Matchroom heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Jarrell Miller may be on the verge of a final eliminator to determine the next WBO mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua.
Despite Alexander Povetkin being named as the WBA and WBO stipulated contender earlier this year, only the World Boxing Association have confirmed ties to the September 22 bout.
This means the WBO will expect Joshua to face their own challenger within 180 days of the Wembley showdown as recently stated to Sky Sports.
“With respect to our WBO heavyweight champion Mr. Anthony Joshua, be advised that Joshua has 180 days counting from the date of his last compulsory defense(after the Alexander Povetkin bout) to fulfil his mandatory defense obligations,” the WBO clarified to Sky Sports.
“Be advised that at this time the WBO has yet to determine if a WBO heavyweight elimination contest will be ordered.
“Further, the involvement of our WBO international heavyweight champion Mr. Dillian Whyte in a WBO heavyweight elimination bout is uncertain.”
Whyte is currently the number two ranked fighter with the WBO, soon-to-be number one if Joshua defeats Povetkin next month, with Miller one place behind ‘The Bodysnatcher’ in third.
Miller is due to compete against Tomasz Adamek in October, although could then be matched with Whyte should the WBO allow the pair to duke it out for the official Joshua chance.
A clash in January or February would afford Joshua time to defend his belt against the IBF challenger from Kubrat Pulev v Hughie Fury slated for October 27 in his April Wembley outing – before a meeting with Whyte or Miller later in 2019.
In regards to the mandatory situation, it still remains unclear which way the WBO will go, although Whyte and Miller are in pole position.
“Regarding Mr. Alexander Povetkin, please be advised that although Mr. Povetkin is ranked number one in the WBO Heavyweight Division, he is not Anthony Joshua’s WBO Mandatory Challenger,” the WBO exclusively told World Boxing News.
“Further, the sanctioning body will probably order a WBO Heavyweight Elimination Bout to determine who will be the designated Mandatory Challenger in the aforementioned division,” they added.
Current WBO Top 15:
1 Alexander Povetkin (International) RUS
2 Dillian Whyte JAM
3 Jarrell Miller USA
4 Tom Schwarz (Int-Cont) GER
5 Dominic Breazeale USA
6 Joseph Parker NZ
7 Kyotaro Fujimoto (Asia-Pacific) JPN
8 Bryant Jennings USA
9 Agit Kabayel GER
10 Tyrone Spong (Latino) VACANT
11 Otto Wallin SWD
12 Junior Fa (Oriental) NZ
13 Zhilei Zhang CHN
14 Ebenezer Tetteh GHA
15 Jean Pierre Augustin HAI
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay