By Geoffrey Ciani: Recent news again suggests the probability of an undisputed heavyweight showdown between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, some time late this year or early next, with a 2-way rematch clause in place.
But before an official date has even been set, presumably waiting on the outcome of Fury taking on boxing novice Francis Ngannou in a few weeks, the IBF is already doing their best to potentially taint and derail the best laid plans.
The IBF has announced that they will allow Fury vs Usyk to take place, but before a rematch takes place, the winner will be forced to defend against their #1 mandatory contender, Filip Hrgovic. Hrgovic earned his mandatory status when he was awarded a 12 round unanimous decision against Zhilei Zhang last August, and Hrgovic has fought just once since, when he won against Demsey McKean on the undercard of Joshua vs Robert Helenius.
Not long before this, Eddie Hearn, who manages former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, was teasing a strong possibility that a long awaited showdown between AJ and fellow former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder might finally come together, even going so far to argue that this would produce a bigger event than an undisputed showdown between Fury and Usyk. Hearn, however, quickly changed his tune after he had learned that the IBF made their announcement, where instead of having a potential showdown with Wilder, Team Joshua now preferred getting a chance to face Hrgovic for the vacant IBF belt.
What does this all mean for the current heavyweight landscape?
This edition of Rummy’s Corner will attempt to answer that question and to quickly explore some of the ramifications of the recent decision by the IBF, and why this move is ultimately bad for the heavyweight division and also the sport of boxing as a whole. This is Rummy’s Corner (produced and narrated by Geoffrey Ciani).