Hrgovic Praises Joshua for “Defending the Sport,” Eyes Vacant IBF Title

By Will Arons - 03/10/2024 - Comments

Filip Hrgovic is pleased with how Anthony Joshua defended the sport of boxing with his second-round knockout win over MMA fighter Francis Ngannou last Friday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Although Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs) wasn’t awed by what Joshua (28-3, 25 KOs) did in defeating the 0-1 novice, Ngannou, who shouldn’t have been in the ring with him in the first place if the sport was regulated correctly, he was still glad that AJ had done his part to show that athletes from other sports can’t just walk through the door and defeat the upper echelon fighters.

Hrgovic didn’t have the same kind words for Tyson Fury, who he feels “embarrassed” boxing by not being in shape and underestimating Ngannou in their fight last October. He feels that if Fury had taken the fight seriously, it would have had a similar ending as Joshua’s second-round knockout.

Fury’s Disappointing Showing

“I’m glad because he defended our sport. Thanks, Anthony Joshua,” said Filip Hrgovic to iFL TV about Anthony Joshua’s booming second-round┬áknockout over former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou last Friday.

“Tyson Fury embarrassed our sport with his performance, and I think he was not so ready and underestimated Ngannou. He was not in great shape. Joshua defended the colors of our sport, and thanks to him,” Hrgovic said.

It wasn’t just that Fury wasn’t in great shape for his fight with Ngannou. Tyson is getting older at 35, he can’t punch, and he was never that good to begin with. At this point in Fury’s career, it’s all he can do to throw limp jabs and maul his opponents, wrestling them like a big bear, hammering them with shots while holding them with one arm.

That style didn’t work against Ngannou because he was too powerful and a much better stand-up Greco-Roman wrestler than him.

Ready for Joshua, Ready for the Title

“I hope so. It’s not about me, it’s about him,” said Hrgovic when asked if he’ll fight Joshua for the vacant IBF heavyweight title when it comes available. I would like to fight him whenever, but it’s not about me. It’s about the spoiled stars. It’s about them.

“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.”

Joshua says he wants to fight Hrovic next for the IBF title, but we’ll see. Whether they go that route will be decided by the Saudis and his promoter, Eddie Hearn.

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

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