It’s a matter of time before contender Filip Hrgovic gets a title shot against IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua or WBC belt holder Tyson Fury. The unbeaten highly ranked Hrgovic (10-0, 7 KOs) and his promoter Nisse Sauerland are playing a waiting game before they get a crack at Joshua or Fury.
With a logjam of contenders in front of the 27-year-old Hrgovic in the IBF, WBA, and WBO rankings, it could be better for him to get WBC champion Fury. Hrvovic is ranked #8 with the World Boxing Council at this time. But even with the WBC, the 2016 Olympic ‘bronze medalist Hrgovic will need to wait his turn.
Right now, Dillian Whyte is the WBC mandatory, and he’s expected to fight for the title in 2021, as long as the sanctioning body orders the fight. Fury and Joshua have other ideas. They want to fight twice in 2021, which will leave poor Whyte no chance to get his mandatory title shot. Oh well, Whyte can wait until 2022 for his title shot.
Hrgovic believes he can beat Joshua
“As far as ambitions go, it’s backed up by that pedigree. Hrgovic believes he can beat Joshua – and so do we. But it’s just a question of getting those fights, and we will. We just have to be patient and plan our route effectively,” said Sauerland to Sky Sports on Hrgovic.
“If the Joshua fight came tomorrow, he’d take it for the right conditions, but I’ve said this a million times: ‘why would they fight him?’ He needs to get into a position where no-one can get away from fighting him.”
The way that the 6’6″ Hrgovic has looked recently, he would be a lot of trouble for Joshua or Fury. You can’t blame Sauerland if he chooses to have him go after Joshua rather than Fury because that’s a more natural fight on paper. Fury is tricky and hard to hit. Hrgovic needs more experience against crafty types of heavyweights for him to deal with the 6’9″ Fury.
Hrgovic turned professional in 2017, and he recently beat two-time world title challenger Eric Molina by a third-round knockout. He also has wins over former world title challenger Kevin Johnson and Amir Mansour. Until the pandemic hit, Hrgovic had planned on fighting Jerry Forrest on April 17, but that fight was canceled.
Hrgovic is naturally aggressive
“Filip will just come at you. Sometimes with heavyweights, maybe they don’t have that malice, that naturally aggressive nature, which he does,” said Sauerland.
“I would say that we’re keeping our options open. Within two to three fights, then it will become apparent which route we go. If it’s the WBC, we have to be mindful of the fact that Dillian Whyte is the mandatory.”
It’s essential that Sauerland match Hrgovic against the right type of fighters. If possible, he should put the Croatian Hrgovic against top contenders because that’s the only way he’s going to get pushed up the rankings quickly. But that’s easier said than done.
A lot of the promoters will be reluctant to let their fighters face a blue-chip prospect like Hrgovic because he’s got a lot of talent, and the chances are slim that anyone is going to beat him aside from possibly Joshua or Fury.