Promoter Nisse Sauerland expects his big heavyweight hope Filip Hrgovic to eventually overwhelm dangerman Michael Hunter should their recently-ordered IBF final eliminator take place as expected.
Hulking Croatian Hrgovic, a bronze medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympics, is one of the new wave of heavyweight contenders seeking to unseat current world title holders Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.
WBA Super, WBO and IBF champion Joshua and WBC king Fury are supposedly in the final stages of agreeing a deal for a two-fight series in 2021 and Hrgovic (12-0, 10 KOs) will be among those angling for a shot at the victor.
But first he must derail the avoided Hunter (19-1-1, 13 KOs) in an IBF final eliminator to pave a wave for that title tilt. Promoter Sauerland respects the Las Vegas-based Hunter but is expecting one outcome only, with the mandated bout likely to head to purse bids and take place in America in either late April or early May.
“Hunter is game. You can’t knock him,” Sauerland told Sky Sports. “He’s been a road warrior, stopping Martin Bakole and having a close fight with Alexander Povetkin [ruled a 12-round draw].
“This isn’t an easy fight but we believe Filip has the tools to win. Hunter is a great fighter but the size and power of Filip will be too much for him. Filip has only had 12 fights so we’re happy that he’s getting a proper test. We didn’t hesitate. You would be crazy not to accept.
“It’s a good fight. We have wanted a step up the whole time. But people out-price themselves when it’s time to fight Filip.
“Boxing is about risk and reward. The reward for beating Hunter is a shot at the heavyweight title, which is the pinnacle of boxing. [But] we want to keep Filip active, as crazy and risky as that sounds. Waiting for mandatories can drag out – we’ve seen that with Dillian Whyte.”
Looking ahead to the Fury-Joshua winner, Sauerland says stylistically he would prefer Hrgovic to face the less complicated ‘AJ’ when the Croatian’s world title challenge eventually comes.
“I would prefer Filip to fight Joshua, simply stylistically,” said Sauerland. “They are both big, strong guys but Filip can move more and is less robotic.
“Fury is a nightmare for anyone because you just don’t know what he will do. It’s amazing what Fury can do for such a big man. Joshua is a powerhouse, he’s an Adonis. But if I had to pick someone stylistically for Filip? I would pick Joshua.”