Filip Hrgovic Could Face Tony Yoka or Joe Joyce for IBF Title Eliminator
Top heavyweight contender Filip “El Animal” Hrgovic (14-0, 12ko) is having a hard time getting someone to fight him for the IBF final eliminator. However, Luis Ortiz and Joseph Parker rejecting offers to fight him opened an opportunity to fight amateur rivals Tony “La Conquete” Yoka and Joe “Juggernaut” Joyce.
El Animal wanted to fight Ortiz and Parker in what he called a step-up fight in 2022.
“I need a good step-up fight. [Zhilei] Zhang would be great, Luis Ortiz, I don’t know, [Derek] Chisora, [Joesph] Parker or someone like that.”Filip Hrgovic – Heavyweight Contender
Two-time title challenger Ortiz defeated former IBF champion “Prince” Charles Martin in a title eliminator to kick off the year. After the fight, King Kong issued a statement to anyone in the way of him getting a title shot.
“A message for the heavyweights in line for the world title: if you don’t want to fight King Kong, you have panties, Victoria Secret.”Luis Otiz – Heavyweight Contender
After making such a blunt statement, it is puzzling why Ortiz turned down the final eliminator against Hrgovic.
Parker, a former WBO champion, kept his dream of regaining a championship alive by defeating the ageless wonder Dereck Chisora in their rematch. With Ortiz turning down the offer, the New Zealand heavyweight was next in line, ranked #4. Well, it appears he has also rejected the offer to fight Hrgovic.
AMATEUR RIVAL RERUNS?
What is next? Looking down the rankings are two very interesting options that involve old amateur rivals. The current crop of heavyweight contenders share a history as they have traded leather in the amateurs. This brings us to IBF #6 ranked Yoka and #7 rated Joe Joyce as possible next opponents.
Yoka was going to fight Martin Bakole in a January 15 showdown. Due to travel restrictions from the COVID-19 Omicron variant, their fight is officially canceled. Hrgovic is familiar with the Frenchman as he has a score to settle from losing in the semi-finals of the 2016 Olympics.
Joyce also defeated Hrgovic in the World Series of Boxing tournament back in 2013. More importantly, he is the WBO mandatory challenger for the winner of the rematch between unified champion Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua. So, a victory over his arch-rival would make him a mandatory by two sanctioning bodies, basically guaranteeing a shot at the title.
During an interview with Boxing Social, Hrgovic was open to the idea of fighting Joyce.
“Let’s make that fight. If I beat him, I would be an IBF and WBO mandatory. If he beat me, he [Joyce] has a double mandatory position. So, it will be great. Let’s do that, I’m open for that.”Filip Hrgovic – Heavyweight Contender
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By: Garrisson Bland