Anthony Joshua has until January 31 to agree on terms to fight Kubrat Pulev or face losing his IBF world title.
After Joshua, 30, regained his unified belts by exacting revenge on Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia last month, he was given a heavyweight headache after being ordered to fight Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk.
The IBF have told AJ he must defend his title against Pulev – who pulled out of facing the Brit in 2017 – next while Usyk is in line for the WBO belt.
But it seems the Watford hero will face ex-European champion Pulev next, after both fighters requested an extension to their negotiation deadline.
However, if a deal cannot be finalised, Joshua risks being stripped of his IBF gold.
But promoter Eddie Hearn plans to negotiate a deal with the WBO that will see Usyk face Brit heavyweight Derek Chisora before facing the winner of AJ and Pulev.
But if Joshua faces Pulev next and has to vacate the WBO belt, ex-opponent and champion Joseph Parker will contest for the strap against Usyk.