Immediate action has been taken to fill the latest vacancy left behind by Jermell Charlo. has confirmed that the IBF has ordered a vacant junior middleweight title fight between Bakhram Murtazaliev and Jack Culcay. The winner will win the title recently relinquished by Houston’s Charlo, though there is still the matter of reaching a deal to get to that point.

“Be advised that # 1 Bakhram Murtazaliev and # 2 Jack Culcay are the highest ranked available contenders in the IBF Jr. Middleweight division and are being ordered to participate in a Vacant Championship title bout,” IBF Championship Chairman Carlos Ortiz stated to both parties in a letter obtained by Boxing Scene. “The winner will be the IBF Jr. Middleweight Champion.”

The letter stated that the two sides have until December 29 to reach terms. However, the normal 30-day period would put the deadline at December 20.

Russia’s Murtazaliev is promoted by Main Events and managed by Egis Klimas. Germany’s Culcay is promoted by AGON Sports, whose company has a history of sending fights to—and winning—purse bid hearings.

As Boxing Scene previously reported, both parties were prepared to enter talks for such a fight as the likelihood increased that Charlo (35-2-1, 19KOs) would vacate his title. Murtazaliev was the mandatory challenger since November 2019 but was offered a step-aside package multiple times to allow Charlo to further unify the divisional titles and pursue more lucrative fights.

Charlo ran out of Teflon after his failed bid versus undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (60-2-2, 39KOs) on September 30 in Las Vegas. The fight already cost him the WBO 154-pound title, which he had to give up the moment he entered the ring for the Showtime Pay-Per-View event. The WBO agreed to acknowledge him as the undisputed champion until the pre-fight introductions, at which point Tim Tszyu (23-0, 16KOs) was elevated from interim to full WBO titleholder.

Charlo still holds the WBC and WBA titles.

Murtazaliev (22-0, 15KOs) became the mandatory after a November 2019 win over Jorge Fortea in their title eliminator. He has since fought four times, all buried on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) non-televised undercards and versus non-descript competition.

Culcay (33-4, 14KOs) has won eight in a row since his return to the junior middleweight division.

The former secondary junior middleweight titlist lost to Demetrius Andrade in their March 2017 WBA 'Regular' title fight. A loss to then-unbeaten Maciej Sulecki seven months later sent Culcay to the middleweight division, where he won three in a row before a twelve-round loss to Sergiy Derevyanchenkon in their April 2019 IBF middleweight title eliminator in Minneapolis.

A return to 154 and to Germany has seen Culcay resurface atop the IBF rankings, though mostly versus middling opposition.

Neither fighter can accept another bout once a title fight or final eliminator is ordered, per IBF Rule 9C. Any fighter who abandons talks or the purse bid process will receive a demotion in the rankings plus a six-month probation period where they cannot participate in an IBF-sanctioned fight.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox