The mandated fight between Filip Hrgovic and Andy Ruiz Jr is officially dead in the water after Ruiz and his team declined to proceed with Thursday’s purse bids.
Ruiz has been rumoured to be fighting Deontay Wilder for a number of months in what would be a final eliminator to decide the WBC’s latest mandatory challenger. Last month it was revealed that Ruiz had also been ordered to fight Filip Hrgovic for the IBF interim title.
However, today Boxing Scene have revealed that ‘The Destroyer’ has turned down the opportunity to fight the Croatian, likely in order to pursue a better paid fight against Wilder.
Whilst many will believe that Zhilei Zhang deserves a rematch against Hrgovic after controversial scorecards in their fight last August, the 6ft 6in heavyweight from China is instead scheduled to fight Joe Joyce in April.
Similarly, the two men next in line in the IBF rankings, are Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, with Wilder expected to fight Ruiz and Joshua preparing for a fight with Jermaine Franklin on April 1.
With that in mind, and unless the IBF makes Hrgovic wait for a fight with ‘AJ’, it is BOXXER’s latest heavyweight signing, Martin Bakole, who could be called upon next.
Bakole defeated Tony Yoka last May and hasn’t fought since, but the 29-year-old’s new deal to fight on Sky Sports has outlined his intentions to increase his activity and cause a stir at the top of the heavyweight division.
The other contender who could step in is ‘The Cuban Flash’, Frank Sanchez, who is undefeated in his twenty-one-fight career thus far. The decision ultimately lies with the IBF.