With Oleksandr Usyk’s Feb. 17 date against Tyson Fury scrapped, Usyk is reportedly discussing the option to face Filip Hrgovic on that date, according to both Boxing News and Dan Rafael.
Hrgovic is Usyk’s IBF mandatory challenger, and his presence in the world as IBF mandatory challenger was going to lead to the winner of Fury vs Usyk having to vacate the IBF title if their contractually-obligated rematch went ahead as planned.
Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KO) is coming off of a win on Dec. 23 over Mark De Mori in a brutally shameful matchup, a pure time-killer in the career of the 31-year-old Croatian and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist.
But that seemingly meaningless, 106-second fight with De Mori might also be a chief reason Hrgovic could actually take a fight of this magnitude on just two weeks’ notice. He should be in shape but also fresh, and this could be a lot more money than he’ll get to face anyone else for a future vacant IBF title, which was basically the plan.
Usyk (21-0, 14 KO) clearly doesn’t want to waste a training camp and wait until June for a rescheduled Fury date for his next fight, having fought just once in 2023. Whether this — or any other fight for Usyk — still happens on Feb. 17 remains to be seen, but they are trying to make something go, which would keep the card on with an Usyk main event, and also wouldn’t rule out a June return against Fury, who may also not mind waiting on July or August if need be, assuming Usyk gets past Hrgovic or someone else.