World Boxing News understands that Anthony Joshua could land a shot at the IBF heavyweight title he first one in 2016 as quickly as the summer.
In the coming months, the former two-time world champion is in line for a shock opportunity at the vacant red strap against Filip Hrgovic.
However, to get this unexpected chance at becoming a three-time heavyweight titleholder like his idol Muhammad Ali, AJ is ironically relying on Tyson Fury.
The Londoner needs Fury to beat Oleksandr Usyk in March for the IBF to sanction a clash with Hrgovic.
Tyson Fury will vacate the IBF
Fury has vowed to relinquish the IBF belt if he ever wins it again. “The Gypsy King” stated he doesn’t want to hold it again, even for one day.
He certainly won’t pay the sanctioning fees, meaning when he fights Usyk, the undisputed crown may only be on the line for the Ukrainian.
Discussing the situation with IFL TV previously, Fury went off on one.
“It’s only the [expletive] IBF title, which I wouldn’t box for anyway. The undisputed won’t be on the line for me because I won’t box for the IBF. That is a fact.
“I wouldn’t pay sanctioning fees for the IBF. They robbed me. Unless they reimburse me, of seven years ago, the sanctioning fees that I paid them, they will never, ever, ever get to put a red belt on The Gypsy King.”
He added: “[They stripped me of the title] in about four days, I think. About four or five days, and guess what? They didn’t pay me my money back.
“So whoever is the head of the IBF, they owe me sanctioning fees. Daryl [Peoples, IBF Chairman), give me my money back, or else they will be no undisputed on the line for your [expletive] belt.”
That intention by Fury will see the IBF title go vacant the day after the Usyk fight, provided victory goes to the current WBC ruler.
Anthony Joshua is second in line to Filip Hrgovic
Hrgovic is the mandatory challenger and will get the first opportunity. The IBF will sift down the ratings to offer the Hrgovic fight to the next contender.
The IBF doesn’t have a current number two. And with Deontay Wilder at three and four and facing each other this spring, Peoples will have to go to number five for a summer blockbuster.
That happens to be Joshua. And with both men fighting under the Matchroom banner, an amicable in-house world heavyweight title clash would be most welcome.
To give Joshua the best hope of winning, a stadium in the UK will come into play.
As the Croatian will be getting a career-best payday and Hrgovic will be confident of knocking AJ out anywhere in the world, a UK scenario is likely for the late summer.
Joshua will have a warm-up first. Then keep a firm eye on Fury vs Usyk to see if his ideal scenario comes to fruition.
The IBF was the first-ever title won by Joshua when he stopped Charles Martin in two rounds seven years ago.