Anthony Joshua could have renewed hope of world title fight if Usyk vs Fury falls through | Boxing | Sport
Anthony Joshua could face Filip Hrgovic for the IBF world title in 2023 if Oleksandr Usyk chooses to vacate the strap and fight Tyson Fury next. The news comes after the IBF ordered mandatory challenger Hrgovic to square off against sanctioning body champion, Usyk.
Hrgovic’s representatives have requested an immediate purse bid for the world title fight which under a technicality in the IBF’s rules, overrides any exceptions from Usyk’s side to allow for the undisputed fight to take place. Usyk and Fury had been in negotiations to book the four-belt shoot-out for February or March next year but those plans will be put on hold with the fast-rising Croatian puncher unwilling to negotiate terms.
Usyk has repeatedly said that he will only face Fury next and if he chooses to do so, then Joshua – who is ranked at No4 by the IBF – could be given the opportunity to fight for the world title. Under the regulator’s rankings, Hrgovic is placed at No1, with No2 vacant, and No3 held by Andy Ruiz Jr.
Ruiz has already been ordered to face Deontay Wilder in a WBC final eliminator for a shot at Fury’s green strap. The former WBA, WBO, and IBF champion, only has the WBC title missing from his collection and is just one fight away from completing his goal of holding all-four belts.
“I think he wants to fight Usyk so he can get all the other belts that he’s never had and I’m kind of aiming in the other direction. Because since I had those belts, I want the WBC belt. So, that’s why I’m waiting patiently, I’m staying busy. I know I had a long layoff because of the surgeries I had but I’m back baby.”
Joshua won the IBF belt back in 2016 when he beat then-champion Charles Martin via second-round stoppage at the O2 Arena, London. The Watford powerhouse then went on to pick the WBA and WBO straps before dropping them to Usyk last year.