WBN have been informed a request has been made for Anthony Joshua to keep his IBF heavyweight title for another fight with Wladimir Klitschko.
As promoter Eddie Hearn revealed this week, Klitschko is set to invoke a rematch clause with Joshua following an eleventh round stoppage at the hands of the Briton at Wembley Stadium last month.
It had been thought the IBF would move to strip Joshua for not facing mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev immediately, although Matchroom Boxing have asked the International Boxing Federation to reconsider any decision.
“Last Thursday (May 11th), the IBF received an exception request from Matchroom on behalf of Anthony Joshua,” IBF President Darryl Peoples exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I’m expecting a reply from Sauerland on behalf of Pulev either today or early tomorrow. The Board will consider the exception request during the convention next week and determine what actions the IBF will take.
“The Board will consider the exception request during the convention next week and determine what actions the IBF will take as soon as a decision has been made.”
People’s words may strike a hard cord with ex-king Tyson Fury who was stripped just days after beating Klitschko back in November 2015 for not facing Vyacheslav Glazkov, a move which inadvertently benefitted Joshua.
As Sauerland are known to have a close relationship with Hearn and Matchroom, a step-aside – possibly involving an undercard spot for Pulev, may well be forthcoming – leaving Joshua with all his title belts intact.
Joshua is set to battle Klitschko in the final two months of this year, and with Pulev waiting in the wings, could now have his next two opponents pencilled in.
That’s likely to be yet another blow for Fury as the knock on effect would be a further delay to a potential encounter with Joshua in April of 2018.
Frank Warren has already revealed this week that he sees Fury returning to action by the end of the year, dependent on the outcome of an imminent British Boxing Board of Control hearing.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay