Unified champions continue to be a logistical nightmare.
Back in November, the WBC officially ordered no. 1 heavyweight Deontay Wilder to face Andy Ruiz Jr in a final eliminator, having previously designated their respective fights with Robert Helenius and Luiz Ortiz as semifinals. Now, however, Eddie Hearn tells Boxing Social that “Destroyer” has been tabbed to meet Filip Hrgovic for an interim IBF title.
“Actually, Filip Hrgovic has been ordered to fight Andy Ruiz for the Interim IBF World title. There’s negotiations going on between myself, Nisse and Kalle, and Tom Brown from PBC.”
The Sauerlands, who co-promote Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KO), appeared to confirm the news on Twitter.
There are some layers here, so let’s take it a bit at a time. As interim titles go, this one’s justifiable; the IBF recently acknowledged that the WBA was next in line for a title shot, and between that and potential rematch shenanigans between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, it will likely be at least 2024 before the winner gets their shot.
As fights go, it’s not as interesting as Ruiz (35-2, 22 KO) vs Wilder, but it’s solid, and the general “big awkward guy with an unholy right hand against the quick chubby guy” theme is still intact. Hrgovic showed a lot of vulnerabilities in his controversial decision over Zhang Zhilei and Ruiz has been weirdly underwhelming since falling to Joshua, so there’s enough instability to keep things interesting.
It’s not clear at the moment how the WBC’s side of things will play out. Frank Sanchez sits behind Ruiz in the rankings, which would be a fun fight, but he’s also with Matchroom and has shown zero ambition since beating Efe Ajagba. Behind him are Arslanbek Makhmudov, whose handlers shouldn’t allow within 200 feet of Wilder, and Anthony Joshua, also Matchroom.