By Scott Gilfoid: IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Uzyk has been directed by the IBF that he must defend against Filip Hrgovic, #1 ranked, in his next fight. This is great news for fans as Usyk-Hrgovic makes for a much more interesting match-up that the slap-happy Tyson Fury battling Usyk.
Hrgovic, a heavyweight with more power than Fury and capable of scoring knockouts using either hand, is far more entertaining than Fury.
Eddie Hearn, the promoter for Hrgovic, is forcing Usyk’s hand by ordering purse bids for the fight. This means that Usyk will have to either take on Hrgovic or surrender his IBF belt.
Old Hearn is likely smiling like a Cheshire cat at the news that the IBF has ordered Usyk to defend against Hrgovic next. This is especially after what happened last Saturday night with Matchroom Boxing’s Montana Love being disqualified from pushing Steve Spark out the ring in their headliner fight in Cleveland.
These are the options for who will fight for the belt if Usyk gives up his IBF title:

Andy Ruiz vs. Filip Hrgovic
Anthony Joshua vs. Filip Hrgovic

#3 Ruiz would be the first opponent the IBF orders to fight Hrogic. If Ruiz does not want to fight, #4 Joshua would be Hrogic’s next opponent. This would be an in-house fight at Matchroom Boxing since both men are with Eddie Hearn.
The IBF’s decision to order Usyk-Hrgovic is bad news for Tyson Fury because he was hoping to face Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) for the undisputed heavyweight championship in February or March of next year.
If Usyk has to face the huge 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Hrgovic (15-0, 13 KOs), he could lose that fight because the 6’6″ Croatian can punch, and he’d be a tough out for the smallish 221-lb Oleksandr.
Of course, Usyk could always vacate his IBF title, which is probably what he’ll do, but that would mean that his fight with Fury won’t be for the undisputed championship.
Without that tag, Fury vs. Usyk loses a lot of its value. Fury can take on Joshua many more interesting fights than there are. One, Deontay Wilder, who is now a rejuvenated, and Joe Joyce, who is Foreman-esque. The money that Fury can make fighting Wilder, Joshua, or Joyce would likely be greater than would he’d make facing the two-belt Usyk.
If Usyk stubbornly takes the fight with Assuming Hrgoic, there’s an excellent chance he loses, which ruins everything.
Instead of Usyk fighting Fury for the undisputed, it would be Hrgovic, who isn’t well known to casual boxing fans in the U.S and the UK, and there would be less money to be made for the Gypsy King.
Fury would find Hrgovic a difficult opponent due to his size, power, and chin. The mauling style that Fury has been using to win his fights in the last three years wouldn’t be effective against Hrgovic because he’s huge, powerful, and utterly dangerous at close to medium range.
It’s a very dangerous fight for Fury because Hgovic is strong and capable of getting in and making it filthy. if Tyson chooses to start with the rabbit punching, shoving & leaning tactics that he’s been using. Fury would love to play in the mud. Hrgovic is more than capable of matching him with these tactics, even with the dirty fighting.
Hrgovic is coming off an impressive 12 round unanimous victory over Zhilei Zhang, the two-time Chinese Olympian. Hrgovic won the bout with scores of 115-112, 112-4113, and 115-112.

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