French-Cameroonian Carlos Takam has emerged as the favorite to step in and face Anthony Joshua on October 28 should Kubrat Pulev officially withdraw from the contest.
Pulev has suffered a muscle tear in his shoulder, according to reports in his native Bulgaria, and fears are that the IBF number one and the current mandatory contender will be forced to vacate his chance at Joshua’s belts.
It’s understood Pulev’s promoters at Sauerland are mulling over the best way to deal with the ailment, but it looks increasingly likely the veteran won’t be risked if not fully fit.
That leaves Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn with a massive headache just twelve days out until fight night at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, which has already sold 70,000 tickets.
Looking at the IBF’s rankings shows Takam is the next in line and certainly the top target for Hearn in order to complete Joshua’s obligation to the federation.
Joshua facing Takam, and if victorious later this month, would free the Briton up to pursue bigger tests and a possible unification with either Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder.
Dillian Whyte, a former foe of Joshua, is training for the undercard and may be a late option to consider for Hearn in the event Takam or even number four-ranked Christian Hammer prove elusive.
Securing Takam could prove difficult at this late stage, although Hearn would be able to provide a substantial incentive to the 36 year-old who hasn’t fought since June.
Also into the bargain, Whyte has signed on to fight Robert Helenius in the co-feature and would potentially want more time to prepare before challenging the only man to inflict a loss on his record.
Hearn would probably be of the same thinking as the Matchroom head honcho usually likes a big build-up to his all-UK encounters on the Sky Sports Box Office platform.