ANTHONY JOSHUA will be ordered to face his mandatory challenger Joseph Parker in November this year, with a view to facing him before January, the IBF confirmed yesterday.

Joshua successfully defended his heavyweight crown for the first time on Saturday against hand-picked Dominic Breazeale, who crumbled in the seventh.

Parker, who earned his mandatory status by outpointing Carlos Takam last month, looks set to take on the Watford behemoth next.

“We will notify Anthony Joshua that he must fight mandatory challenger Joseph Parker on November 9, 2016. The mandatory due date is January 9, 2017,” the IBF confirmed to Boxing News.

That means that negotiations should begin in November after Joshua and his team have been formally notified of the situation – though there is nothing stopping the two sides coming together before then.

Indeed, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has expressed his desire to match the two unbeaten punchers next, for Joshua’s next outing in November. Obviously, if that were to be against Parker, a deal would need to be struck way before that month. There is a precedent in the IBF’s rulings for a mandatory defence to be made early.

The IBF also clarified that January 9 is the date Joshua should fight Parker on or before – as long as all goes to plan. According to the IBF rules, a deal must be made within 30 days of the champion being notified of their mandatory obligation (meaning that, in this instance, a deal must be in place by December 9), or else the fight goes to purse bids.

As Joshua was not the leading available contender when he demolished then IBF champion Charles Martin on April 9, under the IBF rules he has to make a mandatory defence within nine months of winning the title – hence the January 9 deadline.

If the fight does go to purse bids, or there are delays in negotiations, that deadline is unlikely to be met.

As with the other sanctioning bodies, only a unification bout can take precedence over a mandatory obligation, however Joshua would need prior permission from the IBF to fight one of the other champions – currently Deontay Wilder (WBC) and Tyson Fury (WBO & WBA).