Carl Froch must get a a waiver from the IBF in order to be able to face his rival Mikkel Kessler. However, he would need to face Adonis Stevenson after Kessler or be stripped of his IBF title.
Ever since Carl Froch put a beatin' on Lucian Bute last year there has been talk of a rematch between Froch and his one-time conqueror Mikkel Kessler. Froch and Kessler engaged in one of 2010's best fights as Kessler escaped with a tight decision win in his home country of Denmark. Now, three years later, it does indeed appear their rematch is only a matter of time.
However, before the rematch can come together there is some outside-the-ring business that needs to be taken care of. Froch holds the IBF super middleweight title and, therefore, is obligated to face the sanctioning body's top rated contender. That happens to be Adonis Stevenson. With Stevenson next in line to receive a title shot from Froch, a waiver must be granted from the IBF to allow Froch an interim bout before getting in the ring with Stevenson.
Here is what an IBF spokesperson had to say on the matter (via Boxing Scene):
"Froch can apply for a waiver so he can fight somebody else. If the waiver is granted, he retains the title (and has permission to take another fight). If the waiver is not granted, and he chooses to fight someone other than Stevenson - he must give up the IBF title."
Stevenson himself seems confident the IBF will allow the waiver. He doesn't seem upset, just perhaps anxious, as he would possibly get to face the winner of the bout.
"Should Froch, Kessler, the IBF and WBA all agree - I need confirmation that I will face the winner," Stevenson said.
The chances of Froch receiving a waiver here seem pretty good. The real issue could be for Stevenson. Would the winner really want to face him? Bute has said he would like to have his rematch with Froch in the fall. Would Kessler, if he were to win, feel obligated to defend his new belt against a mandatory challenger? Or would he just dump it, and keep his old one (the "regular" WBA belt)? Both men have a few options, and I'm not sure Stevenson is one of them for either guy.