Anthony Joshua is prepared to risk being stripped of his WBA heavyweight title to continue pursuing a fight with Kubrat Pulev.
Following Wladimir Klitschko’s retirement, the governing body have demanded that Joshua – the WBA and IBF champion – fights Cuba’s Luis Ortiz.
Pulev, the mandatory challenger to Joshua’s IBF title, became his focus since the proposed rematch with Klitschko ceased being an option.
Press Association Sport understands that the Bulgarian is still expected to be Joshua’s next opponent, regardless of the WBA’s potential intervention.
Should the fight with Pulev in either Cardiff or Las Vegas imminently be confirmed for October 28 or November 11, the WBA could choose to make their title vacant so that Ortiz can challenge for it.
However, Joshua recognises the same risk applies with the IBF title should he prioritise the undefeated Ortiz, 38, over the 36-year-old Pulev.
“According to the resolution sent on January 11th, 2017, to both parties, it was reported that the winner of the Joshua-Klitschko fight, held on April 29th, 2017, had to face Ortiz after 120 days,” read a statement from the WBA.
“Ninety-five days have passed and, for this reason, the championships committee ordered to negotiate a fight between the British and Cuban boxers.
“Both parties were duly notified that, as of August 3rd, they have 30 days to reach an agreement or the fight will be called to purse bids.”
Speaking immediately after April’s stoppage defeat of Klitschko at Wembley, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn acknowledged that boxing’s political landscape could disrupt any plans to win and retain the division’s four world titles.
Joshua, 27, became the IBF champion in April 2016 when he stopped America’s Charles Martin in two rounds. The WBA title was added in the defeat of Klitschko one year on.