It’s looking like Anthony Joshua is nearing a decision on his next fight after being ordered to make mandatory defenses against both Kubrat Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk, and that Pulev will get the nod. ESPN reports the the IBF has just extended their Jan. 11 deadline to Jan. 31 for Joshua and Pulev to come to an agreement, with John Wirt of Epic Sports (Pulev’s co-promoter) confirming the sides are nearing a deal.
“We are very close in my opinion, but the real issue is everyone’s trying to vet offers [from sites] that are coming in from all over,” Wirt said. “The only continents not in play to my knowledge are Antarctica and Australia.”
Should Joshua and Pulev not strike a deal by the end of the month the IBF will schedule the fight for purse bid with Joshua to get 65% and Pulev 35%.
And with Joshua looking towards the fight with Pulev but still having the other mandatory challenger in Usyk under the same promotional banner, it seems that Usyk might take a check in order to delay his title opportunity and get in another bout at heavyweight after recently moving up from cruiserweight. We’ll see how that plays out, though.