Andy Ruiz Jr is set for a summer return to the ring and will face either Adam Kownacki or Chris Arreola, according to reports.
The 30-year-old Mexican-American scored a shock seventh-round knockout victory over Anthony Joshua in June to claim the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight championships.
His reign was short-lived though, with Joshua besting him on points in an immediate rematch in December.
But by his own admission, Ruiz was underprepared for the fight, failed to train properly and came in at his highest weight in a decade at 283.5 pounds.
Last week Ruiz said he was ready to fight Tyson Fury after the Gypsy King claimed the WBC heavyweight title with victory over Deontay Wilder late last month.
But according to The Athletic, it is Kownacki and Arreola who are in the frame for Ruiz’s planned August return.
The 30-year-old Kownacki 20-0 (15) is expected to keep his undefeated record intact when he clashes with Finland’s Robert Helenius 29-3 (18) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night.
Arreola 38-6-1 (33), who is about to turn 39, engaged in an entertaining back-and-forth brawl with Kownacki back in August.
The veteran has not been in action since.
Ruiz 33-2 (22) will be preparing for his comeback with a new trainer after parting ways with Manny Robles following his defeat to Joshua.
“Andy was just doing whatever the hell he wanted to do. The dad, obviously with him being the manager, he just had no control over his son. None of us had control of him, for that matter,” Robles said in January.
“So I just saw it coming, it wasn’t going to work because he wasn’t listening. He’s not listening to me, he’s not listening to his dad, he’s not listening to anybody. He said it himself after the press conference.
“Fortunately for me, Andy took the blame on himself and didn’t sit there like a majority of fighters and blame the coach.”