Hrgovic Hopeful Joshua Takes IBF Title Fight Against Him Next

Filip Hrgovic (17-0, 14KOs) has long awaited his opportunity at a world title following his August 2022 victory over Zhilei Zhang (26-2-1, 21KOs), claiming a narrow points win over the Chinese heavyweight contender. 

The win over Zhang put the Croat Hrgovic into the IBF’s mandatory position for an opportunity against either Oleksandr Usyk or Anthony Joshua, who appeared on the same August 2022 Saudi Arabian card in a rematch following Usyk’s impressive defeat of Joshua in September 2021. 

Usyk (21-0, 14KOs) defended his titles successfully against Joshua (28-3, 25KOs) and made his next defense in August in Wroclaw, Poland, with a ninth-round stoppage of Daniel Dubois (20-2, 19KOs). 

Now Usyk is set to face WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (34-0-1, 24KOs) on May 18 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Usyk-Fury was reportedly scheduled for December 23 last year. However, Fury had his hands full with Francis Ngannou in October, and the proposed fight date was postponed. 

A date of February 17 went the same way after Fury picked up a cut in sparring. 

Due to a mutually agreed rematch clause between Usyk and Fury, the winner of their May 18 contest will vacate the IBF world heavyweight title because of the IBF’s rules in honoring mandatory commitments.

If and when the IBF title becomes vacant, the highest available contenders will be Hrgovic and Joshua, who last week impressed with a two-round demolition of former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou. 

Speaking to IFLTV, Hrgovic welcomed the prospect of facing Joshua for the IBF title due to the Briton’s stardom and profile. 

“I hope so. It’s not about me, it’s about him,” Hrgovic told IFLTV regarding Joshua. 

“Of course I want to fight him. He’s a star, and he’ll decide. If that fight doesn’t happen, it’s not about me. I want to fight him. I’m ready. When the IBF becomes vacant, and it’ll become after Fury-Usyk, me and him are next in the line.

“There’s no reason for it not to happen. Only if he doesn’t want that.” 

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