Anthony Joshua had agreed Kubrat Pulev fight before Andy Ruiz Jr shock loss

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Anthony Joshua was beaten by Ruiz in New York in June for his first professional defeat.

It mean the Brit lost his world heavyweight belts but will look to get them back when the rematch with Ruiz takes place in Saudi Arabia on December 7.

But it wasn’t meant to be like that for Joshua, it seems.

Joshua appeared to be on a collision course for a undisputed bout with Deontay Wilder before the defeat to Ruiz.

Pulev will fight the winner of the rematch having been named mandatory challenger by the IBF.

It comes two years after Pulev was expected to face former champion Joshua in 2017 before pulling out due to injury.

And Pulev’s team has revealed that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had initially set up a fight against the Bulgarian for later this year.

“Eddie is running this heavyweight title like it’s his own private enterprise,” said Ivaylo Gotzev of Epic Sports.

“The bottom line is, Pulev originally fought an IBF eliminator over three years ago. He was next in line with his IBF mandatory status.

“The IBF is an organisation that has set a precedent for following their written rules according to rule 5.A.1.

“Ruiz’s rematch clause against Joshua does not affect his obligation to defend his title against the IBF leading available contender.

“Mandatory obligations supersede a promoter’s promotional rights. The IBF should not set aside their rules over the contractual details of a past fight.

“Two months have gone by since the Joshua bubble burst. No (official) deal has yet been confirmed (by Team Ruiz), only the occasional blurb by Eddie Hearn.

“He was talking to us for a November date at Wembley Stadium. Andy Ruiz ruined those plans.

“Andy is the new face of heavyweight boxing and we respect his fighting abilities. Pulev vs Ruiz will be a formidable battle.”

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