Well, Scott called it. After going through a whole stretch of negotiations that culminated in Matchroom winning the purse bid, Michael Hunter has officially withdrawn from his ordered IBF eliminator against Filip Hrgovic.
Eddie Hearn had some choice words for “The Bounty” on Boxing Social; Boxing News 24/7 transcribed the relevant bits.
“What a waste of time for Filip Hrgovic. You know the guys accept the position, we negotiate the fight, we got to purse bid, I win the purse bid; it’s a good purse bid, it’s solid money, and then he [Hunter] says, ‘Yeah, the Bounty Hunter is coming.
“Hrgovic, you’re going to get it, blah, blah, blah.’ And then I send the contracts, and then they just write, ‘We’re not taking the fight.’
“What is he [Michael Hunter] doing? He hasn’t got any offers coming in. If he’d won that fight, he’s [IBF] mandatory for the world title.
“It’s absolutely bizarre, and I feel for Filip Hrgovic because he’s been messed around as well. So we go back down the list and see who it is,” said Hearn.
I’m really not sure what Hunter’s (19-1-1, 13 KO) plan is here; this was by far the most expedient route to a title shot, and while Hrgovic (12-0, 10 KO) is dangerous, so are the men above Hunter in the WBC, WBO, and WBA rankings. Plus, stringing Hearn and co. along for this long will almost certainly torpedo his chances of another major promoter willingly working with him.
If he wasn’t satisfied fighting the Shawn Laugherys and Chauncy Wellivers of the world, he’d best warm up to the idea.
As far as backup plans, the rest of the top 10 below Hrgovic consists of (via fightnews.com):
6. Joseph Parker
7. Agit Kabayel
8. Tony Yoka
9. Luis Ortiz
10. Kubrat Pulev
Kabayel, Yoka, and Pulev are all Top Rank, so that leaves Parker and Ortiz as the likeliest foes. I’d be down to see the Croatian fight either of them.