Londpn, UK (October 6, 2023) - Eddie Hearn, the promoter for Anthony Joshua, has raised the possibility of Joshua facing Filip Hrgovic for the vacant IBF heavyweight title rather than pursuing a mega-fight with Deontay Wilder. This potential matchup between Joshua and Hrgovic would be an in-house bout for Matchroom Boxing, as both fighters are promoted by the same company.
Hearn has indicated that Joshua's primary goal is to become a three-time heavyweight world champion, and capturing the IBF title takes precedence over a lucrative clash with Wilder. The financial incentives for the Wilder fight may have diminished after Saudi Arabia opted not to host the bout.
The scenario Hearn seems to be considering is that Joshua defeats Hrgovic to secure the IBF title, which could then lead to renewed interest from Saudi Arabia in staging a fight against Wilder.
However, there are risks associated with this strategy, as Hrgovic is a dangerous opponent, and Joshua's chin has been a subject of concern. If Joshua chooses to face Hrgovic, it could prove to be a challenging bout.
The recent announcement from the IBF that the winner of the upcoming undisputed heavyweight championship fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury must face the mandatory challenger Hrgovic next adds another layer of complexity to Joshua's decision-making process.
Ultimately, the path Joshua chooses will depend on several factors, including his pursuit of a world title and the evolving landscape of the heavyweight division.