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Wladimir Klitschko vs Kubrat Pulev up next, working date of September 6

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Kubrat Pulev will get his crack at Wladimir Klitschko later this year, as the IBF has ordered the fight, and it's already being worked on for the fall.

Boris Streubel

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?