Anthony Joshua and his camp have cleared the biggest hurdle standing in the way of an immediate world title rematch with Wladimir Klitschko.
Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn explained this week he believes a second instalment of the heavyweight showdown that rocked Wembley Stadium in April "is happening," adding he expected to receive confirmation from the Klitschko camp later this week.
However, Kubrat Pulev's mandatory title shot for the Londoner's IBF crown threatened to delay the proposed rematch. But having taken their case to the boxing governing body, the IBF have now granted Joshua an exception to fight Klitschko first, bypassing the proposed Pulev fight for now, Sky Sports report.
Pulev must now wait for his title shot and will take on the winner of the Joshua vs Klitschko II.
Without the exception, Joshua would have had no choice but to provide the mandatory defence to the number one contender in Bulgarian veteran Pulev, or face being stripped of the belt.
Joshua also took the WBA crown when he stopped Klitschko in front of 90,000 people on 29 April, consigning the former champion to his second consecutive loss following an 11-year undefeated streak.
The Klitschko camp are yet to officially confirm the decision to activate a rematch clause but in the immediate aftermath of his defeat at Wembley, the 41-year-old insisted he was interested in another bout right away.
Speaking to Sky Sports this week, Hearn revealed a number of venues are being considered with Cardiff's Principality Stadium, which hosted the 2017 Champions League final just last week, a possible candidate.
"So many offers this week - Nigeria, Dubai, America, and also we have the opportunity of Cardiff here in the UK," Hearn said.
"Financially, Cardiff's not the best choice, but also at the same time, if it's not broke don't fix it, and we have that mentality with 'AJ' moving forward.
"Over the next two weeks we are going to look at all those opportunities and sift out the ones that are real and the ones that make sense, and look at where the fight will be. But in our minds moving forward, it's Wladimir Klitschko next."