(Reuters) - Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF world title against Carlos Takam after Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev withdrew due to a shoulder injury.
The 28-year-old will take on Frenchman Takam in Cardiff on Oct. 28, in his first bout since defeating Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBA title in April.
"I received a call from Kalle Sauerland ... to inform me that Pulev had injured his shoulder and maybe ruled out of the fight – this was later confirmed by his doctor," promoter Eddie Hearn said in a statement.
"IBF rules state that the mandatory will go to the next fighter in line which is Carlos Takam."
Takam is ranked third in the IBF rankings and Hearn believes Joshua will face a tough challenge against the 36-year-old.
"It's a difficult position for AJ having prepared meticulously for the style and height of Pulev, he now faces a completely different style and challenge in Takam – this hasn't happened in his career before but he is ready," Hearn added.
Joshua is undefeated in 19 fights since turning professional in 2013 and will face Cuban Luis Ortiz, the mandatory challenger for his WBA title, after the Takam fight.
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru)