An IBF mandatory has not received a title shot since December 2020
From the Conor Benn debacle to his increasingly pathetic defenses of Montana Love, Eddie Hearn hasn’t done a lot of late to endear himself to the public. That trend shows no sign of slowing down, as he revealed over the weekend that the IBF has ordered Oleksandr Usyk to defend his heavyweight titles against mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic. To avoid being superseded by a potential undisputed clash, Hearn has also called for an immediate purse bid.
On the one hand, the defense is technically overdue, as Kubrat Pulev was the IBF mandatory when he fought Anthony Joshua two years ago. On the other, we’ve had an undisputed heavyweight title fight dangled in front of our faces for ages, only to be yanked away at the last minute every time it looked like a sure thing. Plus, a big part of this delay was due to rematch clauses grinding the division to a halt, and as Rob Tebbutt points out, Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KO) only became the top contender in August.
Give Hrgovic his step-aside money and let’s get this show on the road. The WBC won’t have a mandatory until after Deontay WIlder fights Andy Ruiz Jr and the WBA will probably never order Usyk (20-0, 13 KO) to face Daniel Dubois, so now’s the time.