‘Smokin’ Joe Mullender (11-2) will fight for IBF European middleweight title at the Brentwood Centre on October 20 - opponent yet to be confirmed.
The ex-English titlist won the vacant IBF strap with an 11-round TKO of Welsh Area champion Lee Churcher (13-4-1) last December at the Copper Box Arena on the undercard of James DeGale’s shock world title defeat to Caleb Truax.
The middleweight from Brentwood, trained by Jamie Williams at the Legends Gym, has been out of action all year as he has been under investigation for testing positive for a banned substance.
The 31-year-old was found to have the prohibited substance dimethylbutylamine in his system following a post-fight drug test and was issued with a four-month ban for the anti-doping offense, which was backdated to January 12 2018.
However, the findings ruled that the amount present was unlikely to have any effect on the athlete and, as the ingredient had not been listed on the label of the offending product, UKAD made it very clear that they were not accusing Mullender of cheating or acting intentionally.
The UK Anti-Doping authority have three categories of bans and the lightest of those groups were imposed on Mullender as a result of the inquiry, which is classed in their reports as a “light degree of fault”.
Now that the hearing is behind him, the 160-pounder is looking ahead to the 42nd weekend of the year to contest the IBF strap he plans to earn a world ranking with. Fellow Brits Martin Murray, Jason Welborn, Liam Cameron and Ireland’s Gary O’Sullivan all occupy spots in the top 15, of which Mullender wishes to break into.
Mullender was crowned the new English middleweight champion back in June after beating former champion and club mate Lee Markham in their rematch to avenge a previous loss at the O2 Arena in 2016.
He decided to vacate his English title in September in order to secure a shot at the IBF title but is still determined to bag a British title showdown with either the winner of champion Jason Welborn or challenger Mark Heffron early next year.