Los Angeles (AFP) - Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has been ordered to defend his title against Dominic Breazeale following the collapse of a proposed rematch with Tyson Fury, the World Boxing Council (WBC) said on Wednesday.
A WBC statement said mandatory challenger Breazeale would be given a shot at the title after the sanctioning body cancelled an ordered Wilder-Fury rematch.
"WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder shall fulfill his mandatory obligations by fighting Dominic Breazeale next," the WBC said.
Wilder and Breazeale have until April 4 to reach an agreement on terms and conditions for a fight, the WBC added. If no agreement is reached the WBC will hold a purse bid for the fight.
ESPN reported that both the Wilder and Breazeale camps were optimistic of reaching agreement however, with a May 18 date at New York's Barclays Center being lined up for the fight.
"We're hoping to get it done," Wilder's co-manager Shelly Finkel told ESPN.
"Hopefully, it will happen this week or next week and hopefully it's done. At this point it's not done. But I think (Breazeale) is a competitive and viable opponent."
Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) will be making his ninth title defense against Breazeale, who has 20 victories and one defeat, including 18 knockouts.
Wilder and Fury fought an epic draw in Los Angeles in December, reigniting interest in the heavyweight division.
However hopes of a swift rematch were thrown into disarray when Fury signed a multi-fight deal with the ESPN network last month, immediately complicating negotiations for a return bout.
Wilder and Fury have continued to trade verbal jabs through the media, with Wilder on Wednesday branding Fury a "boring fighter."
"The only thing good about him is his mouth," Wilder told Boxing Scene. "He just talks. That's it."
Fury responded on Twitter: "Is that why @espn gave me the $100mil deal and not you?," he said.
"What you mean is your nothing without the GYPSYKING."