Filip Hrgovic is the mandatory challenger for the IBF heavyweight title and is adamant that he must box Oleksandr Usyk vs Daniel Dubois winner next; Hrgovic says it’s too late for Tyson Fury who had ‘all the time’ to take the undisputed fight with Usyk earlier
Of John Dennen, sports journalist
14:44 UK, Wednesday 23 August 2023
Heavyweight challenger Filip Hrgovic has slammed Tyson Fury for boxing Francis Ngannou in a non-title fight and insisted he will be next to challenge Oleksandr Usyk’s championship.
Hrgovic is the mandatory challenger for the IBF heavyweight title, which Usyk will put on the line, along with the WBA and WBO belts, against Britain’s Daniel Dubois on Saturday.
Croatia’s Hrgovic should be next in the rotation of mandatory heavyweight contenders after Dubois. He is adamant that it is his turn to box the winner of Usyk-Dubois next time.
Hrgovic insists the chance for Fury vs Usyk has been and gone and they should have made the undisputed title fight when the opportunity was there earlier this year.
“They had all the time in the world to make this match,” Hrgovic said Sky Sports. “I’m next in line for Oleksandr Usyk. If he wins this Saturday I should fight him next.
“Fury has scheduled a fight and according to all the rules I will be next in line and I hope it will happen at the end of the year or maybe the beginning of next year at the latest.”
He is confident that he will be able to enforce his own world title fight next time. “I should get that shot. I’ve waited so long for this, to get this mandatory position from the IBF, and I’ve defended it,” Hrgovic said. “There is no conversation about it.
“Usyk should defend his title, [meet] his mandatory obligation, so I should be next in line. We got a letter from the IBF a few weeks ago that the winner of my fight and Usyk’s fight will fight for the IBF title next.
“So I hope so. The IBF will put pressure on Usyk and he has to fight me or he has to vacate the title.”
He expects Usyk to win this weekend, but he doesn’t completely rule out Dubois’ chances.
“In life and in boxing, anything is possible. Usyk is the favorite, he is faster, he has better skills, much more experience,” Hrgovic said.
“But Dubois is a big guy. He’s got a good right hand. He’s a strong guy so anything is possible in boxing. I’ll give him a chance to beat him.”
Hrgovic has criticized the move in the heavyweight division, directing much of his anger at Fury.
Usyk vs Dubois on August 26 will be the first heavyweight world title fight of the year so far. Fury will not fight until October 28, and it will be against former UFC champion Francis Ngannou, who will have his first boxing match, without Fury’s world title on the line.
That means there hasn’t been a fight for the WBC heavyweight championship since Fury beat Derek Chisora last December.
“He’s fighting an MMA guy who’s never boxed before. It’s crazy,” Hrgovic complained. “I don’t know why sanctioning bodies let them do that. It’s disrespectful to boxing and to the fans and other fighters.
“It should be stopped. That’s my opinion,” he added. “From what I can see Fury is obviously not interested in boxing anymore. He can’t stop the whole division. Sanctioning bodies have to do their jobs. They have to force injunctions and that’s it.”
He argued for the importance of mandatory challenges like his. “It is [been] no title fights. Abandon the titles or fight your duties,” he said. “They hold [up] the entire division.
“It’s not just frustrating for me. It’s frustrating for the fans, for boxing, for everybody because nothing has happened.
“Finally now Usyk fights Dubois. Fans want to see fights. There are many good mandatory challengers who can give good fights to the fans.”
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