Fury vs. Usyk in grave danger when Hearn discovers an obstacle

The long-awaited undisputed heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk could see further delays following news that the IBF has ordered Usyk to defend his title against mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic. Hrgovic became the sanctioning body’s number one contender after beating Zhang Zhilei on the same card as Usyk’s last fight against Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia.

Often, when a mandatory fight is called that blocks a major unification matchup, the champion’s representatives can request an exception from the IBF to delay the order. However, Hrgovic’s co-promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed that they have requested an immediate offer which, based on a loophole in IBF rules, appears to delay the four-belt run.

Speaking during the DAZN broadcast for last night’s Matchroom Boxing event headlined by Montana Love and Steve Spark in Cleveland, Ohio, Hearn said: “We just received word that Oleksandr Usyk has been ordered to fight Filip Hrgovic next. He is the mandatory challenger. In fact, we are requesting an immediate purse offer for that fight. That will be next for Oleksandr Usyk.”

This same IBF rule stood in the way of Wladimir Klitschko’s immediate rematch with Fury by the WBA, IBF and WBO straps. Mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov’s team requested an immediate offer which prompted the IBF to order the fight despite Fury’s request for an exception.

“We have said that we are not willing to negotiate, this is a team request and we want to have immediate bag offers. That is within the IBF rules and that means you cannot get an exception. The only way you can get an exception is if Filip Hrgovic says he is willing to give an exception and he doesn’t want to give an exception because he wants to fight for world titles.

“We’ll see what happens, but the IBF are very good at enforcing their mandates and just follow their rules here.”

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