Hearn hints at Joshua-Hrgovic

2023 has been a rebuilding year for Anthony Joshua. The former two-time unified heavyweight world champion lost to Oleksandr Usyk in back-to-back fights, and though active this year has taken on a modest schedule of Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius. Joshua is being moved as a prospect once again as it is clear that Matchroom Boxing wants to marinate a big fight, as a bout with Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia has been alleged for some time.

Now with the recent development of  Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk bout, set for either December 23 or January. That leaves Joshua either waiting longer to face Wilder or taking another fight. Joshua's promoter seems keen on the idea of him returning before the end of this year.

"Joshua is desperate to become a three-time world champion, and I believe he is going to do it," said Joshua's promoter, Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social. 

Hearn then suggested based on recent news from the IBF that their mandatory contender sporting a pristine record of 16-0 and 13 knockouts, Filip Hrgovic is stuck in limbo as Hearn believes after Fury and Usyk fight neither will defend against Hrgovic.

"News from the IBF yesterday, changes things a little bit," furthered Hearn. "The winner of Fury-Usyk has to fight Filip Hrgovic, or they will be stripped and they are not going to."

The possibility of this vacancy presents Joshua with a chance to become a three-time world champion if he were to beat Hrgovic. Hrgovic is tempted to give up his mandatory spot and/or risk it as he will get a king's ransom on the night he fights Joshua.

"That's the fight," said Hearn when asked about Joshua vs Hrgovic. "I believe that fight will happen potentially for the world title...there is a lot to think about, but [the IBF news] changes things. The goal is to become a three-division world champion.

However, Joshua's immediate plans remain uncertain as negotiations seemingly have once again gone south in making a Deontay Wilder. A fight against Hrgovic seems to be Joshua's clearest path to becoming a three-time world champion and also seems to be a surefire way for Hrgovic to get paid. 

Hrgovic has fought twice in the past two years both of which being on Anthony Joshua undercards. Hrgovic stopped Demsey McKean this year and won a hotly-debated split decision over Zhilei Zhang in a fight in which Hrgovic appeared to get hurt multiple times.