International Boxing Federation number one contender Kubrat Pulev has emerged as a late possibility to face Anthony Joshua next.
Due to negotiations with Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, Dillian Whyte and Jarrell Miller not going according to plan so far, the Bulgarian is a solid option for promoter Eddie Hearn to consider.
A date of April 13th has been booked in at Wembley Stadium for some time. Should Hearn be insistent on sticking to the plan, Joshua and Pulev could conceivably take the fight on eleven weeks notice.
If not, Pulev or Whyte would remain options for May or June.
An official announcement is due to be made next week. As Wilder and Fury are out, plus Whyte and Miller are playing hardball. Pulev could be the man to save the show.
Whyte has already stated he needs fourteen weeks to prepare, effectively ruling him out. Whilst Miller is haggling over money after receiving an offer to play American Football.
“What if I told you I got an offer from an NFL team? If This AJ fight does not happen, I’m playing football for More money,” stated Miller.
“(Then) I don’t have to give these damn promoters a thing (or) cent. (I’m) Getting tired of the greed in this sport from promoters that ain’t taking no punches.”
Obvious signs of a disagreement over the purse, Miller maybe has a couple of days to accept or move on.
That leaves Hearn without any opponent whatsoever. Joshua would then be facing a whole nine months out of the ring.
Acting now to secure Pulev (???? Mark Robinson) seems the logical thing to do. It also kills two birds with one stone.
A mandatory challenge, which are piling up, could be cleared. Whilst Joshua will be able to stay on track for three fights in 2019.
Pulev is workable, that is unless Joshua and Hearn can salvage the Miller contest and head stateside for a long-awaited debut.
Pulev was originally slated to battle Joshua in October 2017 before suffering an injury and pulling out late on.
Replaced by Carlos Takam, Joshua secured a late stoppage to remain undefeated.
Following a win over Hughie Fury to claim the IBF stipulation, Pulev looks to be an attractive alternative for Hearn to seriously contemplate.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay