Boxing news: IBF grant exception to allow Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua rematch, winner must face Kubrat Pulev

The Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua rematch will go ahead with all three heavyweight titles on the line.

Ruiz stunned AJ to claim his WBA, IBF and WBO belts on June 1 at MSG, though there was debate over whether he’d be able to hang onto all of them in the aftermath.

Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua II has been announced for December

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Both the IBF and WBO have mandatory challengers due soon, but this will not affect the rematch – which is disputably scheduled for December 7 in Saudi Arabia.

The WBO previously designated Oleksandr Usyk as their challenger, though are happy to allow the rematch to take place first before ordering the winner to face the Ukrainian.

And now the IBF have made a similar decision, with Kubrat Pulev set down as mandatory.

Pulev’s team had attempted to push the governing body to order Ruiz to defend his belt against the Bulgarian now.

Oleksandr Usyk is the WBO heavyweight mandatory challenger
Kubrat Pulev is the IBF heavyweight mandatory challenger

As he is contracted to fight Joshua again, this would have likely resulted in the Mexican-American being stripped and Pulev getting a vacant title shot.

In the end, the IBF listened to both parties and agreed to allow Ruiz to rematch AJ, though this does cause a potential dilemma for the winner.

When Ruiz vs Joshua II is all said and done, the WBO will order Usyk to face the winner and the IBF will order Pulev to do the same.


Unless the champion wants to have two fights in one night, it is very possible that he could be forced to vacate one of his titles.

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