Home Boxing News Filip Hrgovic vs Daniel Dubois sanctioned for interim IBF heavyweight title

Filip Hrgovic vs Daniel Dubois sanctioned for interim IBF heavyweight title

Daniel Dubois and Filip Hrgovic. Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

The fight between Filip ‘El Animal’ Hrgovic 17-0 (14) and Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois 20-2 (19) has now been sanctioned for the interim IBF heavyweight title.

Longtime mandatory challenger Hrgovic, 31, of Croatia has been patiently waiting for his shot at the world title currently held by Oleksandr Usyk 22-0 (14), who became the undisputed heavyweight champion last month with a split decision win over Tyson Fury 34-1-1 (24).

With Usyk and Fury now headed into a rematch in December, the pressure was on the IBF to make a move one way or another. Team Usyk had petitioned the New Jersey-based sanctioning body for another exception on his mandatory defence obligations.

The IBF has chosen a half-pregnant solution, refusing to strip Usyk while creating and interim title for Hrgovic and Dubois to fight for at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

There is no word on when the IBF will make a final decision on the status of the full title, although one school of thought is that the winner of Hrgovic-Dubois could face former two-time unified champion Anthony Joshua 28-3 (25) at Wembley Stadium in London in September with the full title on the line.

“You really don’t want the belts to be fragmented, but you’ve got a guy (Hrgovic) who has been ordered ages ago and has been waiting and waiting and waiting,” Hrgovic’s promoter Eddie Hearn told Chris Mannix on YouTube earlier this week.

“Maybe the winner of that has AJ next in line for the IBF. You can’t ignore your mandatory challenger for two or three years.

“He (Hrgovic) is told, ‘You can’t get your title shot until the summer of 2025.’ It’s not fair. I get both sides of the argument, but I do expect the IBF belt to come vacant.”

Frank Warren, who promotes both Fury and Dubois, indicated earlier this week that he is happy with the interim title arrangement.

“That fight we just spoke about Dubois vs Hrgovic is a fantastic fight and in the worst-case scenario it’ll be an interim title fight. If it goes ahead as an interim title fight, I have no problem with that,” Warren said to Second Out.

“A lot of people will be pissed off at me saying this, especially Hrgovic’s camp and maybe with Daniel who I’m involved with but I feel like it should be for the interim because I think the rematch should be for the four belts.”

As for the fight itself this weekend, Britain’s Dubois, 26, said: “I can’t take no more easy steps, no more bums, this is the level that I need to be at and I am ready for it.

“We have a bit of history of sparring and whatever, but that was seven years ago. I am here for the fight on Saturday and I am going to knock him out on Saturday.”

Hrgovic said: “I feel great. I am glad that he called me out and that he wants to fight me. I have been calling for top heavyweights and big names for a few years and this is a really good fight for me. He is a good name, he is a good boxer and I can’t wait for Saturday.

“I have much more experience, I had a long amateur career and I have gone through more than him. So, I think that even though he has more professional fights, I have more experience and I will take him to school.”