Kell Brook and Devon Alexander must fight next

Alexander must fight Brook for world title, warns IBF as negotiations continue

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UPDATED:

18:31 GMT, 29 October 2012

Devon Alexander has been ordered to defend his IBF welterweight title against mandatory challenger Kell Brook or risk losing his belt.

The 25-year-old American won the strap when he outpointed Randall Bailey on October 20, just hours after Brook, 26, knocked out Hector Saldivia in the final eliminator.

And the IBF now expect Alexander and Brook to fight before the end of February.

Champion: Devon Alexander (right) must fight Kell Brook next

Champion: Devon Alexander (right) must fight Kell Brook next

Both camps are holding out for home advantage with Brook's promoter Eddie Hearn keen to bring the bout to Sheffield.

But if an agreement cannot be reached, the clash will go to purse bids by the end of November.

'They (Team Alexander) have not been given a deadline. If things go as planned the two should fight within about 135 days,' IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker told World Boxing News.

'The fight would then go to bids if the parties cannot come to an agreement as Brook is his mandatory and Alexander can’t fight an optional.'

Alexander's trainer Kevin Cunningham insists his charge wants to fight on home soil.

Bidding war: Eddie Hearn (right) wants Brook to fight in Sheffield

Bidding war: Eddie Hearn (right) wants Brook to fight in Sheffield

'I don't see anything special about Kell Brook,' he told ESPN. 'He can be next if he comes to the US We plan on defending the title and we will fight Brook anywhere in the US.'

But Hearn remains confident he can bring the title fight to Sheffield.

'We will be doing all we can to try and make this fight in the UK,' he said. 'I read Kevin Cunningham's comments and, with all due respect, it's not up to him or Devon where the fight is.

'We have now entered an official negotiation period with his team, and if we can't find a middle ground, then we will go to purse bids. If I win the purse bids, then Alexander has no choice but to come and fight in England or vacate the title.

'I know we can easily fill the 12,000-seat Sheffield Arena, and we also have significant domestic and international TV backing. If we are in a purse bid situation, I am confident we can be very competitive.'