Wladimir Klitschko has been ordered by the IBF to make his mandatory defense against unbeaten top contender Kubrat Pulev, with the sides having until June 5 to come to an agreement before a purse bid is ordered. The fight is going to happen, by all accounts, with a working date of September 6 already in play.
Klitschko (62-3, 52 KO) fought on April 26, having his way with overmatched challenger Alex Leapai, winning a TKO-5 in Germany. Pulev (20-0, 11 KO) had a stay-busy bout on April 5, with a tune-up win over Joey Abell last December. His last really notable fight was against Tony Thompson in August 2013, which earned him the IBF title shot in a final eliminator.
Pulev, a 6'4" southpaw, has good boxing skills and a strong amateur pedigree. In theory, he could be Klitschko's most serious challenger in many years, and is a far more dangerous foe than Leapai, for instance. The question is, will he be the first "serious challenger" to actually challenge Klitschko in about a decade, or will he wind up more like Alexander Povetkin and David Haye, good fighters who were just about as successful as the laughed-off Klitschko opponents around them?