British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn stated that there’s a big chance Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (28-1) will be the next in line in terms of facing the newly crowned unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (23-1).
Pulev is the IBF mandatory challenger for a good one year now and he said on numerous occasions that he’ll be the one fighting Joshua this spring.
The 38-year-old Bulgarian is in a race with another mandatory challenger – WBO’s Oleksandr Usyk. The Ukrainian powerhouse is also on the shortlist of opponents for AJ, but it will come down to which governing body mandatory defense is first.
There’s a big chance the 30-year-old Joshua vacates a belt (WBO or IBF) because both organizations insist that it’s their turn and they don’t want to wait another 4 to 5 months.
“He won’t want to give a belt up, but he will do if he has to, but what we really need to do is establish who’s first,” said Hearn to Boxing Social about Joshua possibly vacating his IBF or WBO belts.
“So if historically the IBF is first, then he’ll fight Pulev first, and then Usyk. And then maybe Usyk will fight Dereck Chisora in February or March, and then the winner will fight AJ or the winner will face the winner of AJ-Pulev.
“I gotta get to work on this tomorrow because it’s pressing. Joshua got to look at physically how he is, and see when he’s ready to go back to camp. I think Usyk-Chisora has a great chance of happening, but Chisora is a bit too far down in the WBO rankings for that to be for the vacant belt,” said Hearn.