Boxing

Anthony Joshua.

Anthony Joshua could learn who his next opponent is next week

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Anthony Joshua is undoubtedly one of the most high profile sportsmen in the world right now. All the hype over his career was justified last weekend when he took Wladimir Klitschko 11 rounds in one of the most exciting fights of the past 20 years.

The 27-year-old IBF champions added the WBA 'super' title to his growing collection of awards thanks to his stoppage of the veteran Ukrainian, leaving promoter Eddie Hearn with plenty of work to do to negotiate his next fight.

It seems that everybody in the heavyweight division wants a piece of the Watford-born fighter, and while there are plenty of options, it seems that the choice in opponent might be taken out of his hands.

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According to Sky Sports, Joshua could learn as early as next week whether the IBF will force him to face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.

Promoters in both camps have confirmed that talks are ongoing, both with each other and with the IBF, though the final say will be with the commission.

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Heard is believed to be looking into the possibility of Joshua unifying the belts now that he is in possession of two, but the Olympic medalist could be stripped of his IBF title should he choose not to fulfil his obligation to take on the mandatory challenger.

"There's plenty of ongoing discussions right now regarding Anthony's next move - the more belts you accumulate, the more cluttered the situation becomes," Hearn said.

"It is our intention to navigate AJ to become the undisputed champion and capture every belt in the division. We certainly do not want to vacate belts, but we also want to make the best and biggest fights out there.

"We are working hard and I expect some further news next week."

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Pulev's promoted Kalle Sauerland admitted that there is a serious possibility that AJ could be stripped of his IBF title, but is hopeful that all parties can reach an agreement that would see the Bulgarian challenge for the belt at some point later in the year.

"Ultimately, the IBF will always decide themselves and they are not like some federations where you can make step aside deals, as it's called in boxing, where you are paid money to step aside," he said.

"That's just simply not possible with the IBF, so we have to find a solution where we have a certain degree of security where the people who are fighting for the world title - if the request was to have that rematch - then obviously both guys would have to sign something to agree to fight Pulev on certain terms and conditions.

"The IBF, I expect to come back, later this week, early next week."

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