The main heavyweight boxing challenger Tyson Fury has been ordered to fight Deontay Wilder for a third time, casting doubt over a proposed August super bout with Anthony Joshua.
Fury, 32, won the WBC world heavyweight title from Wilder in a rematch in February 2020 after an initial draw.
The pair were due to fight again but delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic prompted Fury to seek an alternative with a bout with Anthony Joshua.
On Monday a US judge ruled in mediation that Wilder has a right to face Fury for a third time before 15 September.
The American’s team had long argued their fighter had a contractual right to a third fight with Fury.
But after delays caused by the pandemic led to a July 2020 contest being postponed, Wilder’s team sought to move the bout to 2021.
Fury refused the 2021 date and said he would move on prompting mediation overseen by American judge Daniel Weinstein, who has now sided with Wilder and set a 15 September deadline for a third contest.
“Until we can reach an accommodation with Deontay Wilder’s people, I can’t say that [Fury’s fight with Joshua] will definitely happen,” Fury’s promoter Frank Warren told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
“But we are working hard to get that over the line. We were talking last night and hopefully we can do that. If not then Tyson, if he wishes, will go to the fight with Wilder. They’re the only two options.”
Fury’s US promoters Top Rank did not wish to comment on the development when contacted by BBC Sport.