ANTHONY JOSHUA next fight on April 9 will not be against Dereck Chisora – although the pair may well meet in future – after the unbeaten British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion turned down the chance to meet the former world title challenger for the vacant European title. After Robert Helenius relinquished the belt, Joshua was the first available contender to meet mandated challenger Chisora to settle the championship vacancy. But Joshua has rejected that chance and Chisora will now take on Kubrat Pulev, the dangerous Bulgarian who sits just below Joshua in the EBU ratings. Since both Chisora and Pulev are promoted by Sauerland, no purse bids are necessary and the EBU simply await a date and venue from their team.

“Unfortunately Joshua did not accept to dispute the EBU title.” confirmed EBU General Secretary Enza Jacoponi. “So the vacant title will be disputed between Derek Chisora and Kubrat Pulev.”

So who will face Watford’s “AJ” on April 9 in London? His opponent will be announced by promoters Matchroom this week and umours towards the end of last week suggested France-based Cameroonian Carlos Takam, 33-2-1 (25) in a final eliminator for the IBF title currently held by Charles Martin. Aside from Erkan Teper, whose future is in the balance following a recent positive drug test, Joshua and Takam are the IBF’s highest ranked contenders, so this is wholly feasible. Boxing News has, as yet, been unable to reach either Takam’s manager of the IBF for further comment.