Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder look set for a long delay before they can face each other as further mandatories for BOTH champions have been confirmed.
Joshua defeated Carlos Takam on Saturday in an IBF mandatory defense, although was due to fight number Kubrat Pulev until injury ruled the Bulgarian out.
The International Boxing Federation have now moved to confirm to WBN that Pulev will be stipulated to face ‘AJ’ again in the near future.
“Kubrat Pulev remains mandatory and the champion (Joshua) will have to defend against him when the time comes for the IBF mandatory defense,” the IBF’s Jeanette Salazar exclusively informed to World Boxing News.
This news comes alongside another arrangement for Wilder, who is just two days away from a mandatory rematch against Bermane Stiverne.
Wilder must battle whoever comes out on top of an undercard battle between Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina, although it’s not thought that the WBC will envoke that contest immediately.
A voluntary usually follows a mandatory under WBC rules, whilst Joshua has his own dealings with the World Boxing Association to take care of in the first half of 2018.
Everything is pointing towards a further wait for fans to see Joshua and Wilder share a ring together as 2019 emerges as a more likely time for the encounter.
Tyson Fury, who is also hoping to get back in the mix next year, would also be in line to challenge either by then should his comeback plan come to fruition.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay