Croatian heavyweight Filip Hrgovic is one of a small small group that has seen their chance at world title shot stunted by the goings on of Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk and Co.
The former Olympic bronze medalist has sat in the IBF’s mandatory position for years rather than months and reaffirmed that sort with a Dubois points victory over China’s Zhilei Zhang last August.
Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KOs) slots in on the Anthony Joshua Vs Dillian Whyte 2 undercard facing off with the relatively unknown Australian, Demsey McKean on August 12th.
“We have been in limbo, there was an IBF situation and an eliminator was called we had our time wasted by [Andy] Ruiz, they didn’t want it.” Nisse Sauerland said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “Now we are fighting Demsey McKean, number 11 or number 12 in the IBF. It is unclear if it will be for an interim [title]. We are confident that after the Usyk Vs Dubois fight we are confident they will announce Filip as the mandatory for the IBF. I just can see any other result than Usyk winning. I think Dubois has a puncher's chance.
“We can afford a slip up against Demsey McKean, he is a very good opponent. I am that he got a southpaw in Zhang and he has a southpaw in McKean. Providing he comes through McKean he faces another southpaw in Usyk again. He will be getting a lot of practice in.”
Hrgovic’s IBF mandatory “situation” has dragged on for some time and a year since he last fought.
“I think maybe he was pushed up the rankings a bit too quickly.” Sauerland added. “He is in a great position, but telling a big mean heavyweight they won’t get their fights is very hard because they want to fight you. It has not been easy, but he is there now, he is fighting. Hopefully he gets two fights this year. One of them being for the world title, if all goes to plan. McKean is going to be there to mess up that plan. I’ve watched bits of him, he is training with the Tony Sims camp in Essex I think. Southpaw’s are always awkward, as we saw with Zhang. I hope [Joe] Joyce can win the rematch. He needs to come up with another idea, come with your hands up, I don’t know, but he has to do something. He is 37 now, it is hard to adapt someone’s style at that age. I hope Joyce wins [in the rematch], I really like him, I think he is brilliant because he fights anyone.”