Joe Joyce could have to face Zhang Zhilei in China if he goes ahead with plans for an immediate rematch.
The British heavyweight activated a contract clause for an immediate rematch after suffering a sixth-round knockout loss to Zhang at The Copper Box Arena in London last month.
But Joyce could now be forced to travel to Zhang’s home country, and talks continue over a possible venue and date for the comeback fight.
Zhang has also been linked with a fight against Tyson Fury, who has no opponent after negotiations broke down between the British WBC champion and unified title holder Oleksandr Usyk.
Joyce then stepped in to enforce the rematch, despite suffering a severely swollen eye in a disastrous loss to Zhang, a big-hitting southpaw.
Can Fury vs Usyk be revived?
Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk has hinted that he is open to resuming negotiations with Fury following the Ukrainian’s upcoming title defense against Daniel Dubois.
Londoner Dubois is the mandatory challenger for the WBA heavyweight title, one of Usyk’s three major championships.
Ukrainian promoter Alex Krassyuk said sky sports: “Now we are concentrating on Dubois as the next step.”
But in response to reports that Bob Arum, the co-promoter of WBC heavyweight champion Fury, was in talks to host the heavyweight championship fight in Saudi Arabia, Krassyuk said: “He’s saying he had conversations with the Saudi people about Fury vs. Usyk. We don’t.”
Krassyuk did not rule out the possibility of that fight still taking place, noting, “Everything else is possible after Usyk wins.”