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Sauerland plotting mandatory course for Filip Hrgovic

The Croatian heavyweight prospect may need to be forced into a title shot.

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua 2 - Clash on the Dunes, IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Title Fight Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Croatian heavyweight Filip Hrgovic is an impressive prospect, a bronze medalist from the 2016 Olympics, and arguably should’ve won a bigger prize, being controversially beaten by France’s Tony Yoka in the semifinal round.

Now 27, Hrgovic has a pro record of 10-0 (8 KO) and has pretty much bowled over his limited competition. Promoter Nisse Sauerland says that Hrgovic is already confident of his chances against Anthony Joshua, for instance, but they expect they’ll need to get into a mandatory position to force a title shot eventually:

“He believes he can beat Joshua, and so do we. But it’s just a question of getting those fights, and we will. We just have to be patient and plan our route effectively. If the Joshua fight came tomorrow, he’d take it for the right conditions, but I’ve said this a million times: ‘why would they fight him?’ He needs to get into a position where no one can get away from fighting him.”

Of the three titles Joshua holds, he already has mandatory challengers with the IBF (Kubrat Pulev, Joshua’s next opponent) and WBO (Oleksandr Usyk, who will at some point be fighting Derek Chisora). The WBA may have an open spot and hey, maybe Hrgovic could even just win the “world” title that nobody will take seriously. As for the belt Tyson Fury holds right now, the WBC kinda-sorta have a mandatory challenger in Dillian Whyte, but appear in no rush still to give him a fight.

Hrgovic still has plenty of time, and to be frank, a fair amount of ground to cover, too. There’s a gap between the real contenders at heavyweight and the guys he’s been fighting thus far — Greg Corbin, Mario Heredia, a washed Eric Molina, etc.

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