The World Boxing Council (WBC) have officially ordered light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev to defend his title against Liverpool’s Callum Smith next.
The report comes courtesy of Chris McKenna at the Daily Star, who says parties have until April 11th to agree a deal before a purse bid is called.
Beterbiev most recently halted Anthony Yarde in eight rounds at the Copperbox Arena in London to defend his WBC, WBO and IBF belts at 175lbs.
The fight maintained Beterbiev’s 100% knockout record in his 18 professional contests so far.
The 38 year old has spoken of his desire to take on WBA champion Dmitry Bivol in a fight which would crown an undisputed champion in the light-heavyweight division.
It appears that Beterbiev must now face mandatory challenger Smith next however if he wishes to keep hold of his WBC strap.
Smith was set to face Pawel Stepien at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool at the weekend.
However, the Liverpudlian was forced to withdraw through injury two weeks out from fight night.
Smith’s next contest will now likely be against the champion Beterbiev as both parties look to kickstart negotiations.