EDDIE HEARN today confirmed he has held talks with Joseph Parker’s team over the New Zealander’s mandated shot at IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

The fight will be ordered in November with a January deadline, though those dates are not set in stone and Joshua, promoted by Hearn, could have another voluntary defence before the end of 2016.

Parker will fight Alexander Dimitrenko on October 1, which makes him an unlikely option for ‘AJ’ this year.

“We’re working on Joshua’s date, he’s having a rest now. It’ll definitely be before the end of the year, probably November,” Hearn told Boxing News.

“We like the Parker fight, Josh wants the fight. [Kubrat] Pulev and [Bermane] Stiverne are also there and I think it’ll be one of those three.

“I’m talking to Parker’s team, they’re fighting on October 1 against Dimitrenko, I think they’re happy to wait for that [Joshua] fight. He’s a good fighter and they know he’s getting better, so do they want to sling him in right now or wait a bit?”

Any one of those would be a credible defence for Joshua, who retained his title against an overmatched but brave Dominic Breazeale in June.

With Parker’s busy schedule, Pulev, a former world title challenger currently ranked highly by the IBF, and Stiverne, a former WBC ruler, could be the likeliest options for Joshua’s next fight.

Looking further ahead, Hearn hopes for superfights against the likes of the Tyson Fury-Wladimir Klitschko rematch (which still awaits a new date after being postponed) and David Haye.

“So we could fight Pulev or Stiverne in November and then Parker in March. They’re three tough fights for Joshua, and who knows what’s happening with the Fury-Klitschko fight, and there’s Haye so they’re fights we’re looking at for next summer,” he said.

“We sort of have to plan Joshua ahead three fights at a time, but it’s difficult because people say they want to fight him but when it comes to it, they don’t.”