Usyk’s Plan B: Filip Hrgovic on Standby as Fury Fight Remains Uncertain

By Daniel Mcglinchey - 02/18/2024 - Comments

Oleksandr Usyk’s sporting director, Sergey Lapin, has reportedly revealed a backup plan if the rescheduled undisputed heavyweight clash against Tyson Fury fails to happen on May 18th.

If WBC champion Fury pulls out of the fight, Usyk’s team proposes to use IBF mandatory Filip Hrgovic as the replacement opponent.

Unfortunately, the fight would not be for the undisputed championship without Fury’s WBC title on the line, but at least the event would still occur on May 18th.

The 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs) lacks the fan base that Fury has and doesn’t have much charisma. Hence, his previous nickname, ‘Stone Man,’ but he can punch a little and throw a mean rabbit.

You can argue that Hrgovic has the best rabbit punching form in the heavyweight division. That’s the biggest thing Usyk would have to worry about facing Hrgovic because he’s deadly with the shots he throws behind the head, and you never know when he will land them.

Of course, if a quality referee actually polices those illegal punches, Hrgovic will have a tough time trying to beat Usyk with the slow, robotic fighting style.

Lingering Doubts about Fury

Fury’s recent eye injury, allegedly caused by a sparring incident, resulting in the postponement of the February 17th fight, has resulted in Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) and his team losing confidence in the 35-year-old Tyson doubting that his willingness to take this fight.

It hasn’t helped that Fury seemingly has had to be dragged into the fight and likely wouldn’t be taking if not for the Saudis throwing unreal amounts of dough at the aging fighter, who looked old and shot in his last fight against boxing novice Francis Ngannou last October.

Given the likelihood of Fury pulling out again with another injury, Team Usyk wants the 31-year-old Hrgovic on standby as the Plan-B option, just in case.

There’s now a $10 million penalty clause by His Excellency in case either fighter backs out, but it still doesn’t mean the Fury-Usyk fight will go ahead on May 18th if Tyson breaks down in training camp again.

He’s not young, and the way he mauls in close puts him in the line of fire of his small sparring partners, who likely punch a lot harder than him and can get maximum power on their shots at close range.