British fans will remember all too well the last time the IBF had a big decision to make regarding the heavyweight division.
Rewind back to December 2015 and reigning champion Tyson Fury was in the midst of celebrating his greatest night having defeated Wladimir Klitschko to capture four versions of the world crown.
Klitschko, who was 39 at the time, hadn’t lost in a decade and Fury was a snow white underdog to do what he eventually achieved via a points win.
Despite a superb victory, the IBF had Vyacheslav Glazkov banging down the door to gain his opportunity at the title.
As with the last few weeks and losing for the second time in a row against Anthony Joshua in April, Klitschko invoked his usual rematch clause, leaving the IBF with another headache.
This time, Kubrat Pulev is the one asking when his chance will come. In a contradictive turn of events, the Bulgarian has been asked to wait as the IBF have granted an exception for Joshua to once again put his IBF belt on the line against Klitschko.
In exactly the same situation, Glazkov’s team at Main Events – unlike Pulev’s promoters Sauerland, put pressure on the IBF to act and Fury was ultimately stripped of his championship.
Fury’s relationship with Main Events, which was stretched due to a previous win over Steve Cunningham, was a major factor in the failure of a step aside agreement.
As Pulev’s handlers at Sauerland work closely with Eddie Hearn. there was no problem with the delay, which is a huge kick in the teeth and will be hard for Fury to swallow.
What’s left is for Klitschko to formally announce his decision to carry on boxing amidst retirement reports before the Joshua return goes full steam ahead, potentially at a neutral venue.
As Joshua and Klitschko ready themselves for another lucrative payday, spare a thought for Tyson Fury as losing his IBF has been noted as a big factor in the downward spiral of his current plight.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay