Tony Bellew looks certain to fight Adonis Stevenson for the WBC light-heavyweight title after the sanctioning body forced the champion to make a mandatory defence.
Promoter Eddie Hearn revealed the WBC had written to him to confirm the popular Evertonian will get his shot at the title later this year.
Stevenson stunned Chad Dawson with a first round knockout to claim the belt while Bellew last month defeated Isaac Chilemba at the second time of asking, to put himself first in line.
"We have received confirmation that Stevenson must fight Bellew next, and the negotiation period will be 28 days after which the fight will go to purse bids," Hearn told Sky Sports. "At that point the fight becomes real.
"He's worked really hard to get to that mandatory position and all you read or hear is 'Stevenson will fight Tavoris Cloud,' or 'Stevenson will fight Bernard Hopkins'.
"So we wrote to the WBC and said we'd had two final eliminators basically, so we thought Bellew should be next and after they had their meetings they agreed.
"Stevenson was a voluntary defence for Dawson and he moved up from super-middleweight and got the shot.
"If he was mandatory, it would be harsh to immediately force a mandatory on him. But when the mandatory is due, it's due - it doesn't matter who the champion is."