After Anthony Joshua (23-1; 21 KOs) regained his world champion belts, the IBF and WBO immediately officially ordered mandatory title defense. At IBF Kubrat Pulev (28-1; 14 KOs) is the mandatory challenger with a deadline of May 31, 2020 and at WBO Oleksandr Usyk is the mandatory challenger with a deadline of June 4, 2020.
It is almost unthinkable that Joshua will take on two title defenses by June 4th, so he need leaving one of his belts. Unless Eddie Hearn can persuade organizations to wait for a while. We have previously written that for Matchroom Boxing is a good version of Joshua throwing the WBO belt, because that could be the two other fighters in the promotional agency.
For the IBF’s obligatory challenger, it doesn’t matter if he fightfor the empty belt or with Joshua, he can only finally get the World Champion title. If Joshua throwing the belt, then Pulev could probably fight Adam Kownacki. But they don’t expect it because they talk about Joshua. According to ESPN, Eddie Hearn is already in talks with Pulev’s representatives to agree on the details by January 11, or else they will announce a purse bid.
Pulev is already looking forward to the fight, according to his co-promoter, he is in very good shape and promises to be a big battle.
“I look forward to facing Anthony Joshua in his next bout, as the IBF has ordered. The result is going to be different than the Ruiz rematch, I guarantee it!” – said Pulev.
Bob Arum is also sure of the Bulgarian victory, who had already been in the IBF challenger position. He could have fought Anthony Joshua in 2017, but was injured before the fight and Carlos Takam was replaced. According to Arum, it is certain that the IBF must follow, and they have a written contract that the winner of the Ruiz – Joshua bout will have to fight against Kubrat Pulev next. The fight would probably be in England according to the promoter because it would not be as marketable in the US. They just have to wait for the official announcement that Joshua really wants to protect the IBF belt or throw it.
(Sources: BoxingScene, ESPN)