Matchroom Boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn, has stated that the IBF has ordered Filip Hrgovic against Oleksandr Usyk next – and that it will prevent a Tyson Fury versus Oleksandr Usyk undisputed clash ‘for now.’
Hrgovic beat Zhilei Zhang on his last outing in Saudi Arabia by unanimous points decision in what was a tough test for the Croatian heavyweight.
In an interview with IFL TV, Hearn claimed that the IBF have called for immediate purse bids for Usyk to fight Hrgovic, putting an undisputed fight with Tyson Fury in peril.
“I already spoke to some people involved in that fight who [are] obviously quite upset that it’s going to stop Fury – Usyk for now. But at the same time, it’s nothing to do with me. We represent Filip Hrgovic, and we don’t represent Tyson Fury or Usyk at the moment – and we’ve got a job to do for Filip Hrgovic.”
“Obviously he won the final eliminator, he’s mandatory. The IBF have called that. We’ve said we’re not willing to negotiate – this is the request of the team – and want to have immediate purse bids.”
“That’s within the rules of the IBF, and that means you cannot get an exception. So the only way you can get an exception is if Filip Hrgovic says he’s willing to give an exception – and he doesn’t want to give an exception because he want to fight for the world title. So, we’ll see what happens, but the IBF are very good at enforcing their mandatories and they’ve just followed their rules here. That’s all.”
As Hrgovic’s co-promoter, Hearn has a job to do for his fighter, who obviously wants a shot at the world title against Usyk despite fans perhaps preferring to see an undisputed fight next.
The Ukrainian champion famously beat Anthony Joshua twice, claiming the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO world titles at heavyweight after an undefeated and undisputed campaign at cruiserweight.
Although Usyk wants the fight with ‘The Gypsy King’, it is not expected that he would willingly risk losing his IBF belt, so unless an agreement can be reached, fans may indeed see him take on Hrgovic next.