Anthony Joshua’s mission to fully clean up the heavyweight division in 2018 could now be hampered by the addition of yet another mandatory defence for the Briton.
Joshua defeated Carlos Takam in what was taken as an IBF order last month after Kubrat Pulev was forced to pull out injured.
The IBF have already confirmed to WBN that the Bulgarian will remain number one contender, meaning Joshua has maybe a year or so to fulfill their wishes.
“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 earlier this month.
Add to that the WBA’s recent press release stating last night’s new WBA holder Manuel Charr will face Fres Oquendo for their mandatory position in the first half of next year.
The winner of that bout will then be ordered to tackle current top division king Anthony Joshua by the end of 2018.
In a hastily-announced press release on Friday, the WBA how stipulated challenger Oquendo was overlooked despite being informed he would box for the WBA title in his next fight.
The World Boxing Association (WBA) Championships Committee granted a special permission to boxers Alexander Ustinov from Russia and Manuel Charr from Germany to fight for the WBA Heavyweight Title this Saturday, November 25.
The permission is granted at the request of the interested parties and based on WBA rules C.46 and C.28, also taking into account that the fighters occupy places 2 and 4 of the raking at more than 200 pounds.
However, the winner of this fight must immediately start negotiations with Puerto Rican Fres Oquendo, who has the right to fight for a world title after winning a dispute in a New York court.
This agreement must be made before December 22, 2017. Otherwise, the contest will be called for a purse bid and the percentages will be 50 percent for each boxer.
If the fight between Ustinov and Charr ends in a tie or is not valid, Oquendo must face the next available contender,” said the WBA.
As Joshua continues his attempts to lure Joseph Parker to fight him in a unification, one main rival has been freed by his organization to fight ‘AJ’ next.
The WBC has confirmed a voluntary period will follow Deontay Wilder’s mandatory win over Bermane Stiverne on November, whilst also stating vehemently they want the Joshua encounter to happen next.
That means Parker, Wilder, Pulev and Charr have all laid claims to facing Joshua in the coming year, with Tyson Fury not likely to get a look in until at least 2019.
Fury is seemingly ready to fight David Price or Tony Bellew next, although Shannon Briggs is also said to be a consideration for his imminent comeback.
Joshua v Wilder remains the biggest fight out there for the current king, although promoter Eddie Hearn has already signalled his intention to let the super-fight simmer until the time is right.
There’s nothing stopping the Joshua v Wilder battle happening now though, just the personal preference of either or one team to put the Pay-Per-View blockbuster on hold.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay