IBF order Dillian Whyte to fight Kubrat Pulev to determine number one contender

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte 23-1 (17) is suddenly a man in much demand after his stunning sixth round knockout of Australian Lucas Browne at London’s O2 Arena on March 24.

Already the leading contender for American WBC champion Deontay Wilder’s belt, promoter Eddie Hearn has moved quickly to offer Whyte a fight with WBA and WBO number one Alexander Povektin 34-1 (24).

The 38-year-old Russian was a big winner on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker heavyweight unification fight at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday night when he stretched 6-foot-8 Olympic bronze medallist David Price with a perfectly timed left hook in five rounds.

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But just as the heavyweight picture started to gain a bit of clarity, the IBF have stepped in to request a box-off between Whyte and Kubrat Pulev to determine their number one contender. The IBF title, along with the WBO and WBA, are in the possession of Joshua.

Hearn tweeted the news on Monday night.

“Just received a letter from the IBF ordering a final eliminator for the mandatory position between @DillianWhyte and @KubratPulev – interesting times for the division!”

In the IBF’s February rankings the number one contender position in the heavyweight division is vacant. Pulev is ranked number two, followed by Jarrell Miller, then Whyte.

Bulgarian hardman Pulev 25-1 (13) was scheduled for face Joshua in October last year for the WBA and IBF titles until he was forced to withdraw after tearing a shoulder muscle. He was replaced by Carlos Takam, who took the fight on less than two weeks’ notice.

Speaking about the injury at the time, Pulev said: “I know that in my position almost everyone would choose to get into the ring in Cardiff, despite everything, and collect a few million. Anyone else, but not me.”

The 36-year-old hasn’t fought in almost a year, when he took 12 rounds to defeat American fringe contender Kevin Johnson on points.


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