Plans for Oleksandr Usyk to go straight into a heavyweight undisputed fight against Tyson Fury next year have recently been thrown into doubt by the news that the IBF may have ordered their mandatory challenger, Filip Hrgovic, to get his shot.
Despite only being first in line for a title fight for three months, the sanctioning body seem to have called for him to face Usyk in what would be the Ukrainian’s second defence of his IBF Heavyweight World title – one he holds alongside the WBA, WBO, and IBO.
Alex Krassyuk, who promotes the Ukrainian Champion, doesn’t agree. He told Sky Sports that the IBF’s latest involvement should not change their plans.
“At this stage I can anticipate that it will not influence the undisputed anyhow.”
Whether or not Krassyuk has spoken personally to the sanctioning body on behalf of their champion remains to be seen, but he certainly seems confident that Usyk and Fury will be facing off next – that is provided Fury comes through Derek Chisora.
Given Usyk’s sole goal of becoming undisputed and going down in the history books as doing it in two divisions, there’s little chance he forfeits the belt – although, in theory, an agreement could be made that he does so immediately if he wins the bout with Fury.
This would give the Ukrainian a chance to claim undisputed, and then Hrgovic a chance to fight for a vacant belt not long after. That all depends on if Usyk would like to go on defending his titles, or whether he fancies putting his feet up after 21 fights undefeated.
Of course, there’s also the scenario where Hrgovic’s team have acted in overexcitement – and in that case, the only thing that will really clear up what’s going on is a statement from the IBF.