Tony Yoka (11-0, 9 KOs) has accepted in writing the offer from the IBF to face Filip Hrgovic in a title eliminator next. The 2016 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Yoka beat the deadline of Thursday night to agree to meet ‘El Animal’ Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs) in an IBF title eliminator.
It’s going to be fun to see how Hrgovic deals with Yoka’s boxing skills, fast hands, and mobility. All the guys that the 6’6″ Hrgovic has fought since turning pro in 2017 have been stationary fighters with marginal skill, and none of them stood a chance against him.
For some reason, Hrgovic’s management has held off matching him against good opposition despite his extensive amateur pedigree and his age.
Hrgovic will be turning 30 in June, and that’s not young for a fighter that has NEVER fought a top 15 contender. Generally, by that age, fighters have been competing against contenders for years, especially when they have an Olympic background like Hrgovic.
This is an enormous weight off the shoulders of Hrgovic’s promoters Kalle & Nisse Sauerland, that Yoka, 29, has stepped up and agreed to take part in the IBF title eliminator against ‘El Animal.’
Before Yoka agreed to the fight, former two-time heavyweight world title challenger Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz and former WBO champion Joseph Parker had both turned down the offer from the IBF title fight the unbeaten 6’6″ Hrgovic.
Those two well-known heavyweights turning down the IBF title eliminator against Hrgovic game many boxing fans the impression that the Croatian is the “boogeyman” of the heavyweight division and is being avoided.
That’s not the case. Hence, Yoka readily agreed to face Hrgovic partly because he’s already shown that he can beat him, having done it TWICE in the amateurs.
CONFIRMED: @TonyYoka has formally accepted tonight in writing the challenge to fight @Filip_Hrgovic in a final IBF Final Eliminator for the Heavyweight World Championship – El Animal has found a dance partner 🔥 pic.twitter.com/LB0datFo4H
— Kalle & Nisse Sauerland (@SauerlandBros) January 13, 2022
Luis Ortiz couldn’t take the fight with Hrgovic due to a hand injury he suffered earlier this month in his victory over Charles Martin on January 1st. Parker reportedly turned it down due to it being a low-money fight.
“There is an economic problem with Hrgovic,” Parker’s promoter David Higgins said to Sky Sports.
“[Hrgovic] has attained a high ranking but has no fan base, so the money on offer is laughable for somebody like Parker.”
In Parker’s case, he has another route to take for him to get a world title shot, so he doesn’t need to fight in a title eliminator like Hrgovic.
The winner of the Hrgovic vs. Yoka IBF title eliminator will be mandatory to IBF/WBA/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk.
However, by the time the winner of the Hrgovic-Yoka fight gets a chance to battle for the IBF title, Anthony Joshua might be the champion. He’s facing Usyk in a rematch in April, and that’s a toss-up fight.