Boxing Fight: Filip Hrgovic and Zhilei Zhang are discussing a battle for the IBF heavyweight title eliminator

Boxing Fight
Source: Skysports

Boxing Fight: Filip Hrgovic and Zhilei Zhang are in discussions to defend their undefeated records in a battle that might have consequences for the future of the heavyweight division.

The talks are for an eliminator bout to get closer to IBF mandatory challenger status.

Oleksandr Usyk owns the IBF, WBA, and WBO championships, which he is slated to defend against Anthony Joshua in a rematch in 2022.

The IBF has Hrgovic ranked second, and his promoter Nisse Sauerland told Sky Sports: “We’ve gone through the IBF list twice.”

“We’ve given the battle to everyone in the top ten, then the top ten.”

“It hasn’t been taken.” No one has taken the initiative.

“If Zhang is willing and ready?” That is something we will do.

“We’re ready for ‘Big Bang’ Zhang, and he’ll face off against a vengeful Croatian warrior.”

“People are avoiding Hrgovic and are not willing to battle him.”

Zhang is ranked No. 12 by the IBF, and his agent, Terry Lane, told Sky Sports that they are interested in fighting Hrgovic and that negotiations are in the works.

On consecutive weekends, Zhang knocked out Craig Lewis twice in the second round, and Hrgovic knocked out Emir Ahmatovic three times in the third round.

Another heavyweight bout on New Year’s Day between Charles Martin and Luis Ortiz, which is also an IBF eliminator, could be a stumbling block in their path.

Martin is now the No. 1 candidate in the governing body’s rankings, hence the future mandatory challenger is unknown.

The IBF’s most recent mandated challenger, Kubrat Pulev, was defeated by Joshua in December 2020.

The heavyweight division would entirely open up if Joshua decided to “stand aside” from his rematch with Usyk, allowing WBC champion Tyson Fury to fight the Ukrainian for the undisputed title.

“If the offer is right and AJ allows it, Usyk believes he may fight Fury next,” his promoter Alexander Krassyuk told Sky Sports.

“There are rumours that, if he did [stand aside], a fight in China against Zhang would be of interest,” Zhang’s representative stated of Joshua.

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