Heavyweight contenders Kubrat Pulev and Dereck Chisora have both gotten opportunities to fight for a world title and both were soundly beaten by a Klitschko brother.
Pulev got beaten in the fifth round by Wladimir Klitschko in the 2014 knockout of the year, and Chisora survived the distance in a one-sided loss to Wladimir's big brother, Vitali Klitschko, in 2012.
Now Pulev and Chisora will square off with another heavyweight world title shot at stake when they meet in a title elimination fight on May 7 at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany, Team Sauerland announced on Tuesday.
The Pulev-Chisora winner will move one step closer to becoming the mandatory challenger for the winner of the April 9 bout between titleholder Charles Martin and 2012 British Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua. That winner first faces a mandatory against the Joseph Parker-Carlos Takam winner. In addition, Pulev and Chisora, both former European champions, will also be fighting for the vacant European title.
"We're delighted to deliver fans this mouthwatering contest between two of the biggest names in the heavyweight division," promoter Kalle Sauerland said. "Not only is the prestigious European belt on the line, but also a chance to challenge for the IBF world title. It's all or nothing. Winner takes it all. This is a fight that guarantees excitement."
After the brutal knockout loss to Klitschko, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Pulev (22-1, 12 KOs), 34, of Bulgaria, took 11 months off, but he has won two fights in a row against low-level opponents since.
"This is a very important fight for me," Pulev said. "I learned a lot from the Klitschko fight, but now I'm back and stronger than ever. Dereck is a good boxer, but I'm better, and I know I can beat him. I'm looking forward to the challenge and the chance to win back the European title. I'm sure the arena in Hamburg will be full of Bulgarians cheering me to victory.
"I know I have what it takes to be world champion, and next time I will be successful. But for now, all my focus is on May 7 and Chisora. This is a fight I can't afford to lose."
The 6-1, 255-pound Chisora (25-5, 17 KOs), 32, of England, is riding a five-fight winning streak (four by knockout) against lesser opponents since Tyson Fury knocked him out in the 10th round of their 2014 rematch; Fury went on to outpoint Wladimir Klitschko for the recognized world heavyweight championship in November.
"Pulev has been on my radar for a while now," Chisora said. "He's a great athlete and he has my respect, but come fight night, I'm not messing around. I'm coming to mess this guy up. I'm going to outwork him and out-strength him. I'll be all over him from the first bell.
"I'm excited for the opportunity. This is a chance for me to prove myself against one of the top fighters in the division and get back into a position to challenge for the world title. I'm in great shape. I'm training harder than ever and I'm ready to go. This is going to be one my best fights ever."