Fans have likely read the news by now, of how Oleksandr Usyk has been ordered by the IBF to defend the belt he holds (Usyk also the reigning WBA and WBO heavyweight champ) against his mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic next. Purse bids have been called for, as Hrgovic is not at all willing to step aside and allow Usyk to fight Tyson Fury, in a fight that would be for all four belts, next year (Fury of course being the current WBC champ).
So Usyk has two choices: fight Hrgovic next, or vacate the belt. Usyk has said he has no interest in fighting anyone other than Fury so it could be that Usyk does go ahead and says goodbye to the IBF strap. And what could happen if this did prove to be the case? Fans are already looking at the current IBF heavyweight rankings, and they read as follows:
Hrgovic is number 1, the number 2 position is currently vacant, Andy Ruiz is number 3, and Anthony Joshua is currently ranked at number 4.
Could it be that AJ ends up fighting Hrgovic for the vacant IBF title? Ruiz as we know is all set to fight Deontay Wilder in a final eliminator for the WBC heavyweight title. So, just like that, Joshua, who has not won a fight for almost two years, could be close to getting a shot at a world title. Hey, this is boxing, folks!
In truth, a Hrgovic-Joshua fight would not be a bad one to see. Pretty much a 50 – 50 fight; with Joshua coming off those two losses to Usyk and Hrgovic looking pretty ordinary in his IBF final eliminator win over Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang. But both men can bang, both have a good amateur background, and both Hrgovic and Joshua have been in some exciting fights. Who wins if Joshua and Hrgovic do collide? Maybe you see the fight as a toss-up?
Right now, we must wait and see what Oleksandr Usyk decides to do, but he has made it clear he wants the Fury fight more than anything else. Might it be that Usyk and Fury do fight early next year, but for three of the world heavyweight titles, not four?