Heavyweight contender Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov was in an ideal position, with two avenues to pick from for a shot at a title, and he and his team made their call Thursday.
Glazkov passed on a Jan. 16 shot against WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder, a deal that was far down the road to being completed, and instead chose the mandatory IBF title shot he is due, Main Events promoter Kathy Duva told ESPN.com.
Duva said she was nearly done with a deal for Glazkov to fight Wilder on Showtime at the Barclays Center. She said she and promoter Lou DiBella, who will be promoting Wilder's next fight, had agreed on everything weeks ago with the exception of the options DiBella was asking for on Glazkov's future fights.
Options would entitle DiBella to be financially involved in a certain number of Glazkov fights at an agreed-upon percentage of the revenue in the event he defeated Wilder. In non-mandatory title fights, which is what Wilder-Glazkov would be, it is standard for promoters to get multiple options on challengers they don't promote.
While Duva and DiBella were bickering over the options and percentages, Tyson Fury upset long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday, winning a unanimous decision in Germany to claim the lineal world title and his three alphabet belts. Glazkov is the IBF mandatory challenger for Fury, and that bout is next up in the mandatory rotation.
But with Klitschko exercising his contractual right to an immediate rematch on Wednesday, it means Fury will not be available to defend the IBF belt against Glazkov, and it will soon become vacant. Beyond that, Fury was not interested in facing Glazkov in a fight that would generate only a tiny fraction of interest and money compared with a rematch with Klitschko.
Duva, Glazkov and manager Egis Klimas decided the better move would be to go for the vacant IBF belt rather than fight Wilder while also having to give up options on future Glazkov fights.
"We have now informed DiBella that we will pass on their offer of a fight with Deontay Wilder and have chosen to pursue the IBF heavyweight title instead," Duva said.
Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) will meet Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) in a rematch sometime between April and June. Wilder (35-0, 34 KOs) will fight another opponent on Jan. 16. Glazkov (21-0-1, 13 KOs), 31, a 2008 Olympic super heavyweight bronze medalist from Ukraine, who now lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, will box for the vacant IBF belt.
"The offer that I finally received from Lou (Wednesday) night was definitely an improvement over his previous proposals," Duva said. "But Lou still required that we give him two options on Glazkov. At this point, we have endured two months of foot dragging and deal changing from the other side. Now, with the fight only six weeks away, Lou suddenly comes up with a deal that I would have gladly signed two weeks ago.
"Why would we send our fighter into such an important bout without adequate time to prepare both physically and mentally, when we have another option for Glazkov to fight for and win the IBF heavyweight title?"
DiBella disputed Duva's characterization of the issues.
"I won't lower myself to her level," he said. "I sent her a completely reasonable proposal, and she took a week to respond. I think she was waiting to see what happened in Klitschko-Fury. But there is no promoter in boxing that doesn't require options in an optional title defense. Options are standard.
"She's being dishonest, but that is not shocking. I sent her something 10 days ago that was industry standard, and she responded with something that would not be acceptable to anyone in boxing. She sat on the paperwork awaiting the result of Klitschko-Fury. I'm not criticizing her for that, but tell the truth. Kathy simply could have said the truth: 'We elected to go in another direction.' No one would have faulted her for that. Instead, she chooses to take the low ground again."
Glazkov's opponent for the vacant belt could be Charles Martin (22-0-1, 20 KOs), 29, of Carson, California. He is the next contender, according to the IBF's ratings. However, Martin is scheduled to fight 2012 U.S. Olympian Dominic Breazeale on Dec. 12 (NBC) on a Premier Boxing Champions card at the AT&T Center in San Antonio and would have to win to maintain his position.