Filip Hrgovic looking to force Anthony Joshua to fight him
By Jeff Aronow: Filip Hrgovic’s promoter Nisse Sauerland is looking to force a fight with IBF heavyweight champion if #5 Hrgovic defeats #4 Michael Hunter in their International Boxing Federation ordered eliminator fight.
Hunter (19-1, 13 KOs) and Hrgovic (12-0, 10 KOs) will be fighting in late May or early April, with the winner to be mandatory for IBF champion Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs).
Sauerland would prefer the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Hrgovic to face Joshua rather than Tyson Fury because he views that as a better style match-up for his fighter.
Obviously, it doesn’t hurt that there would likely be more money for the 6’6″ Croatian Hrgovic fighting Joshua than Fury, but that’s beside the point.
Hrgovic doesn’t match up well with Fury
Fury would be a nightmarish opponent for stiff ‘Stone Man’ Hrgovic, who is robotic, lacking in the fluidity needed for him to do well against him. Some boxing fans compare Hrgovic to Wladimir Klitschko, but without the mobility and athleticism that he possessed.
If Hrgovic beats the American Hunter, his promoter Sauerland will push to have him challenge for the title against whoever holds the IBF title, be it Joshua or Fury.
WBC champion Fury (30-0, 21 KOs) and IBF/WBA/WBO champ Joshua will be meeting for the undisputed heavyweight championship that is likely to occur in June.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing and Fury’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank are still working on finishing the negotiations to get the match done. Unless Fury backs out of the fight because of his unhappiness about his year-long inactivity, the two should be fighting in June.
“I would prefer Filip Hrgovic to fight Anthony Joshua, simply stylistically,” said Nisse Sauerland to Sky Sports.
“They are both big, strong guys, but Filip can move more and is less robotic.”
Many fans would disagree with Sauerland about Hrgovic being “less robotic.” He’s very robotic and clearly not as limber as Joshua or Fury.
Hrgovic lacks experience
If Hrgovic goes into a fight with the Joshua vs. Fury winner now, he’s going to get outboxed and exposed badly by either of them. The money will be better for Hrgovic against Joshua, but he’ll lose just the same.
Unfortunately for Sauerland and Hrgovic, they may need to wait until the Joe Joyce vs. Oleksandr Usyk gets their chance to take on the winner of the two Joshua vs. Fury fights this year.
Joyce and Usyk are fighting for the interim WBO title. When the smoke clears from that fight, we could see the winner challenge AJ or Fury in early 2022.
There would be much more interest from boxing fans seeing Usyk or Joyce take on the Joshua-Fury winner than Hrgovic.
It’s not even a question. Joyce is from the UK, and there would be massive fan appeal in seeing a match between him and Joshua or Fury. Hrgovic’s problem, besides his rigid ‘Stone Man’ style of fighting, is he’s fought no one of note since turning pro in 2017.
Despite Hrgovic having medaled in the 2016 Olympics, his promoters were matching him like a prospect that didn’t have an amateur career. As a result, Hrgoic is now 28, and he’s done little to build his name, and he hasn’t picked up the right experience to prepare him for a fight of the magnitude of a Joshua or Fury.
Hrgovis’s last six opponents:
- Rydell Booker
- Alexandre Kartozia
- Eric Molina
- Gregory Corbin
- Mario Heredia
- Kevin Johnson
“Fury is a nightmare for anyone because you just don’t know what he will do,” said Sauerland.
“It’s amazing what Fury can do for such a big man. Joshua is a powerhouse; he’s an Adonis. But if I had to pick someone stylistically for Filip? I would pick Joshua.”
Sauerland is getting ahead of himself in talking up a fight with the Joshua vs. Fury match-winner. He needs to worry about ‘Stone Man’ Hrgovic getting past Hunter. If Hrgovic loses that fight, he can forget about challenging for a world title in 2022.
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