You can add Filip Hrgovic’s name to the list of top heavyweights who want to fight WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champ Oleksandr Usyk next. Now that the Usyk-Tyson Fury fight is a dead duck (maybe for good), as expected, the various top-ranked heavyweights with the governing bodies are calling for their mandatory shot at Usyk – be it WBA mandatory Daniel Dubois, WBO mandatory (and interim champ) Joe Joyce, or IBF mandatory Filip Hrgovic.
In addition to this, former WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder has said he’d fight Usyk next. But Kalle Sauerland wants his guy Hrgovic to get the next crack at the Ukrainian southpaw. And Sauerland, speaking with Sky Sports, made his case. Or he made his fighter’s case.
“Usyk, Hrgovic is waiting for you, the rest of the belts; he wants them all,” Sauerland said. “He’s not the type to beat around the bush, Filip. He’s been waiting a long time for this shot. He’s next in line to fight Usyk [for the IBF belt]. Who doesn’t think that Hrgovic would give any heavyweight a right run for his money? I’m going back to the fact that he stopped David Haye from taking part in the David Haye-Tyson Fury fight.
“He was the one who gave the left hook in sparring that took him out of the fight, unfortunately. There’s the leaked sparring with Deontay Wilder. It’s a right back and forth. It’s pay-per-view boxing in sparring. I can’t speculate too much (on Usyk’s WBA mandatory being the one next in line), but that’s down to the governing bodies, and we lobby for our guy.”
So will it be Usyk-Dubois, Usyk-Wilder, or Usyk-Hrgovic next? It seems it will be one of these three fights that we will see next. 30-year-old Hrgovic, unbeaten at 15-0(12), didn’t look too impressive in winning a somewhat debatable decision against Zhilei Zhang back in August, but it is possible he had a bad night. Hrgovic and his supporters had better hope so if he’s to have a shot at defeating Usyk.
Usyk really wanted that massive unification showdown with Fury, yet now it seems he will spend the next phase of his career taking care of mandatory title defences. That is unless that Usyk-Wilder fight can be made.