The long-awaited undisputed heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk could see further delays after the news that the IBF has ordered Usyk to defend his title against mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic. Hrgovic became the sanctioning body’s No1 contender after beating Zhang Zhilei on the same card as Usyk’s last fight against Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia.
Often when a mandatory fight is called that blocks a major unification clash, the champion’s representatives can request an exception from the IBF to delay the order. However, Hrgovic’s co-promoter Eddie Hearn has disclosed that they have requested an immediate purse bid which under a technicality in the IBF’s rules, looks set to delay the four-belt shoot-out.
Speaking during the DAZN broadcast for last night’s Matchroom Boxing event headlined by Montana Love and Steve Spark in Cleveland, Ohio, Hearn said: “We just got the news through that Oleksandr Usyk has been ordered to fight Filip Hrgovic next. He is the mandatory challenger. We’ve actually requested an immediate purse bid for that fight. That’s going to be next for Oleksandr Usyk.”
This same IBF rule got in the way of Wladimir Klitschko’s immediate rematch with Fury for the WBA, IBF, and WBO straps. Mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov’s team requested an immediate purse bid leading to the IBF ordering the fight despite Fury’s request for an exception.
“We have said that we aren’t willing to negotiate, this is a request of the team and want to have immediate purse bids. That is within the rules of the IBF and that means you cannot get an exception. The only way you can get an exception is if Filip Hrgovic says he is willing to give an exception and he doesn’t want to give an exception because he wants to fight for the world titles.
“We’ll see what happens but the IBF are very good at enforcing their mandatories and their just following their rules here.”