Home Boxing News Eddie Hearn wants Filip Hrgovic to challenge Oleksandr Usyk before the end...

Eddie Hearn wants Filip Hrgovic to challenge Oleksandr Usyk before the end of the year

Heavyweight Filip Hrgović. Photo credit: Mark Robinson

IBF mandatory contender Filip ‘El Animal’ Hrgovic 16-0 (13) is next in line to challenge unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14).

Ukrainian southpaw Usyk, 36, is fresh off his ninth-round knockout of WBA mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois 19-2 (18) in Poland last Saturday night.

There has been talk of former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk facing WBC boss Tyson Fury 33-0-1 (24) next, but that bout is unlikely to happen next with the 35-year-old Brit set to face boxing debutant and former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in his next bout in Saudi Arabia on October 28.

Eddie Hearn, who promotes Croatian Hrgovic, 31, will be pushing for his fighter to challenge Usyk before the end of the year. And with the proposed Usyk versus Fury bout seemingly as far away as ever, Hrgovic is as good an opponent as any.

“That fight will be ordered this week, in my opinion, Usyk against Hrgovic,” Hearn told Boxing Social. “What happens now is that Usyk will have the opportunity to request an exception to fight someone else.

“The only person that the exception would be granted is probably Tyson Fury. But because Tyson Fury already has a fight scheduled you can’t ask for an exception, so I think that we should just get it done, get the fight made for December.

“We like Hrgovic’s chances in that fight, he’s definitely improved with his last couple of performances. We’re ready to make that fight.”

Hrgovic last saw action in August when he stopped previously undefeated Australian Demsey McKean 22-1 (14) in the 12th round.

The fight never really got heated and it took until the late rounds for Hrgovic to catch up with the six-foot-six southpaw.

Usyk came under criticism for an incident in the fifth round round against Dubois when he caught a shot on the belt line that was ruled low. The champion crashed to the canvas clutching his groin. Referee Luis Pabon allowed him five minutes to recover.

Hearn believes Usyk played up how much he was hurt, but he doesn’t blame him.

“Did he milk it? 100% he milked it. He hates it to the body,” the Matchroom Boxing boss told iFL TV.

“You’ve seen the clip from the AJ fight, where [Joshua] lands the same shot without as much venom [as Dubois] and [Usyk] does exactly the same thing.

“And by the way, [Usyk] was very clever after the fight — he pulls his shorts down to show where his shorts are, which was about that far below the belly button [several inches] — which in the fight it wasn’t, it was probably on the belly button.

“But the reality is, watch when the punch is delivered… it hit his protector, it was underneath the waistband, most of the glove, it was a low blow.”