With a rematch against Tyson Fury postponed, Deontay Wilder will now defend his heavyweight title against Dominic Breazeale after being ordered to face his mandatory challenger by the WBC.
With negotiations, also ordered by the WBC, for the rematch between Wilder and Tyson Fury ending without an agreement, Breazeale is almost certain to become his next challenger in New York on May 18.
Fury intends to face at least one lower-profile opponent as part of his recently signed big-money deal with ESPN.
With IBF, WBA and WBO champion Anthony Joshua fighting Jarrell Miller in New York on June 1, the world's three leading heavyweights will again be separately engaged.
Though unsurprising, the development will also again frustrate Dillian Whyte who, after missing out on Joshua, had targeted both Wilder and Breazeale.
"WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder shall fulfil his mandatory obligations by fighting Dominic Breazeale next," the WBC wrote in a statement.
"This order constitutes the start of the free negotiations period for champion Wilder's mandatory defence of his title.
"If no agreement is reached between the camps, the WBC shall conduct a purse offer ceremony on April 4, 2019 at the WBC offices in Mexico City."
Breazeale, like Wilder aged 33, lost to Joshua in seven rounds for the IBF title in June 2016. Wilder did not win for the first time in 41 fights as a professional when drawing with Fury last December.