in 2016 provided Joshua gets through Martin and Eddie Hearn decides to open talks with Haye in late May.
The last big top division clash at the National Stadium featured Frank Bruno sealing his defining win against Oliver McCall over 20 years ago in September 1995, whilst Carl Froch v George Groves followed that up at the lower 168 pound limit two years ago.