British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua will now face Cuba’s Luis Oritz for the right to defend his world title, according to the WBA.
27-year old Joshua had been due to face Wladimir Klitschko in a rematch of his title win, but the Ukrainian announced his retirement from the sport on Thursday.
Both Joshua and Oritz now have 30 days to agree the fight and Joshua, who beat Klitschko at Wembley in April, has also now been told he must face IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev before December 2 or risk being stripped of his title.
Plans had been in place for Joshua to fight Klitschko in Las Vegas on November 11 and Oritz’s manager Jay Jimenez has said his fighter could fill the void.
Speaking to Boxingscene, Jimenez said: ‘We are next. We have no problem fighting on that date of November 11th in Las Vegas. Our mandatory takes precedent over Pulev’s and they know that.’
38-year-old Oritz has 23 knockouts from 27 wins, while Pulev, 36, has one defeat in 26 fights, with 13 stoppages.
Joshua currently holds two of the four major boxing title belts. New Zealand’s Joseph Parker holds the WBO belt, while American fighter Deontay Wilder is the WBC champion.