Eddie Hearn, who co-promotes Filip Hrgovic, has said that they have requested immediate purse bids for his IBF mandatory against champion, Oleksandr Usyk.
The lack of a negotiation period, per the rules, means the Ukrainian can’t request an exception to fight Tyson Fury for undisputed instead.
Hrgovic, who was without an opponent for a final eliminator to be the IBF’s number one challenger for a long time, eventually faced and beat Zhang Zhilei on the same card that Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua to retain his heavyweight titles.
Now officially called as mandatory, Usyk’s defence against the undefeated Croatian puts an undisputed fight with Tyson Fury in jeopardy. Hearn, who works with Wasserman to guide the challenger’s career, summed up the situation to IFL TV.
“I already spoke to some people involved in that fight who [are] obviously quite upset that it’s going to stop Fury – Usyk for now. But at the same time, it’s nothing to do with me. We represent Filip Hrgovic, and we don’t represent Tyson Fury or Usyk at the moment – and we’ve got a job to do for Filip Hrgovic.
Many have pointed to the fact that sanctioning bodies must consider requests to unify the belts, and oftentimes allow those sort of fights to take precedence. That is though, as pointed out be Hearn, only if purse bids aren’t called.
“Obviously he won the final eliminator, he’s mandatory. The IBF have called that. We’ve said we’re not willing to negotiate – this is the request of the team – and want to have immediate purse bids.”
“That’s within the rules of the IBF, and that means you cannot get an exception. So the only way you can get an exception is if Filip Hrgovic says he’s willing to give an exception – and he doesn’t want to give an exception because he want to fight for the world title. So, we’ll see what happens, but the IBF are very good at enforcing their mandatories and they’ve just followed their rules here. That’s all.”
The purse bid route does indeed force Usyk’s hand more so than negotiations would, and, as things stand, it looks like the Ukrainian may just have to defend his belt against the Croatian.
Despite saying he only wants Fury, that was understood to be because of the prospect of undisputed – so it’s unlikely that Usyk will be considering dropping the IBF belt.
It not seems that the only route to undisputed next for the Ukrainian is to compensate Hrgovic with some step-aside cash.
We expect more on what’s a developing story that will perhaps shape the future of the heavyweight division.