IBF heavyweight mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev is looking for a title shot but as of today is going have to wait a little while longer.
In a report today broken by Dan Rafael of ESPN, The IBF has agreed to grant Andy Ruiz Jr. an exception to bypass mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev to fight Anthony Joshua in their rematch taking place on December 7th. The stipulation per Rafael includes, that the rematch must take place on or before December 7th and that the Ruiz-Joshua II winner must agree in writing to fight Pulev on or before May 31, 2020.
The current titleholder Ruiz has the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles and this sets up a slew of mandatory matchup combinations — depending on who wins the Ruiz-Joshua II matchup that is taking place in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Breaking: The IBF has agreed to grant Andy Ruiz Jr. an exception to bypass mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in order to fight Anthony Joshua in their rematch but with stipulations, including that the rematch must take place on or before Dec. 7 and that… https://t.co/SYYvkORsG1
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) August 13, 2019
If Ruiz is victorious against Joshua, it is a safe assumption that he would want to take on WBC titleholder and fellow Premier Boxing Champion (PBC) stablemate, Deontay Wilder over Pulev. If that happens and they strip Ruiz of the belt, the current landscape of the IBF would matchup Pulev with number three ranked contender Adam Kownacki for the vacant title.
The WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk seems to not matter to Ruiz, as he would likely drop that belt as fighters on PBC doesn’t acknowledge the WBO. The WBA mandatory challenger Trevor Bryan is currently slated to take on the “regular” champion Manuel Charr at some point, as that match was agreed to back in May.
The announcement of the IBF extending Ruiz will buy more time but in the end, will make the heavyweight landscape hard in terms of making an undisputed champion. In the event Joshua wins the rematch and depending on how that fight plays out, we could end up with a part three blowing all of these mandatories out of the picture altogether.
Time will tell how all of these will all play out, but the sanctioning bodies so far seem to have their say in on the heavyweight division.