Anthony Joshua the top target for Filip Hrgovic who plans to ramp up takeover bid as IBF mandatory challenger

Filip Hrgovic intends to force “Adonis” Anthony Joshua into an inescapable world title fight, says promoter Nisse Sauerland.

Undefeated Hrgovic will face the steepest test of his career against Michael Hunter in an IBF final eliminator with the winner becoming mandatory challenger to the belt.

Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO titles and Tyson Fury’s WBC gold will be at stake if the greatest heavyweight fight in a generation can be agreed.


A crop of dangerous heavyweights are circling for the leftovers of Joshua and Fury’s spoils, including Hrgovic whose intention is to force himself into the world title picture.

“I know who I would prefer to fight,” Hrgovic’s promoter Sauerland told Sky Sports.

“I would prefer Filip to fight Joshua, simply stylistically. They are both big, strong guys but Filip can move more and is less robotic.

“Fury is a nightmare for anyone because you just don’t know what he will do.

“It’s amazing what Fury can do for such a big man.

“Joshua is a powerhouse, he’s an Adonis. But if I had to pick someone stylistically for Filip? I would pick Joshua.”


Croatia’s Hrgovic has won all 12 of his professional fights since winning Olympic bronze in 2016 (he lost the semi-final to eventual gold medallist Tony Yoka).

Hrgovic’s beaten opponent Tom Little previously told Sky Sports about him: “He will be the next dominating force when Fury hangs up his gloves. He is that good.

“He will be another such heavyweight as Wladimir Klitschko.

“Hrgovic is the standout prospect and the one that can have longevity and success.”

But in his crunch clash with Hunter he will face an opponent who has been in deeper waters already.

Hunter’s only loss in 21 fights came as a cruiserweight against Oleksandr Usyk.

“Hunter is game. You can’t knock him,” said Sauerland. “He’s been a road warrior, stopping Martin Bakole and having a close fight with Alexander Povetkin.

“This isn’t an easy fight but we believe Filip has the tools to win.

“Hunter is a great fighter but the size and power of Filip will be too much for him.

“Filip has only had 12 fights so we’re happy that he’s getting a proper test.

“We didn’t hesitate. You would be crazy not to accept.

“It’s a good fight. We have wanted a step up the whole time. But people out-price themselves when it’s time to fight Filip.”


The opportunity came because Hunter is ranked at No 3 by the IBF and Hrgovic is No 4.

Usyk is No 2 but is in negotiations to fight Joe Joyce for the WBO interim title and the opportunity to become that governing body’s mandatory challenger.

‘Prince’ Charles Martin is ranked at No 1 by the IBF, the governing body whose title he lost to Joshua. He has been posting training footage of himself on social media, but did not comment when asked by Sky Sports about his next career move.

Hrgovic has been chasing a step up in opponents, and was previously interested in facing Bakole, until this major chance to force himself to the front of the queue with the IBF arrived.

Heavyweight Hunting Season. https://t.co/Q0eAOCtfn5

His promoters expect the fight with Hunter to go to purse bids with the USA a likely destination in late-April or early-May.

“Boxing is about risk and reward,” Sauerland said. “The reward for beating Hunter is a shot at the heavyweight title, which is the pinnacle of boxing.”

Hrgovic’s promoters would happily put him into a fight with Joshua or Fury as soon as possible: “It would be an honour. We have to get past Hunter first then there may be a wait.

“We want to keep Filip active as crazy and risky as that sounds.

“Waiting for mandatories can drag out – we’ve seen that with Dillian Whyte.”

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