The IBF is moving forward with plans to create a mandatory challenger for new super bantamweight champion TJ Doheny.
According to ESPN, the IBF has ordered Cesar Juarez and Thomas Ward to fight in a title eliminator where the winner becomes the new No. 1 contender for the IBF title at 122 pounds. In the latest IBF rankings, Juarez is currently ranked No. 6 while Ward is ranked No. 8.
Should either man announce that they are not going forward with the fight, then the IBF will go down the rankings to find the next man available to fight. The next-highest ranked fighter would be Tomoki Kameda, ranked No. 3, but he could be Doheny’s first title defense. As such, moving down from the list, if one were to exclude now-former champion Ryosuke Iwasa who is ranked No. 4, then the next man up would be No. 5 Shingo Wake, who fought back in July.
Doheny became the IBF champion about a month ago when he traveled to Tokyo and defeated now-former champion Ryosuke Iwasa at Korakuen Hall. Doheny won his first world title while ending Iwasa’s 11-month reign as champion.
Juarez is a former WBO super bantamweight title contender who is currently riding a three-fight win streak since losing an interim WBO title fight against Isaac Dogboe. Juarez, who sports a 23-6 record, has previously held the WBO Intercontinental title at 122 pounds.
Ward is the IBF’s European champion and has won all 24 of his pro fights. Ward has previously been announced to fight on the October 13 Matchroom Boxing card in Newcastle, but an opponent has yet to be named.