Filip Hrgovic scored a knockdown in round two en route to becoming the first to stop Rydell Booker. Photo by Ed Mulholland/ Matchroom
Ring Magazine champion Oleksandr Usyk might have an obstacle before facing Tyson Fury next year.
Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing announced Saturday night he received a written order from the IBF for Usyk to defend his world title belt against mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic. Hearn co-promotes Hrgovic, a 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist, along with Wasserman Boxing.
Hearn also announced both Matchroom and Wasserman are requesting an immediate purse bid.
“We just got the news that Filip Hrgovic has been ordered to face Oleksandr Usyk next,” Hearn told DAZN’s Claudia Trejo in an on-air interview from Cleveland. “Hrgovic is the IBF mandatory. We actually requested an immediate purse bid. That’s going to be the next fight for Oleksandr Usyk. Very excited for Hrgovic and Matchroom. I’m very excited to see that fight next.”
The announcement deals a significant blow to the planned unification fight, which is penciled for the spring of next year, between Usyk and Fury, who holds the WBC world title belt. Usyk owns the IBF, WBO, and WBA world titles.
Fury faces Dereck Chisora on December 3 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England.
Usyk (20-0, 13 knockouts), the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, defeated Anthony Joshua by unanimous decision in his last bout on August 20. It was a rematch of their September 25, 2021 clash, which Usyk also won by unanimous decision.
The southpaw Usyk, who is originally from Shypyntsi, Ukraine, is managed by Egis Klimas.
Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KOs), who resides in Zagreb, Croatia, also fought on August 20, winning a hard-fought unanimous decision over Zhilei Zhang in a clash of unbeaten heavyweights. The 30-year-old is ranked No. 8 by The Ring.
Both Usyk and Hrgovic have appeared on DAZN streams over the last several months.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing