Joe Joyce might have to face Zhilei Zhang in China if he presses ahead with plans for an immediate rematch.
The British heavyweight has activated a contractual clause for an immediate rematch after he suffered a sixth-round stoppage loss to Zhang at The Copper Box Arena in London last month.
But Joyce could now be required to travel to Zhang’s home country, with talks continuing about the potential venue and date for the return bout.
Zhang has also been linked with a fight against Tyson Fury, who is without an opponent after negotiations broke down between Britain’s WBC champion and unified title holder Oleksandr Usyk.
Joyce then stepped in to enforce the rematch, despite suffering a badly swollen eye in a disastrous loss to Zhang, a big-punching 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 next title defence against Daniel Dubois.
Londoner Dubois is the mandatory challenger for the WBA heavyweight title, one of the three major championships that Usyk holds.
The Ukrainian’s promoter Alex Krassyuk told Sky Sports: “We are now concentrated on Dubois as the next step.”
But responding to reports that Bob Arum, the co-promoter of WBC heavyweight champion Fury, was in talks to stage the heavyweight championship fight in Saudi Arabia, Krassyuk said: “He is saying that he had talks with Saudi people on Fury vs Usyk. Not us.”
Krassyuk did not rule out the possibility of that fight still taking place, noting: “Everything else is possible after Usyk wins.”