IBF Mandating Oleksandr Usyk To Fight Hrgovic Next?
After defeating Anthony Joshua for the second time in August and retaining his three heavyweight title belts, Oleksandr Usyk said in no uncertain terms that the only fight he was interested in next was against lineal and WBC champion Tyson Fury for the undisputed crown.
Fury also said that was the fight he wanted, although with Usyk taking the rest of 2022 off, Fury returns for a stay-busy fight against old pal Dereck Chisora, who he faces for the third time on Dec. 3 with plans to face Usyk in early 2023.
Now that might have to wait if the fight is to be for the undisputed title.
The reason is because Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said in an interview during his event on DAZN on Saturday night that the IBF has notified the teams of Usyk and mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic that they should begin negotiating the bout.
Hearn wants to promote Usyk-Hrgovic
Hearn, who co-promotes Hrgovic with Wasserman Boxing, is not even interested in getting into a negotiation with Usyk’s team, preferring instead to go directly to a purse bid.
“We just got the news through that Oleksandr Usyk has been ordered to fight Filip Hrgovic next,” Hearn said during the interview. “He’s the mandatory challenger. We’ve actually requested an immediate purse bid for that fight. That’s going to be next for Oleksandr Usyk.”
Hear my extended thoughts from the “Fight Freaks Unite Recap” on whether the IBF and Hrgovic will stand in the way of Usyk-Fury from happening by clicking below,
Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), 35, a southpaw from Ukraine and the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, could, of course, ditch the IBF title and seek to face Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs), 34, of England, next (as long as he defeats Chisora) but that would seem unlikely because Usyk’s long-stated goal is to be the undisputed champion and without all four belts he cannot achieve that status.
Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KOs), 30, of Croatia, became the IBF mandatory challenger via 12-round unanimous decision over China’s Zhang Zhilei in their title elimination bout on Aug. 20 on the Usyk-Joshua II undercard.