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Michael Hunter not fighting Filip Hrgovic in IBF title eliminator

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By Jim Maltzman: Michael Hunter has turned down the IBF heavyweight title eliminator against unbeaten 2016 bronze medalist Filip Hrgovic, and promoter Eddie Hearn isn’t happy about it.

Hearn put a lot of time into trying to set up a fight between Hrgovic (12-0, 10 KOs) and #4 IBF Hunter (19-1-1, 13 KOs) only to have the contract turned down.

For the management of the 2012 U.S Olympian Hunter to reject the fight with Hrgovic, it can only mean that they have other plans that they view as better than taking that fight.

One possibility is Hunter, 32, facing Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury if the two of them are unable to get their August fight deal done. Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) has been dragging his feet over the site deal, and he’s said many times that he wanted a tune-up.

Hunter would be the ideal interim opponent for Fury to get some rust out and pick up a nice paycheck before facing Joshua later this year. Joshua’s likely interim fight would probably be his WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk.

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“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 to Boxing Social.

“I send the contracts, and then they just write, ‘We’re not taking the fight,'” said Hearn about Hunter not signing the contract that he sent to him.

It’s not the end of the world for #5 IBF Hrgovic. It just means that Hearn will need to move down the International Boxing Federation rankings to find the next available and willing contender.

It’s reasonable to assume that Hearn will ask one of these contenders from the IBF’s rankings:

6. Joseph Parker
7. Agit Kabayel
8. Tony Yoka
9. Luis Ortiz
10. Kubrat Pulev

Agit Kabayel or Kubrat Pulev will likely be the two that Hearn looks at to put in with Hrgovic. Pulev just lost to Joshua, so he’s not an ideal contender you’d look at to face Hrgovic in a title eliminator.

Under normal circumstances, former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (29-2, 21 KOs) would be the guy that Hearn would turn to as the replacement for the 33-year-old Hunter to face Hrgovic.

The reason why Hearn probably won’t ask Parker is that he already told Dereck Chisora that he would set up a rematch between them after their controversial fight this month on May 1st.

Parker won by a 12 round split decision in a fight that many boxing fans saw going the other way for Chisora. Since Hearn has already told Chisora he would make the rematch; he’s committed to that.

It hurts Parker missing out in an IBF title eliminator, but he’ll still make good money fighting Chisora again.




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