Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev have set a deadline for negotiations over a world heavyweight title fight, the IBF have confirmed.
Britain’s unified world champion has been awaiting confirmation of his next fight after being ordered to make world title defences against Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk, his IBF and WBO mandatory challengers.
But Pulev appears to be next in line for Joshua as the IBF have revealed that both fighters requested more time to agree a deal.
A spokesperson for the IBF told Sky Sports: “I have just been told that the Pulev and Joshua camps have asked until January 31 to negotiate.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn revealed earlier in the week that ‘everything is in play’ for Joshua, with Usyk being offered an alternative fight against Derek Chisora in London.
“Conversations are ongoing with all parties to plan what’s next and it will really come to a head over the next few weeks,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“We are still awaiting clarification from the governing bodies to confirm who is chronologically next but right now everything is in play.
“In terms of Usyk versus Chisora that is still a potential outcome, but March 7 is unlikely. Instead we have March 28 on hold at the O2.”
Pulev, who has only been beaten by Wladimir Klitschko, was due to challenge Joshua in October 2017, only to be ruled out through injury, but regained his status as mandatory challenger following a points win over Hughie Fury.
Joseph Parker has been elevated to No 2 in the WBO rankings and could target a fight with Usyk for the vacant WBO title, if Joshua was forced to relinquish the belt.