Joshua could have a world title fight if Usyk vs Fury flops

Anthony Joshua could face Filip Hrgovic for the IBF world title in 2023 if Oleksandr Usyk chooses to vacate the belt and fight Tyson Fury next. The news comes after the IBF ordered mandatory challenger Hrgovic to face IBF champion Usyk.

Hrgovic’s representatives requested an immediate offer for the world title fight which, according to a technicality in the IBF rules, nullifies any exceptions on Usyk’s side to allow the undisputed fight to take place. Usyk and Fury had been in negotiations to book the four-belt shootout for February or March of next year, but those plans will be put on hold with the fast-rising Croatian puncher unwilling to negotiate terms.

Usyk has repeatedly said that he will only take on Fury next and if he decides to do so, then Joshua, who is ranked No. 4 by the IBF, could get a chance to challenge for the world title. According to the regulator’s ranking, Hrgovic is ranked No. 1, with No. 2 vacant and No. 3 held by Andy Ruiz Jr.

Ruiz has already been ordered to face Deontay Wilder in a WBC final eliminator for a shot at Fury’s green belt. The former WBA, WBO and IBF champion is only missing the WBC title in his collection and is just one fight away from completing his goal of holding all four belts.

“I think he wants to fight Usyk so he can get all the other belts he’s never had and I’m pointing the other way. Because since I had those belts, I want the WBC belt. So that’s why I wait patiently, keep myself busy. I know I had a long break because of the surgeries I had, but I’m back baby.”

Joshua won the IBF belt in 2016 when he beat then-champion Charles Martin by second-round stoppage at London’s O2 Arena. The Watford powerhouse then went on to pick the WBA and WBO belts before handing them over to Usyk last year.

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