The IBF has yet to fill the heavyweight mandatory challenger vacancy left behind by Kubrat Pulev; considering the current push for total unification and ensuing cluster[expletive] of conflicting obligations, that’s not a huge surprise. That said, #4 contender Michael Hunter claims that with #3 Oleksandr Usyk otherwise occupied, the sanctioning ordered him to face #2 Charles Martin in a final eliminator, and since “Prince” “pulled out,” the new order would see him face #5 Filip Hrgovic.
This matchup has some history behind it. Hrgovic’s (12-0, 10 KO) promoter, Nisse Sauerland, raised the possibility back in November, but recently switched gears in favor of trying to stage Hrgovic vs. Martin Bakole when negotiations with Hunter (19-1-1, 13 KO). Should Hrgovic commit to the Bakole fight, that would presumably leave Hunter to face #6 Joseph Parker, who meets Junior Fa this coming weekend.
That said, I do hope this one comes together, as it’s a really interesting matchup. Hrgovic has run through all comers thus far, but Hunter would be by far his stiffest test, having derailed another strong prospect in Bakole and fought Alexander Povetkin to a competitive draw two fights back. It’d be a damn sight more appealing than watching Hunter face the likes of Shawn Laughery and Hrgovic fight Rydell Booker.