By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua could choose to fight #1 Filip Hrgovic for the vacant IBF heavyweight title next rather than face Deontay Wilder in the mega-fight that he’d been trying to set up.
Hearn states that Joshua’s goal of becoming a three-time heavyweight “takes priority” for AJ over a lucrative fight with Deontay. One can read between the lines that Hearn is no longer amped up about making the Joshua vs. Wilder fight after the Saudis chose not to stage the fight in their country.
Obviously, no longer having the massive Saudi dough available it takes away the motivation from Hearn to make the risky match for AJ against Wilder.
If Joshua is going to get knocked out cold by Wilder, it has to be a boatload of sweet cash he’ll be getting.
The likely idea that Hearn has floating around in his head is Joshua beats Hrgovic to capture the IBF title, and then the Saudis perk up and show interest in paying a ton of money to have AJ battle Wilder in their country.
If Joshua (26-3, 23KOs) chooses to fight Hrgovic, he could live to regret it because that’s a dangerous fight for him, with his chin problem and his transformation into an ultra-cautious fighter.
With the news of the IBF saying that the winner of the December undisputed heavyweight championship between IBF/WBA/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk & WBC champ Tyson Fury must face the mandatory Hrgovic (16-0,13KOs) in their next fight, it ensures the title will be vacated or stripped.
Fury-Usyk has a two-way rematch clause, meaning the contest’s loser can force an immediate second fight, which obviously will happen given the pride of the two fighters & the huge amount of money they’ll make in another duel.
“You saw yesterday the IBF basically saying that he’s going to fight Filip Hrgovic for the world title. He [Joshua] is desperate to become a three-time world champion, and I believe he’s going to do it,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social about Anthony Joshua likely to face Filip Hrgovic for the IBF title once the winner of the December fight between IBF/WBA/WBO champ Oleksandr Usyk &WBC belt-holder Tyson Fury vacates the IBF title.
“The news yesterday from the IBF changes things a little bit in respect of basically the winner of Fury-Usyk has to fight Filip Hrgovic, or they’ll be stripped, and they’re not going to [face him].
That’s the fight [Joshua vs. Hrgovic], and I believe that fight will happen for potentially the world title, and if it does, we have to look at that. We got the Wilder fight.
“There’s a lot to think about, but that news certainly just changes things. The goal [for Joshua] is to become a three-time world champion, and that would allow us to do that.
“The Wilder fight is much bigger, but the Hrgovic fight comes with a world title [IBF]. That will always take priority, but we’ll have to see what plays out. Again, we’re only hearing that it’s a two-way rematch Usyk-Fury, which is disappointing, but we’ll see,” said Hearn.